Saturday, November 06, 2004

Eight must-read books about ministry

Here is a list of eight books I recented recommended to a friend of mine who is considering church revitalization as a ministry direction. All of these are what I would consider "must-reads" for ministry. They are especially geared toward church vitality and ministry in a smaller church context, but they are valuable for anyone in pastoral ministry.

~Harry Reeder, From Embers to a Flame-- a good overview from someone who has done church revitalization a lot and helped a lot of others do it. Not everything here is absolutely great, but the principles are very good, and his emphasis on the patient, long-suffering qualities of a revitalization pastor are helpful.
~Donald MacNair, The Practices of a Healthy Church-- this has, for years, been the handbook of church revitalization in the PCA, written by the father of church revitalization. This is a great book, and an essential for revitalization.
~C. John Miller, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church-- another "classic" on revitalization, this one is written by the same guy who founded World Harvest Mission and started the "Sonship" movement.
~Steve R. Bierly, Help for the Small-Church Pastor-- not exactly a revitalization book, but very helpful from the stance of dealing with the issues that inevitably face pastors in any smaller congregation or revitalization ministry. Very practical.
~Marshall Shelley, Well-Intentioned Dragons-- subtitled "ministering to problem people in the church" this book is an invaluable read for any revitalization pastor. I have suggested to one of my professors, Dr. Phil Douglass, that this book become required reading for his Ministry Leadership class; it is a great guide to loving those who cause trouble.
~William Still, The Work of the Pastor-- this brief book may become one of those that you re-read every year or so; it is focused on pastoral ministry in general. However, so much of what Still says is never more practical than in a revitalization ministry.
~Thom and Joani Schultz, Why Nobody Learns Much of Anything at Church: and How to Fix It-- not quite as good as the rest, but still offers some good words on Christian Education, and some of what they say is useful in other areas of the church. Written in a way that would make it a good study to do with a Session or more general leadership.
~Jim Collins, Good to Great-- one of the best books on leadership ever. Collins has become (largely because of this book) one of the gurus of business leadership. While no one wants to perpetuate the myth that the church is merely a business-like organization, the principles here apply to all of life, not just business.


Ken Miller said...


Found your blog from a comment you posted about milk on Megan Dunham's blog.

Although I haven't yet read this book (it's next on my "must read" list), I'd suggest checking out The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. My church's senior pastor and associate pastor have been reading this book and have recommended it to the elders of our church to read. I think Amazon has this book with their "Search Inside!" feature so you can read a bit of it.

Ed said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Ken. I'll add it to my list, and perhaps make some comments about it here. I've been wanting to add some book reviews to the blog, so maybe this one will be a good candidate.