If leaders are readers, then how did I get into leadership? Over the years, I’ve given myself the reputation of being a person who doesn’t read much. Truth be told, I do read on a regular basis but usually in the form of audio books.
I’m often distracted while reading hard copies of books. I fall asleep while reading and am not a fast reader. Audio books allow me to retain more information while listening — or at least that’s what I tell myself!
How I Choose a Book
As a church leader and pastor, people often recommend to me what they consider “great, must-read” books. I’ll usually look them up, read about the author, discern if they have similar values to mine, and if I like the cover, I’ll buy it! I’ll also buy it if I think it relates to what God is doing at River City Church or in my personal life.
Why I Start to Read a Book
The main reason I’ll start a book is because I feel as though God is leading me to do so. This can happen in a conversation when someone mentions a book that I own but haven’t read. Or something could happen in the church that brings a book title to my mind. Or God could be moving in a particular way, and the Holy Spirit prompts me to read on the subject.
A Few Books I’m Currently Reading
Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
I started this book when a friend reminded me that the gospel of Jesus, when understood correctly, leads to a deeper and more powerful experience of God. Matt Chandler’s church tradition is different from mine, but I like the way he makes theology simple.
The Way In Is the Way On by John Wimber
John Wimber is one of my heroes. He came from a background similar to mine, getting caught up in the Holy Spirit after being in ministry and seminary for some time. I love all his books because he combines good theology with practical ways of working out our faith. This book contains his teaching on Christ. Every chapter stands on its own, including chapters on the poor, the Holy Spirit, evangelism, and the Father’s love. Yes, all four of RCC’s pillars are well represented in this book!
Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
I bought this a few months ago when many people at RCC began to get serious illnesses. I started to read it recently when individuals in our church had recurrences of cancer. Tim Keller is one of the great preachers of our day and has been leading an influential church in New York for decades. This book is theologically grounded and practically addresses how to walk with people as they suffer. It’s not a fun read, but I’ve found it to be essential to my gaining a better understanding of pastoring and leading a church.
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima, Sr.
When I was on sabbatical last year, my spiritual director told me to buy this book. When I couldn’t sleep the other night while thinking about leading the church staff, this book kept coming to mind. It’s a study of church leaders who rose to great status in the church, only to fall because of the gifts and strengths that got them there. I often tell my staff that their greatest strength is usually their greatest weakness. This book is about identifying your gifts and strengths, as well as their “shadow sides” that can lead to sin and deception.
Fiction Books for Vacation and Bedtime Reading:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I hated the ending, but it was a page turner. I bought it after seeing an interview with the author.
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
This is a science fiction book. It’s crazy interesting, but don’t buy it unless your name is Tom Rossi or you have some understanding of science and physics. I don’t, so I’m confused most of the time, but I’ve invested hours in it and feel like I must press on!
Stop! Of course, I’m reading the Bible, too — don’t be judging :)!!