Approaches

BOOK REVIEWS

The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.


DISCIPLESHIP |

APPROACHES

  • 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal

    by Dan Miller. Publisher: B&H Books.

    Focuses on helping people find their place in God’s economy.

  • AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

    by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

    A guide to marry attractional and missional models of church

  • Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results

    By Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

    Thousands of congregations are in serious trouble. Children are not being taught the faith. Disciples are not being made. Lives are not being transformed. The poor are not being blessed. Communities are not being redeemed. These congregations know something is terribly wrong. And in most cases, the problems have little to do with the pastor’s prayer life or whether the pastor takes weekly Sabbath time. In fact, in many of these churches members deeply respect their pastors as sincerely spiritual people of utmost personal faith and integrity. But they need more from their pastoral leaders.  

    They need leaders who define ministry in terms of fruitfulness as well as faithfulness. They need pastors and lay leaders who ask about the outcomes of any given ministry or program, not just its process. Mostly, they need a vision of ministry that focuses on changing people’s lives. Absent that vision, ministry will fail.  

    In this helpful volume, Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin provide readers with the tools they need to assess the fruit their ministry bears in the lives of their congregations, their communities, and the world.

  • Building a Discipling Culture (Building a Discipling Culture: How to Release a Missional Movement by discipling People like Jesus did.)

    by Mike Breen. Publisher: 3DM
  • Carving the Table

    By Greg Blake

    The memoirs of the Chief Encouragement Officer Greg Blake. Perhaps you have seen him in action, now read whats behind the CEO of Pepworks International.

    When we first got married  my parents bought us a old dining table that had come out of a bakery in NY. We bought an old fashioned icepick and thought it would be a great practice to have people carve their name in our table when they came for a visit….well 41 years later we are still continuing the tradition. We have hundreds of signatures. My 4 kids have bought an old table and are continuing the practice with their families. We even have sanded out the names of old boyfriends who didn’t make the cut!
     
    (I just finished my memoirs called Carving the Table (available in ebook format on Amazon) Click Here to get a copy!
     
    When folks visit our church for the first time, Debbie and I invite them over to our home on a Friday evening (Family Night) to get to know them better. Very non-threatening. We will also find out their occupation and will do our best to match them with another couple with the same occupation so there is an immediate connection.
     
    Have had numerous couples join because of the personal interest in their lives. I tell people that you can’t get to know people in the foyer of a church Sunday morning doing small talk.
     
    Unfortunately today we have become too busy to invest our lives in others and ultimately eternity.
  • Choose The Life: Exploring a Faith That Embraces Discipleship

    by Bill Hull. Publisher: Baker Books.

    It focuses on bridging the gap that often exists between a person’s salvation and their discipleship.

  • Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith

    By Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope

    “They’re called The Dones.
    After devoting a lifetime to their churches, they’re walking away. Why?

    Sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope reveal the results of a major study about the exodus from the American church.

    And what they’ve discovered may surprise you…
    -Church refugees aren’t who you’d expect. Among those scrambling for
    the exits are the church’s staunchest supporters and leaders.
    -Leaving the church doesn’t mean abandoning the faith. Some who
    are done with church report they’ve never felt spiritually stronger.
    -The door still remains open—a crack. Those who’ve left remain hungry
    for community and the chance to serve—and they’re finding both.

    Sifting through hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews, Packard and Hope provide
    illuminating insights into what has become a major shift in the American landscape.

    If you’re in the church, discover the major reasons your church may be in danger
    of losing its strongest members—and what you can do to keep them.

    If you’re among those done with church, look for your story to be echoed here.
    You’re not alone—and at last you’re understood.

    Share your story at TheDones.com”

  • Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery

    By David Watson and Paul Watson

    “It is hard to deny that todayÆs world can seem apathetic toward Christians. Some may look down at their iPhones when we mention God, motion for the check when we bring up church, or casually change the subject when we talk about prayer. In a world full of people whose indifference is greater than their desire to know Christ, how can we dream of growing the church?

    In Contagious Disciple Making, David Watson and Paul Watson map out a simple method that has sparked an explosion of homegrown churches in the United States and around the world. A companion to Cityteam’s two previous books, Miraculous Movements and The Father Glorified, Contagious Disciple Making details the method used by Cityteam disciple-makers. This distinctive process focuses on equipping spiritual leaders in communities where churches are planted. Unlike many evangelism and church-growth products that focus on quick results, contagious disciple-making takes time to cultivate spiritual leadership, resulting in lasting disciple-making movements. Through Contagious Disciple Making readers will come to understand that a strong and equipped leader will continue to grow the church long after church planters move on to the next church.

    Features include:

    • Engagement tools for use in the field
    • Practical techniques to equip others to make disciples”
  • Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture

    by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits. Publisher: Multnomah.

    Provides a detailed process for establishing a discipleship program in your church.

  • Discover Your Mission Now

    By Dave Ferguson

    “Written by Dave Ferguson, Jon Ferguson and Tim Sutherland. Edited by Eric Bramlett. You were made with a mission in mind! As a follower of Jesus, He has an exciting part for you to play in His mission of changing the world. In Discover Your Mission Now you will come to a crystal clear understanding of the Jesus mission and your part in it. You will gain an understanding of the five consistent missional practices that Jesus lived out in His life. These five simple to understand, but challenging to live out daily missional practices are designed to bless the places that you are sent and people in your life. As you begin to live out these missional practices, you will not only discover your own mission in life but that you are changing the world around you.”

  • Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime

    By Bob P. Buford

    Author Bob Buford called them “code breakers”. They are people age 40 and older who have pioneered the art of finishing well in these modern times, and who can teach us to do the same, starting today. Buford sought out 60 of these trailblazers—including Peter Drucker, Roger Staubach, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard and Dallas Willard—and has recorded their lively conversations in these pages so that they can serve as “mentors in print” for all of us.
    “Twenty years from now,” Buford writes, “the rules for this second adulthood as a productive season of life may be better known. But for now, we’re out across the frontier breaking new ground.” Buford gives you a chance to sit at the feet of these pioneers and learn from them about Finishing Well so that you may shift into a far more fulfilling life now, no matter your age. A life of significance that will be a legacy for future generations too.

  • Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church

    by Nelson Searcy. Publisher: Regal.
  • Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships

    By Doug Anderson, Bob Farr, and Kay Kotan

    Change your church culture. Create an outwardly focused environment where hospitality and invitation happen Sunday and every day of the week. This book offers five steps to help congregations go public with their faith—from service projects to sharing the faith with persons who want to know more about Christ and thw church. This book offers tactics to increase individual and church competency with relational evangelism with friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Learn how to start up a conversation, follow up with contacts, and navigate unfamiliar settings. Learn what works and what doesn’t.

    We may think that just because we invite someone on our church property, they’ll come back. Often we don’t reach out to help people cross the faith line, because we’re uncomfortable with “evangelism” or just plain scared. Gain the confidence to share the good news boldly. After all, we know the name of the One who loves us all and who holds all power over heaven and earth.

  • Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ

    by George Barna. Publisher: WaterBrook Press.

    Examples of methods that work and don’t work.

  • Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples

    by Robby Gallaty (Author)

     

  • High Expectations

    By Thom Rainer

    For over a quarter of a century the problem of losing church members has progressively increased. Today the situation is so bad that less than one-third of the members in some churches attend worship services. Church leaders are crying for help. In an effort to help church leaders, the Billy Graham School of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary conducted a massive research project involving nearly 287 churches. The most revealing aspect of the study was that the higher expectations placed on members, the greater the likelihood that the members would stay and be involved with the church. Using the data gathered from this project, Thom Rainer presents the first-ever comprehensive study about ‘closing the back door.’ Rainer looks at why people are leaving the church and how church leaders can keep the members.

  • How to Recruit, Retain and Motivate Volunteers

    by John Finkelde

    Improve your volunteer management skills while increasing your church volunteers base with this proven step-by-step guide.Imagine … a large group of volunteers who love serving.

    Now … imagine those volunteers recruiting their friends to serve too.

    Even more … imagine turning those volunteers into high performing leaders.

    Impossible?

    Not impossible at all if you use the solid, actionable steps in this practical guide to recruiting and motivating church volunteers.

    Each chapter presents powerful concepts and practical steps you can take to:

    Lead a recruitment drive that delivers fast, dramatic results.

    Train volunteers utilizing current best practices that enable them to love serving.

    Build a leadership pipeline that gives you a constant flow of fresh talent.

    Discover and actually apply contemporary motivational methods in real life situations.

    Turn church volunteers into high performing leaders of volunteers.

    Draw upon John Finkelde’s 30 years of experience as a pastor and start increasing your volunteer base today.”

     

  • Insourcing: Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church

    By Randy Pope

    The author shares his church’s discipleship process.

  • Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

    By Adam S. McHugh

    “Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it’s not as faithful to be an introvert.

    Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship and even evangelize effectively.

    Introverts in the Church is essential reading for any introvert who has ever felt out of place, as well as for church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming to introverts. Discover God’s call and empowering to thrive as an introvert, for the sake of the church and kingdom.”

  • Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow

    By Carey Nieuwhof

    You’ve probably noticed …

    Churches aren’t growing.
    Young adults are walking away.
    Volunteers are hard to recruit.
    Leaders are burning out.

    And the culture is changing faster than ever before.

    There’s no doubt the church is in a moment in history for which few church leaders are prepared.

    You can look for answers, but the right response depends on having the right conversation.

    In Lasting Impact, Carey Nieuwhof leads you and your team through seven conversations that will help your church grow and have a lasting impact.

    What if …

    • Having the right conversations could change your trajectory?
    • There was more hope than you realized?
    • The potential to grow was greater than the potential to decline?
    • Your community was waiting for a church to offer the hope they’re looking for?
    • Your best days as a church were ahead of you?

    Maybe the future belongs to the churches that are willing to have the most honest conversations at a critical time. That’s what Lasting Impact is designed to facilitate.

  • Leading the DiscipleShift: Becoming a Disciple-Making Church

    by Brandon Guindon (Author) , Lance Wigton (Author) , Luke Yetter (Author)

    Equip church leaders with the tools and insights needed to rally people around renewed purpose. Drawing from biblical principles and the experience of Real Life Ministries, this workbook guides users to evaluate the power of ministry alignment and personal influence for the sake of each church’s God-given mission to make disciples.

    * 9 weeks of material designed for a church staff or ministry leadership team
    * Each week includes four personal exercises and one collaborative session for a team meeting
    * A thorough outline of practical steps for leading a new or established church toward a unified mission of disciple-making
    * Interactive workbook includes assessments for areas of ministry and leadership

  • Love As A Way of Life: Seven Keys To Transforming Every Aspect of Your Life

    by Gary Chapman. Publisher: Waterbrook Press.

    Discusses developing 7 life principles for fulfilling 2 great commandments.

  • Making Friends for Christ: A Practical Approach to Relational Evangelism

    by Wayne McDill

    “Making Friends for Christ is a practical approach to relational evangelism. It combines a theological and biblical rationale with practical counsel and dozens of real life stories. The new edition is a major revision, enlarged and updated for twenty-first century challenges. Pastors, church planters, and missionaries will find it most helpful. Laymen who have been frustrated with their attempts at witnessing are finding it opens a new way of thinking about reaching their friends and relatives for Christ..”

  • Membership Matters: Insights from Effective Churches on New Member Classes and Assimilation

    by Chuck Lawless. Publisher: Zondervan.
  • Metamorpha: Jesus As A Way of Life

    by Kyle Strobel. Publisher: Baker Books.

    Re-examines traditional thinking about spiritual growth.

  • Mission Creep: The Five Subtle Shifts That Sabotage Evangelism & Discipleship

    By Larry Osborne

    “Evangelism and discipleship aren’t rocket science. When Jesus sent out a ragtag team from Galilee with the expectation that they would evangelize and disciple the world, they pulled it off as a natural and spontaneous outworking of their faith.
    Yet 2,000 years later, this same natural and spontaneous process has been turned into a complex and highly programmed skill left to the professionals. Pastor and author Larry Osborne exposes what’s gone wrong and the five subtle shifts that sabotage our best efforts to reach the lost and bring them to full maturity.”

  • Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church

    by Reggie McNeal. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.
  • Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth

    By Greg L. Hawkins (Author), Cally Parkinson (Author)

  • One on One Evangelism: How to Make Friends for Jesus

    By Lee Moseley

    “For a number of reasons, evangelism is often fraught with anxieties and fears. At the same time, sharing your faith is one of the most fulfilling and exciting things that you will ever do. As a “friend of sinners,” Jesus spent half of his ministry time in one-on-one discussions with others. This is the primary model for evangelism that our Lord has provided for us. In One-on-One Evangelism, Lee Moseley offers a fun and simple model for spreading the gospel. It’s as simple as being a friend. After reading this book, you will one day look back, and say, “I never dreamed it was so easy. There is nothing I like to do more than get with people and become their friends. Absolutely nothing!”

  • Podcasting Church

    By Paul Clifford

     

  • Re Jesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church

    by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch. Publisher: Henrickson Publishers.

    An effort to prompt our thinking and commintment to Christ as the center of our life.

  • Real-Life Discipleship: Building Churches That Make Disciples

    by Jim Putman. Publisher: NavPress.

    Focuses on a successful discipleship model for your church.

  • Retooling the Church: Finding Your Place in Ministry

    by Ron Satrape. Publisher: Destiny Image.

    Urges a transition from a “top down” leadership style to a team model.

  • Right Here Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People

    by Alan Hirsch & Lance Ford. Publisher: Baker Books.

    How to live out your faith on a daily basis.

  • Sentness: Six Postures of Missional Christians

    By Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw

    Ever wonder why people fall asleep in church?

    “It happens. We’ve all seen it. We shuffle into rows of seats that grow more comfortable with every new fundraising campaign. We slouch down and settle in for an hour or so, as singers and storytellers and preachers and teachers take their turns filling our ears. And almost without fail, at least one of us nods off while listening to the greatest story ever told.

    The church was not meant to be like this. The church was meant to be on its feet, in the world, making all things new. The church was meant to be sent.

    Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw want to help us—all of us—rediscover our sentness.

    Dive into Sentness, and explore the six postures of a church that’s keeping pace with God’s work in the world. Rediscover the gospel that first quickened your pulse and got you up on your feet, ready to go wherever Jesus called you. Get Sentness, and prepare to get sent.”

  • Shaping of Things to Come, The: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church

    By Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost

    “In a time when the need for and the relevance of the Gospel has seldom been greater, the relevance of the church has seldom been less. The Shaping of Things to Come explores why the church needs to rebuild itself from the bottom up. Frost and Hirsch present a clear understanding of how the church can change to face the unique challenges of the twenty-first century. This missional classic has been thoroughly revised and updated.”

  • Smart Volunteer Management: A Volunteer Coordinator’s Handbook for Engaging, Motivating and Developing Volunteers

    By Patricia Lotich (Author)

     

  • Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church
    offers prescriptions for the top ten issues seen during church
    consultations. Bob Farr and Kay Kotan share their expertise from working
    with churches across the country, detailing the most common concerns
    and obstacles, and then go straight to the point: What to change, and
    how, for positive results. They offer a helpful approach to fixing
    common problems, and strategies to help congregations achieve success in
    specific areas of ministry. Proven success stories offer practical
    application, inspiration, and hope.

    I love the way this book addresses issues of mission, vision, worship,
    hospitality, outreach, and other important matters and offers concrete,
    pragmatic practices to fulfill these without compromising the gospel.
    This is a refreshing new guide for pastors and laity. –Tex Sample,
    Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society,
    Saint Paul School of Theology

    Bob and Kay have so much experience. They get it: the types of changes most
    churches need are not new. The pathway to health is not flashy. Basic,
    steady, strong: That is what you find in this very useful material. —
    Cathy Townley, Worship and Church Planting Consultant and Coach,
    Minnesota Annual Conference, UMC

    Bob Farr is a powerhouse of a leader who has a great grasp on what it takes
    for a congregation to discover the path toward vitality and health. As
    you read the prescriptions in this amazing book, you will see a catalyst
    for Jesus Christ. –Bob Crossman, New Church Strategist; author, Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life

    Nobody is better than Bob and Kay at explaining the concept — and the
    specifics — of  ‘Prescriptions’ than can improve local church health.
    Very few people have spent more hours in church basements, parlors and
    sanctuaries across the country helping churches diagnose – and
    overcome—the real life problems they face.  Leveraging years of
    experience and insights, this book is an easy-to-use, instrumental tool
    for clergy and laity in churches that are willing to take definitive
    steps toward a new future. –Jim Ozier, Church Consultant, Coach,
    Speaker; author, Clip In: Risking Hospitality in Your Church

  • The Catch: Mega Growth Strategies for Ministries of Any Size

    by Deborah Anderson-Singleton

    Ideas to help a ministry, regardless of size, reach their community and make disciples

  • The Externally Focused Life

    by Rick Rusaw (Author), Eric Swanson (Author)

    The authors challenge us to find more than purpose…to uncover the joy in a lifestyle of authentic Christian service.

  • The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community

    by Eric Swanson (Author), Rick Rusaw (Author)

    The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community is designed for church leaders who want to transform their churches to become less internally focused and more oriented to the world around them. The book includes the clear guidelines on the ten changes congregations must adopt to become truly outwardly focused. This book is not about getting all churches to have an annual day of community service as a tactic but changing the core of who they are and how they see themselves as a part of their community.

  • The Greatness Principle: Finding Significance and Joy by Serving Others

    By Nelson Searcy (Author), Jennifer Dykes Henson (Author)

    The authors believe that greatness, growth, and significance in the kingdom of God is found on the path of service. They seek to motivate readers to take the next step on their journey toward maturity in Christ. The authors teach if you’re not serving, you’re not growing.

  • The Leadership Baton: An Intentional Strategy for Developing Leaders in Your Church

    by Rowland Forman. Publisher: Zondervan.
  • The Other 80 Percent: Turning Your Church’s Spectators Into Active Participants

    by Scott Thumma and Warren Bird. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.

    Provides research results with analysis and action steps.

    Click to see full review


    The authors invested a good bit of time interviewing focus groups and church leaders from twelve churches and then analyzing the results. Their overall task as they met with each church was to ask several questions: Why do people choose their church? How do they get involved in their church? How do they grow spiritually in their church? What they learned was not what they expected and they share their discoveries with us along with the results from several other national research projects. They provide us with the need, the reasons for the problem, the research and finally helpful suggestions for engaging your congregation in your mission and their spiritual growth. I believe you will find the book encouraging, instructive and challenging.

  • The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated

    By James Emery White

    “The single fastest-growing religious group of our time is those who check the box next to the word none on national surveys.

    In America, this is 20 percent of the population.

    And most churches are doing virtually nothing to reach them.

    In this hard-hitting examination of our churches’ current evangelism methods, which often result only in transfer growth–Christians moving from one church to another–rather than in reaching the nones, James Emery White calls us to discover the mission field right outside our doors. The pastor of a megachurch that is currently experiencing 70 percent of its growth from the unchurched, White knows how to reach this growing demographic, and here he shares his ministry strategies with concerned pastors and church leaders, answering questions like

    · Exactly who are the unaffiliated?
    · What caused this seismic shift in our culture?
    · How can our churches reach these people?

    If you long to see growth in your church that is the result of lost people entering into the family of God, this book is where you should start.

    “In an era of increasing complexity and religious apathy, James Emery White has written a book that is helpful, informative, challenging, and timely. Those who care about communicating the gospel in this complex culture and think the church must regroup and re-engage should read The Rise of the Nones.”–Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research”

  • The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups

    by Joseph Myers. Publisher: Zondervan.

    It focuses on a fresh approach to discipleship

    Click to see full review

    Purpose:

    To “share stories that illustrate how to help people connect more authentically with family, with congregation, and with God.”

    Content:

    The author covers the following when he discusses the “search to belong”: The myths, the desire, personal space, group chemistry, changing relationships, the importance of community and finding harmony in our small groups.

    Analysis

    This is a helpful discussion on small groups published in 2003. It may ignite a good conversation in your church.

    Application:

    Who will benefit?

    Leadership and then the congregation and community when implemented.

    How will it benefit?

    It can aid in the conceptual development of your small group model.

    Where does it fit in the process?

    In the front end of your ministry design.

     

  • The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Communit

    By Hugh Halter (Author), Matt Smay (Author)

  • The Temperament Model of Behavior: Understanding Your Natural Tendencies

    By John T. Cocoris

    The reason people do what they do has been studied for thousands of years. It has been well noted that everyone responds differently to the many environmental variable that contribute to a person’s behavior. Nothing, however, explains a person’s behavior better than understanding the influence of one’s temperament blend. This book is the result of extensive research and interviewing thousands of people since the mid 1970’s to provide insight for each temperament to help others live lives of greater clarity, efficiency, impact and understanding.

  • The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything

    by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. Publisher: Mathias Media.

    Focuses on reshaping your ministry around people and training rather than around programs and events.

  • Transformational Discipleship

    by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation

    “How are we doing? The church, that is. And how are we doing it? Congregations have long measured success by “bodies, budget, and buildings”–a certain record of attendance, the offering plate, and square footage. But the scorecard can’t stop there. When it does, the deeper emphasis on accountability, discipleship, and spiritual maturity is lost. Ignoring those details, we see fewer lives transformed, Christian influence wane, and churches thin out–a situation that is all too familiar across North America today.

    It is time to take heart and rework the scorecard.

    According to Ed Stetzer and Thom S. Rainer, the authors of Transformational Church, “Too often we’ve highlighted the negative realities of the declining American church but missed the opportunity to magnify the God of hope and transformation.”

    Based on the most comprehensive study of its kind, including a survey of more than 7,000 churches and hundreds of on-site interviews with pastors, Transformational Church takes us to the thriving congregations where truly changing lives is the norm.

    Stetzer and Rainer clearly confirm the importance of disciple making for all through active biblical engagement and prayerful dependence on God alongside of ever-increasing, intentional participation in mission and ministry activities. As the church engages these issues, the world will see the change:

    * More people following Christ
    * More believers growing in their faith
    * More churches making an impact on their communities

    The transformation starts now.”