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.



  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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”
  • 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.

  • Launching Missional Communities

    by Mike Breem & Alex Absalom. Publisher: 3DM
  • Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation Through the Small Church

    by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Publisher: CrossBooks.
  • Organic Outreach for Churches: Infusing Evangelistic Passion into Your Congregation

    by Kevin G. Harney. Publisher: Zondervan.

    Focuses on love on a mission to reach the lost with the gospel.

    Click to see full review

    This book review is provided by one of my friends, Daniel Threlfall, who is the marketing director for provide media resources, website development and other services for churches. A visit to their website is well worth your time. Please take a moment to read the review and consider purchasing a copy of Organic Outreach.

    Think with me for a second. Is the following statement true of your church? “Churches invest an inordinate percentage of their time and finances in people who are already followers of Jesus.” True, isn’t it? Is it true of your church? Most churches pour the vast majority of their resources and time into taking care of the sheep.

    So what?

    Kevin Harney, author of Organic Outreach thinks we have a problem. “Not all of this is bad or wrong,” he’s quick to point out. But as a whole, we’re probably spending too much time and too much money on the already-disciples, forsaking the not-yet-disciples, those whom Jesus commanded us to reach with the good news. It’s not just a matter of the dollars and cents of the church budget. It’s a deeper issue that penetrates into very fabric of the church. Churches that lack outreach are churches that lack life.

    Maybe it’s time to change this. Maybe it’s time to amp up your church’s outreach. Maybe it’s time to be more aggressive about the Great Commission. Maybe it’s time to get serious about reaching people who are living and dying, never being relentlessly pursued by passionate Christians, eager to share the life-changing message of Jesus. Maybe it’s time we focus on outreach.

    What Organic Outreach Is All About

    Harney’s book is a jarring wake-up call to do just that. It’s more than an alarm, though. Sure, our churches need to a wake up call, but we need more. That’s why Organic Outreach opens with a triumphant anthem trumpeting the glories of Christ’s church, and a motivating chorus that proclaims a theology of love—love for God, love for others, and love for the church. The book then moves into sketching out a blueprint of how outreach should look. In this section, the motivation turns practical, as Harney explains how outreach looks, works, and acts.

    Outreach is a great concept, but without any practical tips, it dwindles into nothing more than just that—a concept, devoid of action. Within this practical section, don’t expect a seven-step, surefire way to firing up a languid congregation and win 4,000 converts by next Sunday. I hope your church does have 4,000 true converts by Sunday, but outreach isn’t the product of seven-steps. As Harney explains, outreach begins with loving God. “Without this, nothing else matters.” Organic outreach isn’t formulaic. Rather, it is a natural outflow of right theology, joined with right action.


    Just like outreach is a buzzword, so is organic. As a point of fact, you may even have eaten organic yogurt for breakfast this morning, especially if you’re a hipster. When coupled with “outreach,” the word “organic” goes beyond Whole Food and Trader Joe’s. “Organic” is the author’s way of describing how outreach goes “beyond pushpins and committees.” Instead, organic outreach “should flow naturally and freely from God into every level of your church ministry. From there, it should pour from your church into your community and the world.”

    This type of outreach begins to make sense when you envision the final product. In this vision of an organically outreaching assembly, you see a church whose nursery workers are thinking, “outreach,” rather than exclusively focusing on disinfecting slobbery toys and sealing up soiled diapers. In this vision, you see a church treasurer who isn’t just tallying up offerings each Sunday. Rather, he is planning a free financial seminar for people in the church’s community. The New Mom’s committee is not just lining up house help for Brenda, the Sunday School teacher who just had twins. Instead, the committee is finding people to prepare some meals for Rhonda, an unemployed single mom of four who lives two doors down from the church. Is the vision beginning to flesh out in your mind? In the Organic Outreach model, “outreach” is no longer a buzzword. Nor is it just a committee project. Instead, it is the Jesus-focused, others-loving heartbeat of the entire church.

    Harney’s one-liner explanation sums it up: “Organic outreach is a change in the culture of your entire church.”

    Should you take several hours to read this book?

    Reading a book takes a lot of time. You should know, however, that Organic Outreach is a mere 192 pages, and it goes quick. You can probably get through it in three or four hours. That investment of time may very well revolutionize your ministry.

    If any one of these four points applies to you, you should read this book:

    •    You are involved in church leadership, want to be, or think you might someday.

    •    Your church could improve outreach, and better connect with its community.

    •    You care about lost souls, or at least want to.

    •    You are sometimes disappointed that you or your church isn’t doing more to reach others.

    No, you won’t agree with every point that the author makes. (Show me a book, apart from Holy Bible, where this is true.) Nonetheless, you will undoubtedly learn, think, and grow as a result of reading it. Most likely, it will change you, and then even change your church.

    The church does not engage in outreach for outreach’s sake. Nor do we perfunctorily tack on an “outreach” ministry because we kind of have to obey that Great Commission thingy. No indeed. We engage in outreach because we believe the gospel and act upon it. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), motivating us to unashamed, unrelenting, unstoppable proclamation of this joyful message.

  • Splash Discipleship

    by Ken Hemphill. Publisher: Auxano Press.

    Focuses on what to do after you lead someone to Christ.

  • Splash: Show People Love and Share Him

    by Ken & Paula Hemphill. Publisher: Auxano Press.

    Focuses on love on a mission in reaching people with the gospel.

  • Team Building: How to Build & Manage Teams That Will Get Things Done

    By William Wyatt

    “You are about to discover how to become a solid, effective, persuasive team builder. Whatever you do in life, you have to communicate and deal with other people. The fact is that the amount of success you achieve both in your workplace and social life is determined by your ability to manage people, influence their perceptions, and obtain incredible results in the fastest way possible, with the least amount of effort and exposure.

    My goal is simple. I will help you develop your team building skills so that you can easily get your ideas across and positively impact other people’s lives. Together, we will go to the roots of leadership and influence and transform that knoweldge into an simple step by step guide that will change the way you build & manage teams forever. So let’s go for it!

    Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn When You Download You Copy Today

    • Why Teams Fail: Debunking Myths about Project Management
    • Things You Must Avoid When Managing Teams
    • How to Build an Effective Team
    • How to Motivate Your Team
    • Moving it: How to Get Things Done
    • Much, much more!”
  • Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts

    by Jim Griffith and Bill Easum, Chalice Press

    Focuses on practices for launching a church

  • 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 High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World

    By Derwin L. Gray

    The United States is know as the “Great Melting Pot,” yet a survey of our churches on Sunday Morning would reveal a noticeably different portrait of our ethnic make-up. Every facet of American culture is multi-ethnic. Yet, the Church is not. The church is segregated. Drawing from scripture, Derwin shows how the modern church is suffering from being homogenous and how we are not fulfilling our calling as effectively as we should be.

    The High-Definition Leader is a call for churches and their leaders to grow out of ignorance, class-ism, racism, and greed into a flourishing and vibrant community of believers united in their devotion to serving God and sharing His love with the world.

  • Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World

    by Avery Willis Jr. Publisher: NavPress.

    Focuses on communicating bible truth through story telling.

  • Vital Merger: A New Church Start Approach that Joins Church Families Together

    By Dirk Elliott (Author)