These are my top books of the year in no particular order. I'm learning to spend more of my time reading in the areas of my strengths and specific calling. From this list you can see that I long to know the gospel and how it intersects with discipleship and community within the church and family. 1. Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean
Dean argues from extensive research that the watered-down faith of our teenagers is a good barometer of the condition of our larger society; therefore the church must join hands with parents and model a sincere walk with Christ and provide a significant faith community where young people can grow and live out the mission of God. This is an eye-opening read for all who work with students and families.
2. Cry of the Soul by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
This year has been a personal journey for me into the deeper areas of my heart. Allender and Longman helped me to see how my emotions reveal my deepest questions about God and yearnings for God. I was challenged to listen more closely to the cries of my heart (and the hearts of others) as a means of knowing the Lord more fully.
3. Perspectives on Family Ministry edited by Timothy Paul Jones
This book was written by three different authors who share varying perspectives on their philosophy of family ministry which they have implemented into their churches. It is an invaluable resource for those seeking to restructure their church around family discipleship where parents are called to be the primary faith trainers of their children.
4. Shift by Brian Haynes
For many years I've been searching for an effective strategy to intentionally partner with parents in our church. I really like Haynes' model of what he calls, "legacy milestones." He gives clarity and intentionality to the overall process of equipping and encouraging parents in a real tangible way.
5. Sticky Teams by Larry Osbourne
This is a must-read for all leaders. Every leader must know how to lead and unify a team of people. And if the primary leadership teams in a church are not healthy, the church itself won't be either. I love this quote: "It finally dawned on me that we were never going to change the world out there if we couldn't solve the conflicts in here."
6. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
This is a great gospel primer for the beginning Christian as well as a refreshing reminder for the more mature. I appreciated Gilbert's simple structure/outline of the gospel: God the Creator, Man the Sinner, Jesus the Savior, Response-Faith and Repentance.
7. When Church Was a Family by Joseph Hellerman
This book challenged me in many ways. It reminded me that my family is more than just me, my wife and the kids. In fact, when we're born again we're born into a new family. We join the church family and labor with her to include our biological family through mission. When we see the church as our primary family it changes our priorities and how we relate with one another.