Alberts, David S and Hayes, Richard E  Power to the Edge.  (DC:  DoD Command and Control Resource Program – http://www.dodccrp.org).  This is a publication of a Defense Department think tank, but is outstanding in understanding how a centralized leader can keep in contact with people on the edge of the organization.  You could think of it like the pastor of a church trying to keep track of the occasional member, the home-bound and the community the church exists in and does business with.

Barna Research Group.  Founded by George Barna, this organization focuses on the spiritual attitudes of North Americans and on the activities of their churches.  His research is statistically valid, but also frighteningly unsettling.  The warnings he gives in his periodic research reports and the books he writes have been documenting the declining state of the Church for several decades.  He has helped me see the magnitude of the problem this book tries to address.

Barna, George.  How to Increase Giving in Your Church (Regal Books, 1997).  Not so much how to twist their arm, it’s more a survey of who gives where, and why.  For me, the most valuable insights were that Americans continue to be “determination to give away their money to those in need.”  He also makes the connection between active participation in the organization and increased levels of giving.

Bass, Dorothy C Practicing our Faith – a series of readings on how faith is lived out in the practices of God’s people.  Her descriptions of “practices” is a key to my interpretation of “acts of ministry” as a corporate discipline of the member of a functioning community of faith.  I especially liked the following chapters:

  • Saliers, Don E “Singing in our lives”, which says that “The circle of song and movement … shared music making that the human body remembers – (is) a kind of natural language of praise.”
  • Bass, Dorothy C and Dykstra, Craig.  “Growing in the Practices of Faith” evaluates core practices of faith.

Beverley, James “What is Postmodernism?”  (http://www.christianity.ca/faith/faith-and-thought/2003/06.009.html, accessed October 01, 2004)  While not the definitive word on postmodernism, Beverly has done a good job of condensing the issue to its key elements and describing to the casual reader the dangers of postmodernism to the contemporary church, describing Christ as “the path to truth, the way to meaning, the cause of beauty, the answer to oppression, and the solution to despair.”

Breen, Bill “I Can Only Compete Through My Crew,”   Fast Company Magazine, Issue 40 November 2000, Page 270.  The story of Simon Walker, who has twice skippered a crew in the BT Global Challenge,” a 30,000-mile marathon ‘the wrong way’ around the planet — that is, against prevailing winds and currents.”  It is physically and emotionally draining, and the job of the leader is as much keeping the team’s confidence up as it is making crucial sailing decisions.  He talks about the need to gain common understanding among the team to meet team goals.

Collins, Jim.  Good to Great.  (NY: Harper-Collins, 2001), – A classic in the genre that describes the difference between a great company and one that is merely “good.”  In short, a great company chooses to be great at one thing, strips away anything that gets in the way of achieving that mission, and focuses all its energies on becoming great in that one area.

 

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