Scazzero, Peter.  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.  (Franklin, TN: Integrity Media, Inc.  2006) He says that our activity for God can only properly flow from a life with God.  We cannot give what we do not possess.  Doing for God in a way that is proportionate to our being with God is the only pathway to a pure heart and seeing God

 

Schwarz, Christian. Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches  (Carol Stream, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 1996).  This is one of the most insightful and helpful books I have read on why some churches grow and why others falter.  His approach is to achieve an “organic balance” between ministry areas.  The key illustration is an eight-staved barrel, with each stave of different lengths.  In the barrel analogy, it will only hold water to the height of the shortest stave, no matter how tall and strong another particular area of ministry may be.  Even with unlimited resources, unless the church is balanced, any growth will be short-term and unhealthy.

 

Sykes, Thomas E.  Field of Churches:  A Viable Option, compiled by. (Atlanta:  Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1989).  The field of churches approach involves multiple churches sharing one or more pastoral staffs, located within a reasonable driving distance of each other, committed to helping one another as if extended family living apart in the same rural county.  Similar to the circuit riding heritage, these churches intentionally work together to evangelize the region even as they meet as geographically close community congregation. 

 

Stott, John R.W.  Involvement:  being a responsible Christian in a Non-Christian Society  (Old Tappan, NJ:  Fleming H Revell Company,  1985)  Page 41 sums up the text with “So if we truly love our neighbors, and because of their worth desire to serve them, we shall be concerned for their total welfare, the wellbeing of their soul, body and community.  And our concern will lead to practical programmes of evangelism, relief and development,  we shall not just prattle and plan and pray.”  Our faith in Christ calls us to activity in the world, which is the only place we will find those to whom we can share our faith, but after we have shown that we care.

 

Tanner, Edward  Why things Bite Back:  Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences  (NY:Alfred Knopf, 1997) – an organization is more than a group of people assembled together, which is as much a mob as an identifiable “thing”.

 

Underhill, Paco.  The Call of the Mall, (NY:  Simon & Schuster, 2004)  Page 127 summarizes the book with “the mall is a tamed jungle, the retail concentrate of the urban environment – a very weird city, on in which there is little to do but shop, with a roof and a smooth floor and air bearing the scent of candle shops and cappuccino.”  This book talks about creating social spaces.

 

Underhill, Paco, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping (NY:  Touchstone Books, 1999) Probably the best single chapter for my purposes was Chapter 3, which is titled “The Twilight Zone.”  This chapter dealt with what people did when they first entered the store, and the all-too common mistakes made by retailers.  Underhill says that the first few seconds in a new environment are spent adjusting to the surroundings.  Most of us will enter a store intent on buying what we went there for, and aren’t focused on impulse shopping until that task is accomplished.  The interruptions are either not seen, ignored or distract us from our goal of buying something at all.  As applied to a church, I learned that we need a foyer, a transition zone between the carnal and the sacred, a place to adjust.  What they need is a welcome, a guide to find their way.

 

Watson, Robert A, and Brown, Ben, “The Most Effective organization in the US” – Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army (NY:Crown Publishing Group, 2001)  Describes how the Salvation Army has been successful at helping people see ways to achieve worthy goals, and to satisfy basic needs of feeling worthy.  He illustrates the need for constructive feedback in keeping the organization moving forward, even in times of uncertain future outcomes.

 

Wood, Gene, Leading Turnaround Churches, (St Charles, IL:  Church-Smart Resources, 2001)  Despite the title, I cannot recommend this book.  It is not a bad book, per se.  It is a great introduction to the problems a leader will face walking into a church that isn’t moving – quantitatively or qualitatively – and some solutions on how to deal with personal conflict.  But the novice reader using this as his only sourcebook for rescuing a failing church likely will not see the results expected, and may further demoralize the nascent leader looking for the 10 easy steps for fulfilling the will of God in his town.  Wood’s key suggestion seems to be that failing churches have too many intransigent busybodies and stick-in-the-pew deacons, and the pastor must dislodge them and send them off to another church before success can be realized. 

 

Yaconelli, Mike (ed.), Stories of Emergence:  Moving from Absolute to Authentic (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2003) – This is a thought-provoking collection of readings that will challenge conventional ideas of what church is.  Although I don’t agree with everything included in each article, these are stories of people doing the hard work of “working out their salvation with fear and trembling” in a post-modern society have helped me explore alternate understandings of creating authentic churches that are relevant  to today’s culture.

  • JoAnn Badley, ‘Living as an exile’:  “The task of theology is to restate faithfully the saving actions of our God and to think carefully what that means for the community of faith in this new time.”
  • Todd Hunter, ‘Entering the conversation’:  “The Gospel of the Kingdom invites us into a large, all-encompassing story; the stories of Adam and Eve, Israel, and the church … living outside God’s story has serious ramifications…”
  • Chris Seay, ‘I have inherited the faith of my fathers’:  “The story of God hasn’t lost its power or beauty (but) we must create new wineskins for new believers (who) wont find a home in a Sunday School class or a singles class. … (we need) a reformation built around mission and relationship instead of thoughts, systems and ideals.”
  • Brad Cecil, ‘I Told You We Weren’t Crazy’:  “…in the post-modern world community is essential. … Postmodernity promotes a concept that truth equates to agreements formed in community and only people who participate in a community can obtain truth.”  He says that to reach the postmodern world with the Gospel, you must first build relationships and form community, rather than relying on “lecture halls” for laying out an impersonal linear reasoning to win an audience that is no longer listening.

Yancy, Phillip, The Bible Jesus Read (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999)  Besides being a great introduction to some key books of the Old Testament, it helped me solidify my understanding of the needs for communication in the church, and how, being in the likeness of God, nothing is more upsetting to a person than being forgotten.

Yahweh God, The Bible.  .  I prefer the modern translations, and have used for my source material the New International Version, The Open Bible, and The Message paraphrase most of the time.  But whether you use King James or the Living Bible, it remains the most authoritative source for knowing how church should be organized.

Home

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s