Tag: books

Top books for people sensing a call to ministry


image credit: CreationSwap user Agatha Villa

Sensing a call to ministry?

Then it’s time to start getting prepped now. Nothing can substitute for doing the work of ministry. But picking up and working through a handful (or two) of good books will help you more than you could ever know.

These are some of my favorites. Some I read in seminary. Others I’ve read since I’ve been working full-time in the local church.

I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.



Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladen (e-book)

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley (e-book)

Sticky Church by Larry Osborne (e-book)

Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne (e-book)

Lectures to my Students by CH Spurgeon (e-book)

Creating Community by Andy Stanley (e-book)

UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons (e-book)



21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell (e-book)

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (e-book)

Tribes: We Need you to Lead us by Seth Godin (e-book)

Good to Great by Jim Collins (e-book)

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (e-book)


Theology/Spiritual Growth

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler (e-book)

Knowing God by JI Packer (e-book)

Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem (e-book)

ESV Study Bible

The Attributes of God by AW Pink (e-book)

Desiring God by John Piper (e-book)

Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen (e-book)

Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper (e-book)

The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg (e-book)


Anything you’d add?


Bad Parenting Lessons from Curious George

Ever read a book from the series, Curious George?

image via Zap 2 It

I’ve got a 2 year old son, and we read a lot to him. Curious George is one of those books he likes. “Monkey book!” he says.

And I’m a critic. I read and listen to things with a critical eye. Sometimes, that’s really helpful. But many times, it’s just annoying.   I wish I could just read and flip that little switch off in my brain…because I’m sure that the author producer wasn’t trying to communicate the strange things that are now running through my head about his book…but I can’t help myself.

Curious George is a great children’s series…but when I read it, here’s what I see.

5 Bad Parenting Lessons from Curious George

  • Don’t worry about listening to your Dad. Everything will be okay. Even if you do what he would never want you to do, within 20 minutes, he’ll be laughing with you.
  • Don’t worry about listening to your Dad.  You’ll have more fun that way.  Especially if ice cream is involved.  And at the end of the day, the disaster you caused means everybody wins…except the ice cream shop.
  • Don’t worry about listening to your Dad. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Everybody will love you more.  The more trouble you cause, the more people will end up liking you.  Ignore the rules!
  • Don’t worry about listening to your Dad.  You won’t ever get punished. (The man in the yellow hat never dolls out any consequences).  That chocolate factory that you nearly destroyed…ahh…don’t worry about it, little guy!  Just laugh about them losing thousands of dollars of chocolate!
  • Your poor decisions don’t ever cause any real trouble. You may wreck the local library, let all of the animals out of the zoo, and ruin everything of value in your friend’s new restaurant, but just give it a few minutes…everything will be even better because of your mischief.  In fact, thank you for your bad decisions.


Ever read Curious George?  Am I the only one who sees these things?



Small Group Books

Recently, I’ve been getting this question from a lot of other pastors:

Besides the Bible, what are the best books on small groups available?

Here are the ones I think are the strongest, and most helpful, when you’re looking to launch small groups or significantly change your system.

Best books on small groups

Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladen

Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture by Andy Stanley

The 7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson

Simple Small Groups by Bill Search

Sticky Church by Larry Osborne

Community: Taking Your Small Groups Off Life Support by Brad House

Leading Life-Changing Small Groups by Bill Donahue (and the 2nd book, Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders)

Seeker Small Groups by Gary Poole

Activate by Nelson Searcy


Essential reading tools

I read incessantly.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, according to Strengths Finder, I’m a “learner.”  I enjoy the process of getting more information, uncovering new concepts, and learning from others.

And I do a lot of reading over the holidays as I’m sitting around, relaxing with family.

And when I read, I have to have certain things with me.

Essentials when I read

  1. Pen and paper. If I read, I’ve got to take notes.  90% of what I read is non-fiction, and I feel like I’m wasting my time if I don’t capture my thoughts through the book.  And what I love about the Kindle is that I can take notes right on the device, and view them later at my personal Kindle page.  (you can set yours up HERE)
  2. My computer. Not so that I can check emails and process my Excel spreadsheets…but because I want to interact with others as I read.  I don’t have it open the whole time, but I like to have it handy so that I can process things out loud with a broader community, and read reactions from others who have read the book as well.  If I don’t have my computer, my iPhone works well.
  3. Background noise. I can’t listen to music while I read (because my mind starts singing along), but I don’t like to read in a room all by myself.  I like to have a bit of noise, of some sorts, in the background.
  4. Natural light. I much prefer natural to artificial light…which makes me just like 99% of humanity.  Sitting outside, or by a window, is a prime reading spot for me.
  5. Coffee. This doesn’t even need an explanation.

The only problem I’ve got right now is that I’m reading so many books at once.  Currently, here’s what’s on my Kindle and active:

  1. The Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
  2. The Next Christians, by Gabe Lyons
  3. The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg
  4. E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber
  5. The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus

What are you reading right now?

What are your reading essentials?

Are the holidays a good time for you to read?


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