the shape of leadership

Recommended Reading for Ministry Leaders

Three books to add to your library

Influence Magazine on July 3, 2020

Strange Rites

Tara Isabella Burton (Public Affairs)

American religiosity is not declining, but it is changing, argues Tara Isabella Burton in this book. Institutional religion is giving way to intuitional religion. The former is “organized faith in a higher power.” In the latter, Americans — especially millennials — “envision themselves as creators of their own bespoke religions, mixing and matching spiritual and aesthetic and experiential and philosophical traditions.” Burton traces the history and offers a taxonomy of these new religions, whose metaphysics and morals are often explicitly, even vulgarly, anti-Christian.


Telling a Better Story

Joshua D. Chatraw (Zondervan)

Story telling is the primary way God reveals himself in Scripture. He uses stories to shape our imagination, call us to repentance, and show us creation’s future. Unfortunately, apologetics too often relies on arguments instead of narratives. In this book, Joshua D. Chatraw shows how to talk about God in a secular age by telling the better story of the gospel: “When our imaginations have been formed by the gospel story, we retain not only our [apologetic] strategy but something even more powerful than our witness — our very lives.”


A Gentle Answer

Scott Sauls (Nelson Books)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Unfortunately, American culture prefers the harsh word. In this book, Scott Sauls writes: “Those who yearn to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God advance righteousness by speaking and living a message of love — not a sappy, sentimental love, but one that is undergirded with truth and with the courage and wisdom needed to confront.” That is how Jesus treated us. This is how we ought to treat others.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 edition of Influence magazine.

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