the shape of leadership

Three Reading Recommendations

New books for church leaders

Celebration of Discipline (40th Anniversary Edition)

Richard J. Foster (HarperOne)
“Superficiality is the curse of our age,” writes Richard J. Foster in Celebration of Discipline. “The desperate need for today is ... deep people.” These words ring as true in 2018 as they did in 1978 when Celebration of Discipline was first published. And spiritual disciplines are still the way to produce depth. As Foster summarizes the matter in the book’s new foreword, spiritual disciplines are “the means God uses to build in us an inner person that is characterized by peace and joy and freedom.” If you’re looking for help in overcoming the superficiality and distractedness of the current age, start with this book, which is 40 years young.

From Jerusalem to Timbuktu

Brian C. Stiller (IVP Books)
“For two thousand years, the rise and fall of Christian faith has had much to do with renewal and revival,” writes Brian C. Stiller. The last century especially has witnessed the largest sustained movement of people to faith in the Church’s history. In From Jerusalem to Timbuktu, Stiller identifies five “drivers” behind this growth: the Holy Spirit, Bible translation, indigenous leadership, engagement of the public square, and holistic forms of ministry. “Living in the midst of this resurgence,” he asks, “we can’t help but wonder: will it carry on?” The only way to find out is to lean in to the Spirit even more.

Small Church Essentials

Karl Vaters (Moody Publishers)
“Your church is big enough,” writes Karl Vaters in Small Church Essentials. “Right now. Today, at its current size.” That’s good news for small-church pastors, but it doesn’t let them off the hook. “Small churches are not a problem,” Vaters writes, but neither are they “a virtue, or an excuse.” What small-church pastors need is a broader understanding of church health and growth. “We are always striving to increase our capacity for effective ministry,” Vaters writes. If you’re looking for “field-tested principles” for leading a small church, check out this hopeful, helpful book.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2018 edition of Influence magazine.

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