I have been blogging less lately as a lot of my writing time has been taken up by book edits. So instead of long book reviews, I wanted to give some quick hits of some great books I’ve read recently. I thought this would be great timing if you are looking for a good book to read on vacation or a long weekend (like this weekend)!
Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy is Donald Miller’s latest book. Like all his books, it is funny, sad, heartwarming, encouraging and convicting all at the same time. I appreciated his journey through intimacy and letting people in. I resonated with a lot of what he had to say in terms of the struggle men have with intimacy. Easily the biggest takeaway was the chapter where he describes the three circles (which I used in a sermon not long ago). The outer circle is the me I want you to see; the middle circle is my shame; the inner circle is the me God created and called me to be.
Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry by Charles Stone was fascinating. I love reading his blog, and the connection of ministry and the brain is very interesting and often overlooked. There was a lot of science in this book that Stone tried to make accessible, which is difficult, but the takeaways for pastors are numerous. Section three is worth the price of the whole book as Stone shows how your brain keeps you from being productive, what is going on in your brain as you deal with ministry hurts and emotions, how to move change through your church, how that change is affecting the brains of people in your church and the science of brains as it relates to teamwork. I kept reading and seeing things that didn’t make sense before or why someone reacted the way they did or why something affected me the way it did. Walking through this book was like a big light bulb coming on.
The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace by Ron Friedman was another great book I read recently. In it Friedman shows how to create the best place to work. What makes this so relevant to churches is that many churches are not a great place to work. The teams can be toxic, and staff can feel overworked and under appreciated. As a Type-A personality, the chapter on why forceful leaders can develop the least productive team was eye opening and convicting.