It’s time for another segment of Book Blurbs. Not every book I touch makes this list, but only the ones I want to mention. Someone asked if I’m tired of reading now that I’m done with seminary. I pray that I would always have a voracious desire to read, but I am slightly weary. And yet, I’m still trying to truck along. Here are some books I’ve read over the past couple of months.
1. Help for the New Pastor: Practical Advice for Your First Year of Ministry by Charles Malcolm Wingard
Incredibly practical and helpful. So is The New Pastor’s Handbook by Jason Helopoulos. As a new pastor, I find Wingard’s tips and suggestions to be immensely useful.
“15” made the list but I suppose the number could have been “100.” Good seminaries are gold, but they cannot teach you everything, and they shouldn’t even try. No system or book can teach you everything. You need experience, but you also need wisdom from those who have traveled before you. I already feel as if I have so much more to learn, so this kind of book is helpful for guys like me. I enjoyed it very much.
3.Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller
Has Tim Keller ever written a bad book? I’m not sure that’s possible! I guess that’s the fruit of waiting until you’re 58 to seriously start publishing books (although he did have one book published before that). Preaching was a liberating book to read as Keller reminded me that my preaching doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s, but must adapt for my personal ministry context. Keller is at his best when writing on preaching Christ, preaching to the heat, preaching to the culture, and contextualization. I was also edified by his idea of addressing legalism and antinomians in sermons often.
Excuse my laziness. I could have just read this online (at least I think I could have). But I want to spend more time with physical books and less time online. As it goes with journals, some articles are stronger than others but definitely worth perusing.
5. Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness by Christopher J.H. Wright
John Stott’s daily prayer in the beginning is gold. I often enjoy Wright’s writing, and his perspective on the spiritual fruit of the Spirit was a helpful guide when I preached two sermons on it (joy and self-control).
6. Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Tim Keller
Going to be a contender for my top book of the year. Probably could be shorter than what it is, but then again you can say that for most books. An especially helpful guide for pastors in urban areas, although those of us in the burbs and rural areas could profit from it as well.
7. Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church by Nelson Searcy
While Searcy and I likely have different philosophies in some areas of ministry, no doubt his ideas on the church pre-service and connecting new people into your church are filled with tons of good sense.
8.Sticky Church by Larry Osborne
The title of this book could be more clear. Perhaps a subtitle would have helped. It’s a book about sermon-based small group discussions, and how that can make a church more sticky (i.e., keeping you from losing people). As we begin to launch small-groups at my church, this book is setting the foundation for the “why” behind small-groups.
9. Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46 (Word Biblical Commentary) by William D. Mounce
A true treasure. As many others have said, the format of this commentary series is insufferable. It’s so utterly difficult to navigate through it will all the jumbled font and notes within the text. That said, if you can wade through editorial difficulties, this commentary is excellent and is for the one who is serious about studying the pastoral epistles. Heads up: it’s filled with lots of Greek, so probably best suited for those who have dabbled in the original languages, although others are certainly welcome to read it.