What are the books that have formed your views on ministry or have helped you to be more effective in what you do? I’m going to share mine. You share yours. Tell us the books you have read that have shaped and formed your ministry.
Let’s all agree that the most important book is the Bible. We believe that the Bible is our final authority and shapes our lives and ministries more than any other book. We know that. The topic of discussion is other books which God has used in your life.
1) “Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome” by Kent and Barbara Hughes
This book traces the early ministry struggles of this couple in ministry. He is a “successful” pastor now, but he looks back at a ministry in which he “failed” and was forced out.
He defines success as ministry, service, obedience, faithfulness and such instead of using statistical measurements or popularity among the people. If you serve a church that has some struggles, this book can be a powerful reminder of what God really wants from us.
Last I knew, this book was still in print, but it was not really a bestseller. You will have to order it, or perhaps hit half.com or Amazon to find a copy.
2) “The Supremacy of God in Preaching” by John Piper.
What list would be complete without a Piper book, right? Piper looks at the preaching of Jonathan Edwards (shocker, eh?) and encourages the reader to deal with vertical themes, eternal themes, instead of just the horizontal, the so-called practical preaching some advocate.
Preachers need to deal with the deep and noble themes of God’s character and glory, not just tell people how to handle money or have a happy marriage. Our preaching needs to focus on God, not just on earth or on the people whom we serve.
Powerful call to leave behind the often-shallow and man-centered preaching seen today and to bring our people before the throne of grace to gaze on the glory of God.
3) “The Heart of the Problem” Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner
This book revolutionized my counseling ministry (which, I will tell you, really needed help). Brandt and Skinner focus on the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 and contrast that with the works of the flesh in the same passage. If I am saved, I can walk in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc” regardless, of the circumstances of my life.
This type of counseling forces people to confront their own actions and attitudes instead of blaming others or playing the victim. It is often unpopular with the people being counseled, but I believe it is a biblical and effective approach.
4) “Spiritual Leadership” by Henry Blackaby
Blackaby challenges the corporate leadership model that so often dominates the modern church culture. From these models, we learn how to get what we want and accomplish our own agendas.
Our job as leaders is not to accomplish our agendas, but to get ourselves and our people on God’s agenda. This book guides us in that process, showing us how to die to self and to our self-centered agendas and how to lead based on God’s agenda.
If I had to choose just one of these books, it would probably be this one.
How about you? You can give opinions about these books or you can put other great books on the table.