Saturday, March 1, 2008

Launch Team Resource: Five Books for Church Planting

Here are five books that have changed my life and ministry that I would like to encourage each person involved with Jonah's Call to read in the next year, should you have the chance, inclination, or desire.

1. Good to Great by Jim Collins
This is a book about leadership. Collins and his research team look into the heart of 15 companies that have gone from good to great in the past 50 years. He shows how companies that were so so became powerhouses (Circuit City, Gillette, Kroger, Walgreens, Wells Fargo, etc.) by developing focus that have an extraordinary level of focus (by employing a hedgehog concept). Collins also points out the difference between good leaders, (who surround themselves with less-then-great subordinates) and great leaders (who humbly recruit great team members). An important book if you want to grow as a leader.

2. Simple Church by Tom Rainer

Most churches are anemic because they are "all over the map." They offer too many programs with too few people to organize them or attend them. Simple churches have four things: Clarity of vision, alignment of ministry, focus on what God has asked them alone to do, and movement in the direction in which the church is going. Apple is Simple, Mars Hill Church in Seattle is Simple, and in its DNA, Jonah's Call is Simple. To find out how churches to get away from over-commitment and in-effectiveness, read Simple Church.

3. The Radical Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll can has been criticized as being "obnoxious." He doesn't believe in women's ministry. He swears. He drinks really good beer. He was banned from last years church growth conference. Though I disagree with him on some stuff and find him offensive in some ways, I still love him. In some ways, I feel like Mark and I could be brothers! Anyway, Mark is a powerful preacher and teacher and a very gutsy leader. This book will take you into the heart of Mars Hill Seattle, a church that has grown from the basement to three campuses, reaching thousands of postmodern twenty somethings in the most secular city in the US.

4. The Connecting Church by Randy Frazee

We suffer in America from a sick cycle of Individualism-Isolation-and-Consumerism (IIC) that feed one another and cause us to live lonely lives with little meaning. Frazee applies the IIC cycle to the church and show how, through living in authentic community which is comprised of sharing Property, Possessions, and Purpose, can allow us to reverse the cycle and to begin to live "authentic" Christian lives. If you want to know how we will set up small groups at Jonah's Call, read this book.

5. The Reason for God by Tim Keller

I have been devouring EVERYTHING that Tim Keller has been saying for nearly twenty years. When Catherine and I were in our twenty's we went to Tim's church- redeemer Pres in NYC. Tim is a profound teacher and like Luther, an amazing proponent of the Gospel. He has just (last week) come out with a new book that basically compiles that last twenty years of his ministry in NYC to urban pagans and disillusioned skeptics. I am almost done with this book, but will probably read it at least five more times before it all sinks in. If you want to know the love of God and the seriousness of your own plight with sin, READ THIS!


john said...

They look like great resources, Jay, thanks!
Can i suggest 'The Forgotten Ways' by Alan Hirsch. I have been finding it very helpful in exploring some of the issues of building church

Joseph said...

I read The Radical Reformission and the day after I finished that book, The Reason for God arrived. So, although a little wordy for a Marine, Timothy Keller is amazingly simple in his points thus far. It seems as though he makes many different supporting points and by the end of the chapter, he has developed a tree of stability. (If that makes sense) The main point at the top, and the strong base/foundation layed down carefully beneath that even the strongest atheist cannot topple :). At one point, I was a bit frustrated because he was so thorough. LOL Im on chapter 4 now and this book is amazing. I get so giddy and often find myself reading points out loud to Sara. She can't wait until I finish it.

As far as Driscoll, I found out about this man on your website and eventually downloaded some of his sermon/presentations from Although radical, I see God working in him to reach the fringe. Living in the fringe that is the Marine Corps, I could see him reaching so many men within my working community. Just his mere suggestion to open a Christian Pub would win over 75% of my co-workers. :) Thank you for your suggestions.