Top 10 Books of 2006 - Part 1

2006 saw my reading interests narrow a bit (see last years list). I started off reading general theological & church ministry books, and have since have had my reading habits shaped by a surge of passion in specific areas (thanks largely to a book on this list & one I read in 2006, but was published in 2005 – The Gutter).

Social justice has really crept on my radar, as you may or may not have noticed. Another book that had profound influence on me & this passion was Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions & Eternity (published 1989). I would say that these books are must reads, not only for leaders, but for evangelicals in general. All but one has been reviewed on this site in the last year (& that one will be up within the month), so if you click on the picture of the book it will take you to those reviews.

10. Africa Bible Commentary. This is a one-volume Bible commentary written by African thinkers & pastors. I am not aware of anything like this work, from any non-Western country, in a format so useable. The benefits of this commentary are multiple, but primarily, it provides a new perspective on Biblical studies that is fresh & broadens our frame of reference. Christianity is soon becoming the faith of the southern hemisphere predominantly, & if the West doesn’t accept this, we may well get left behind. This work will help you gain new insight in your understanding of Scripture.

9. This Beautiful Mess. Rick McKinley is the pastor of Imago Dei in Oregon. In this book, he talks about the Kingdom of God. Mr. McKinley writes that we have skewed visions of the kingdom & often set ourselves up as the ruler & that Jesus didn’t come to make us rule ourselves better, but to rule us. He also talks about the aspect of being the kingdom of God. He says that Jesus had a holistic vision for the kingdom, not a compartmentalized one, which is so prevalent in today’s churches. This book will spark your thinking regarding the Kingdom of God & possibly even how you do ministry.

8. Living the Resurrection. Spiritual formation & spiritual leadership are not something to be taken care of by "specialists." We live in a society of specialists. Spirituality is not specialized. It is something every Christian should work at. Paul says that we are "to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." This isn't something only for the pastors, but for every believer. We all need to dig into Scripture, to "search the Scriptures like the noble Bereans."

7. Communicating for a Change. Speaking directly to leaders & pastors, Mr. Stanley discusses the philosophy North Point follows in communicating their messages. I believe that this would be helpful to anyone, because we all communicate & many times we are trying to get our point across to people so they will see our vantage point. The idea is to boil your message down to one point. Get that message across as simply & clearly as possible. If you have multiple things you want to get across, save them for another time, (in sermons, make it a series). Very helpful resource!

6. The AIDS Crisis. This book is a great book to be used personally or within a small group to learn more about the AIDS pandemic & what you (your group or your church) can do to get involved. The Church has sat back long enough & needs to get involved in turning the tide with this disease. This book is an excellent resource to help you get started.

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