Sorry it’s been silent over here so far this week. I’ve been hit with a flu bug that never leaves, and everything is just...slower. But, here I am, for this month’s installment of Resource Roundup!
I admit I’m cheating a bit this time around; the resources I’m going to highlight aren’t necessarily ones I’ve interacted with this month. Some of them I read over the last couple of months or so. But, they’re good ones nonetheless. (Also, in case it's not clear, the titles to each books are links to them on Amazon.ca.)
This is my “cheater” resource this time around. I read this book a few months ago, but it’s stuck with me. In this book, Jared Siebert (who founded and leads the New Leaf Network, which I’ve connected with a bit with Ecclesia) tells the stories of what he calls pioneer church planters. These are the church planters who had a vision that was breaking new ground for the church, utilizing new models and methods for church planting. These pioneers recognize that the church as we know it won’t reach an ever-changing, post-Christian culture - like what we currently experience in Canada. This book is full of stories and helpful insights that have and are currently guiding me in my own church planting - and, best of all, Siebert has a commitment to focus on church planting with a uniquely Canadian view. This was an especially good read for me as a church planter, but I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand how the church fits into our current cultural context in Canada.
Okay, okay, this is a little bit cheating, too - but I have returned to it recently. This book is beautiful. It tells the story of how Shauna Niequist (who is a wonderful author and speaker in her own right, and also she’s Bill Hybel’s daughter) let go of “the hustle,” as she calls it, and sought to live in a way to be more present to the people and parts of life that matter most. I first read this book about a year and a half ago, when I was first starting to feel the pressure of church planting. As one who could easily let work drive my life, it got to me. I heard Shauna Niequist read a part of this book once, and I was in tears. I returned to it recently, as I’m again in that place of feeling a bit of pressure, and trying to figure out a new normal after welcoming my son into the world. I want to be present more than I want to be perfect; I don’t want my work and my ministry to make the rest of my life sit on hold. This is a wonderful read for anyone who’s felt the whirlwind of life get to them, and long for something more.
I decided this month it was time to branch out a bit from my usual church planting/missional church reading and look into more general leadership kinds of books. This is my first such book lately. In this book, Simon Sinek (whose name you might recognize from that ever-present, slightly-frustrating video about Millennials circulating Facebook the last few years - but that’s a topic for another time) delves into the reason some leaders are able to inspire their followers, while others just give instructions to be followed. Sinek argues that the more inspirational leaders tend to start with the “why” of what they’re doing. In other words, they start with the reason, the belief, or the vision of the new world they hope to embody. Instead of starting with how they do what they do, or what it is that they do - they start with why. Inspirational leaders start with meaning. This was a great book, and both served to inspire me towards better leadership as well as encouraged me that I might be on the right track. Sinek doesn’t write about church leadership, but his ideas are immediately applicable. No matter where you lead, you will do well to start with why.