I am an avid reader. One of my favorite parts of our family vacations growing up was the car ride because I got to buy a new book for the journey. I love to read. Fiction, non-fiction, biographies, self-help, it doesn't really matter to me. With being a mom of two young boys- I have gone through seasons where I just didn't 'have the time' and am lucky just to get in some Bible reading during my day. In 2014, I was in one of those seasons. My husband and I were blessed to attend a pastor's conference where Rick Warren was speaking. He opened the session with this sentence.
"Leaders are Learners. If you stop learning- you stop leading."
That resonated in my heart. Honestly, everything he said that day was amazing but that sunk deep in my spirit. I have said before that one of the greatest revelations that God has ever given me is, "I grow so they can grow." The pieces were connecting in my spirit and I knew I had to get serious about learning again. Reading is obviously not the only way to learn more about your craft- but I believe it is one of the best ways. When I am done with a book- it is full of highlights, personal notes and dates so I can reference back through them. My personal goal is 1 book per month. I was not perfect but I hit about 11 out of the 12 months over the last year. Here are some of my favorite reads that anyone in ministry should read. Click on the cover to purchase them on Amazon.
1. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
This book is my all-time favorite book ever outside of the Bible. Every page challenged my thinking and the 'why' behind everything we do in church. I do not consider myself a 'religious' person but this book revealed so many areas that I was holding onto just out of tradition. The whole goal is to see your church through the 'un-churched' perspective; it is not for the faint of heart but you will never look at church the same way again.
2. Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell
Lee Cockerell was the VP of Operations for Disney for several years and he is a well of good information. Lee unlocked the secret to really making people feel loved and accepted, heard and understood. This is a great book on organizational health as well as implementing the little details that will make your ministry stand out. I love to study the magic of Disney and his books give you up close and personal insight into the intentionality of their decisions and culture.
3. The Sisterhood by Bobbie Houston
Bobbie has an incredible spirit and love for the church. Many refer to her as the "Mother of the House" and I would agree wholeheartedly. She is the best example of empowering women in the earth today and has the women's ministry to back it up. The Sisterhood is a local and global ministry that places value on womanhood by transcending culture and prejudice. This book will enlarge the capacity of your heart and push you to dream bigger in every area of your life.
4. Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick
This book will expose those thoughts that slam against our brains in our weakest moments and challenge you to see them for what they really are: lies. Furtick is very vulnerable in this book and even more practical in how we handle these thoughts that come against our calling and identity. One of my favorite lines in this book was, "Because the voice you believe will determine the future you experience." It's time to stop all the negative chatter and start walking out the truth of what the Word of God says about us.
5. The Blessed Life by Robert Morris
If you have never heard Morris speak on tithing and financial freedom- you are really missing out. I have never heard tithing explained so clearly and Biblically. He challenges us to lay down our areas of selfishness and pick up a lifestyle of generousity. Our God is a generous God and if He can get it through us- He will get it to us. You will never look at money as something to hold onto again but rather a tool to see God do something great.
These are just a couple of my favorite reads. If you purchase any of them, be sure to have a pen and a highlighter handy. One of my favorite things to do is pick up an old book and look through it to see all my notes and the date I wrote it down. There is something powerful in seeing your growth. Another thing I like doing is having my journaling Bible close by so if something stands out to me in the book- I will find the scripture it is associated with and write it in my Bible. I love watching God layer things in my life. Until next time, Happy Reading!