100 Book Challenge Week 4 Progress – 8 & 9 of 100 (Plus 1 Bonus)

The exciting aspects of this wisdom quest unfolded tremendously this week for me. One of my favor authors and non-denominational speakers is Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church just outside of Atlanta, GA. His writing and speaking have a credibility and consistency that seems to be lacking in many mainstream religious leaders and communicators. He’s well respected not just in religious circles but in the circles of business and leadership too. For these reasons I have begun to build a collection of his works.

My current collection includes:

I will be adding soon

  • Visioneering
  • Communicating for Change
  • Choosing to Cheat
  • Ask It
  • Best Question Ever

8. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley – By far my favorite book to date by Andy Stanley and 1460489103227the most exhaustive of his works regarding planting a church, designing environments to attract unchurched people, crafting messages for unchurched people and church people alike. Andy’s approach is very methodical and intentional.

Chapter 6 gives great insight into North Point’s concept of Spiritual Formation, which they use to quantify spiritual growth as follows –

They describe it as 5 Faith Catalysts which are 5 things God uses to grow your faith.

  • Practical Teaching
  • Private Discipline
  • Personal Ministry
  • Providential Relationships
  • Pivotal Circumstances

Chapter 7 Describes these in detail and provide excellent leadership advice on how best to position people based on one of these 5 catalysts.

One of the major moments for me stood out in Chapter 13…

“Marry your mission.

Date your model.

Fall in love with your vision.

Stay mildly infatuated with your approach.”

Andy does a wonderful job at mapping the mission to the programming as follows –

MISSION —VISION—MODEL—PROGRAMMING (see page. 286)

This skims the surface of this excellent book which reads like a manual on the North Point Systems Based approach to church leadership.

9. Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits – I am investigating the feasibility of small groups for our church. I have surveyed a half dozen pastors and have received opinions in every direction. This book cleared up a great deal. I’m not 100% sold on the idea…yet.

51obh1fz6ql-_sx336_bo1204203200_Much of the first few chapters were spent convincing the reader of the importance of community. The authors state God literally created us for community. In fact, they use Creation when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” as evidence God wants us to have companionship. While I agree companionship is wonderful and beneficial, I personally felt that readers who may be single, and may have resigned themselves to that fact, may be out of line their opinion of God’s view on being alone. Many biblical leaders, even Jesus was never married, so this comparison should be drawn very carefully.

I did however like the way they correlated the Starbucks Business model to community. They’re not just in the business of selling coffee, they’re in the business of creating community. And, if you think about it, that’s so true. Their environments are conducive to conversation and connection which go great with coffee.

Now, from a church standpoint, I am a strong proponent of community. I can see the benefits of doing life together. Great examples were given in the book of how small groups impacted the lives of people who would have otherwise fallen between the proverbial cracks.

This book was filled with practical reasons on why, and a little on the how, as it applies to small groups, but left me wanting more in the way of a formal process. It could be done using the book, but would involve a great deal more trial and error, and would require high degree of tolerance on behalf of the people you would be asking to sign up for these groups.

Bonus Book(s): Finished Leviticus and began the Book of Numbers. I was so enamored with the Deep and Wide book I re-read several chapters several times. Once I cracked these books open by Andy Stanley, it reminded me of 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner, and I dug up a few chapters from there because they were reference by Andy in Deep and Wide. 

 

100 Book Challenge Week 3 Progress – 6 & 7 of 100 (Plus 2 Bonus)

This week was a tricky week for keeping on target with my goal of a minimum of 2 books per week. In fact, I blogged about how I set goals in a separate post entitled, “100 Book Challenge – Setting Yourself up for Setbacks.” This is no easy undertaking. I read on average maybe 20 books a year and to increase it to 100 will require dipping into the reserves of my tenacity and grit!

The challenges, if I’m being transparent, arise when my routines get disrupted. I’m a pretty regimented guy and when that happens I have to have a contingency plan. With a 2-week margin for catch up out of the 52-week year of hitting 2 books a week minimum, I do not want to have to dip into that reserve if I can avoid it. I’d like to actually use those 2 weeks to get ahead of my goal so I can crush it!

6. The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick – Once I recovered from the minor setback of taking one day off, and another one being too busy to crank out so much as a chapter or two, I dialed in and finished up a great book I had started toward the end of last year called “The Battle Plan for Prayer” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

battle-plan-for-prayer

From the creators of the famed movie, War Room, and authors of The Love Dare, the Kendrick brothers have written a masterpiece of practical and theoretical wisdom on prayer. Prayer, the most powerful communication tool between us on earth and God in Heaven, is the sadly under utilized. This book  is a must have for any Christian library.

If I could make a suggestion, plan on reading a chapter a day. I plan on using this to teach future studies on prayer and to implement its practices in my personal prayer life as well. We owe the authors a debt of gratitude for penning these words. There’s no way they could have written them without having practiced them, and without the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

As of this post I have not seen War Room, but I will soon. For other resources for using this book as a teaching tool visit the book’s website at LifeWay.com

7. “If – Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities” by Mark Batterson – I have come to be a fan of Mark’s work. From the gifted writer of The Circle Maker and all of its resources, Mark again expounds upon one of the most unsuspecting 2-letif-booktered words of the English Language I-F. There is so much possibility packed within this word and Mark takes us on a journey weaving in characters like Winston Churchill, Helen Keller, and of course a host of biblical characters as well.

As a pastor, I appreciate the accounts Mark shares with the reader about the journey of National Community Church (NCC). I take inspiration from his writing because having started a church with little more than he did, I’m only 5 years into my pastorship, while he’s well past that. God has opened great doors in his ministry and he attributes it all to faith in God and a solid prayer life. This inspires me to keep believing and trusting God for greater things in our church.

I might add here too that Mark states in the book he read over 3000 books before he ever attempted to write one. That’s huge. He mentions also, Teddy Roosevelt, one of his all-time favorite presidents, made habit of reading 500 books a year…and I think 100 is a “challenge!”

With 31 chapters, Mark recommends you read this book, one chapter a day as well. In my quest for wisdom, I will admit, I did this in just a couple of days, but can see the value in taking the time to both read, and journal thoughts and impressions of the book as you go through it.

One of the biggest messages of the book “If” by Mark Batterson is, at the end of our lives, it won’t be the things we did that we regret. We will regret the things we did not do, and wished we had.

Bonus Reading: When I started I anticipated getting criticism for reading books other than the Bible. I committed from the onset that I would attempt to maintain my Bible reading in addition to these 100 books. This week I made good on this BONUS Goal by reading Genesis (started last week) and Exodus. And, since Exodus blended right into Leviticus, I continued and have gotten a good start on it.

I am enjoying this journey overall. It is stretching me. I have a difficult time focusing on such diverse reading materials and going through them thoroughly and thoughtfully, but the more I do it, the more I hunger for it.

A good key if you’re going to do a challenge like this is to find someone to do it with you. I have had a couple people link up with me on this journey wanting to know which books I’m going to read next. If you’re so inclined, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below, and I’ll let you know which books I’m reading next.

Here’s to 93 more!