If knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1), why read books? Reading is not as important as applying what you read. Practicing what you know has a far greater value than gaining more and more knowledge. Having said this, good leaders continually learn and grow. Books help us do that. Visionary leaders read. No doubt about it.
Invest money and time in reading. Read widely. Read authors who share your perspective and passions, and those who don’t. Try reading different types or genres of books. As in relationships with people, it is good to listen to new voices and be updated in current viewpoints.
Reading and listening to audiobooks has been my habit for a long time. Some years, I read more than others, but I’m always reading or listening to new books.
Here are some recommended books for the new year and a short summary of my take-aways from them. If you purchase these via the button below, I get a tiny commission from Amazon that will help this platform continue to grow.
1. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship by Peter Scazzero
Chapter one of this book highlights four failures in disciple-making.
- 1. We tolerate emotional immaturity.
- 2. We emphasize doing for God over being with God.
- 3. We ignore the treasures of church history.
- 4. We define success wrongly (p 14).
Understanding those four things alone is worth buying this book! It goes on to explain what it means to make disciples in an emotionally healthy way. This book is a staple for anyone focused on making disciples.
I’m still figuring out how to include these principles in my DMM approaches. I recognize that we must do so. Launching a movement of disciples who remain emotionally immature doesn’t reflect Jesus. It will not lead to Kingdom transformation.
2. The Divine Embrace– by Ken Gire
This book is about falling in love with Jesus. Using examples from his own life, Gire illustrates our relationship with Christ using the metaphor of a dance. He calls us to come and dance with Him.
I found this book encouraging and a helpful resource. Our love relationship with Jesus is something we must continue to feed and nurture. My heart longs to continue to follow Him in this dance!
3. The Very Good Gospel– by Lisa Sharon Harper
Written by an author I’d never read before, or even heard of, this book was recommended to me by a friend from Bible college days. In times when racial tension fills my nation, I wanted to gain perspective and read the work of authors from varied backgrounds. This book did not disappoint!
Harper shines a light on what the gospel is and means to those from an African American background. Brilliantly sharing her own story, she makes an important point for those of us who are devoting our lives to sharing Christ with the nations.
Is the gospel we are sharing good? To them? In their context? This book is a helpful, insightful read.
4. Kingdom Reflections: Being and Making Disciples Who Shine by Kevin Sutter
Written in a devotional style this book can be read a chapter each day or through as in a normal chapter book. It is a great book for those wanting to not only plant churches, but who want to see movements emerge. A mindset-shifting book, Kingdom Reflections will encourage you to think about disciple-making in a holistic way.
We must do more than start house churches and make disciples. Those disciples must shine bright, bringing Kingdom transformation to their regions. DMMs Frontier Missions helped publish this book because we believe in its message so greatly!
5. The Tatooist of Auschwitz: A Novel– by Heather Morris
Reading novels, not only non-fiction, is enjoyable. It also gives food for thought. Starting a book club in your neighborhood and reading with others can build community. This could later turn into disciple-making. If you enjoy novels, they may also be part of your practice of Sabbath rest. They are of mine! Especially when read by a swimming pool (smile).
This was my favorite novel of 2021. The story is well told and rather riveting. It demonstrates the humanness of every person, even those who oppress others. Light, hope, and love can emerge in the darkest of times. Disclaimer: I don’t endorse every action and activity described in this book.
Get Curious About Perspectives Different From Your Own
We were at my sister-in-law’s house. There was a book on the table. I picked it up. What’s this about? I asked her. She went on to share that my niece had read it and found it interesting. The author represented a very different perspective from my own. It was about a controversial topic and I knew there would likely be parts I didn’t agree with.
At the same time, I was curious. What did they have to say? How would they present it? Was I open-minded enough to “hear” them, by taking time to read their thoughts?
I purchased the book and found it quite interesting. It’s not on my list above because I can’t recommend it. At the same time, I’m glad I read it. It’s given me the ability to understand the perspective of people who think quite differently from me. I can now dialogue with them in a knowledgeable way. That dialogue is a bridge to a relationship, one I value.
Are you curious to understand those who think differently than you do? On topics that matter? Great leaders don’t only read to further their own ideas, they read to understand and engage with many varied perspectives on life and ministry.
What Is Your Reading Goal for 2022?
Set a goal and make a list of books you want to get started with. You may not have the money to buy them. God will provide, and libraries, even online libraries are available to access!
Remember to include a wide range of books and authors not only those who already share your perspective.
What books would you add to my list as recommended reading for 2022? Any favorites to share? I’m making my reading list for the New Year!