I generally don’t reread books as soon as I finish them, but I am currently rereading one. In May a friend was reading this book, and after looking through it, I knew I needed to read it. It is called Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by Kent and Barbara Hughes. Kent has been in ministry for years and authored several other books.
I to often find myself comparing my ministry to others, discouraged because of numbers or lack of, and not seeing the big picture. This book is helping me to do this. The Hughes’ have dealt with failure and they write about that. They write about how God changed their mindset, and it has been extremely helpful, to me.
Two days after Thanksgiving of last year I walked into a Borders bookstore to use a gift card. I generally do not read fiction, but walked in specifically looking for a fiction book to read. As I searched the shelves I came across The Count of Monte Cristo. They had two versions the abridged version roughly 300 pages and the unabridged version 1488 pages, I was feeling daring so I bought the unabridged version. Now six months later I have finished the book.
The book was great. There were moments where it may have dragged a little, but for the most part, I was engaged the whole time, especially the last 400 pages. The characters do change names and that got a little confusing, so I googled and printed a character list that I found online and that helped immensely.
When I finally had about 400 pages left, I remember saying to my wife almost done. When I said it I thought well that sounds strange. The books I find myself reading are usually between 250-350 pages, so to say with 400 pages left I am almost done, felt strange.
I think it was fitting that I read the unabridged version, since it is a book about perseverance, should I wimp out and by the shortened version, or persevere through the longer version. By persevering I also think I gained some arm strength, that book was heavy.
I will read more fiction, in fact right now I am reading The Ambler Warning by Robert Ludlum, and for awhile will continue reading or listening to Ludlum books. Ludlum is a great escape as I try and wade through Mere Christianity at the same time.
As I said in a previous post I am leading about 12 adults in reading and discussing Simple Church written by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. While the book does not discuss student ministry specifically, I think it has some great application for anyone working with students. Continue reading
I recently finished reading the book, Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson and am currently leading a group of 10-12 adults through a discussion of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found a lot of the information helpful. Instead of sharing thoughts about certain chapters I would like to share two thoughts I have after reading the book. Continue reading
I just finished an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone in ministry, it was called The Roots of Endurance by John Piper. Piper outlines the lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce; three men that endured for the Gospel in the face of adversity.
Before reading this book I had not heard of Charles Simeon but was encouraged after reading his story. It says a lot about a man who would stay at a church, where the people forced listeners to sit in the aisles while the pews remained empty. And to think that situation lasted 12 years and Simeon stayed for about 50 years at that church.
Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book,
A nominal Christian is content with proving the way of salvation by a crucified Redeemer. But the true Christian loves it, delights in it, glories in it, and shudders at the very thought of glorying in anything else… Let all your joys flow from the contemplation of his cross.