One thing about being sick is that you have plenty of time in bed to read. Which allowed me to catch up on the pile that has been building. If you are a voracious reader like me, you know the perils of the “too read pile”. Too many books, too little time. In full disclosure, these books were sent to me for the purpose of reading and reviewing, and while I received the books gratis this did not affect my opinions or review.
Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer
This is a short, but poignant read… which is right up my alley. I’ve read some articles by Rainer on this topic before, so I knew what I was walking into with this book. The first chapter title says it all “Are We as Welcoming as We Think We Are?” It is really easy to lose sight of the visitor in a church where everyone knows how things are done, what certain terms mean, and who everyone is.
If we want to be a welcoming church, we can’t just consider the people who walk in our doors already. Yes we want to make sure they continue to feel welcome in their church home, but we must not forget about our guests. The person who is trying to navigate around our campus, or the non-believer who is hearing the Gospel for the first time. Rainer does a great job of pointing out that friendly and welcoming are not the same thing, and also a matter of perception. A long term member is going to see things very differently than the person viewing the church from fresh eyes.
Walking us through various points to consider… from signage to website information… Rainer helps us to shift ourselves into the mind of those we are trying to reach, and ends the book with a chapter of practical application. I would recommend this book to church leaders, ministry leaders, organization leaders, as well as church plants.
The Dream of You by Jo Saxton
So let me tell you a little bit about my book keeping habits. I am VERY gentle with my books. I don’t break spines, or fold over covers. I am don’t dog ear corners, nor shove them carelessly in bags. I will only write in a book if it is an AMAZING book. Knowing this about me, the wear on the cover of this book should tell you immediately how I feel about this book.
This book took me a bit to get through. It was tough. I had to look some things square in the face. Lies I have believed about myself, moments where I wondered if what I was doing was of any value or worth, confusion about God’s calling on my life, etc. This book landed in my lap during a season of exhaustion where I wondered if I had any fight left in me. Why? Because my ministry work isn’t easy, isn’t always valued or appreciated, and there are times I have felt taken for granted. This book was like a hot cup of coffee on a day when I was dragging. I needed to read these words, they restored energy, and pointed me back to what was important.
It matters not what anyone things of me or my gifting. What matters is that I am a daughter of the King, who has been gifted a calling, and I trust in His provision and guidance as I walk obediently in it. It led to a sit down with my husband, a phone call that started a ministry partnership, and the Lord removed my doubt and grounded me in His promises.
I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female… leader or member.
Courageous Women of the Bible by Latan Roland Murphy
This was a great book for follow The Dream of You with because it took real women from the Scriptures to inspire courage and purpose. We see the parallels between the women of Biblical times and today. Murphy illustrates how courage advances us into opportunities that God has appointed for us. What I also really loved about this was how she helps us find our courage by identifying the source of it… which is obedience and trust/faith in God who is ordering our steps.
We learn from these women, how their past foraged the courage that led to their futures. Which serves as a prompting to our hearts that indeed our story is not over, and there is a good work being done in us. Helping us to rely on the power of God over the difficulty of our circumstances. The final chapter of the book includes journal prompts to help explore these stories deeper and apply them to our lives.
I would recommend this book for personal growth and self discovery, for your Women’s Ministry, Bible Studies, or as a gift to any woman in your life.
The Book of Mistakes by Skip Prichard
I was actually really excited to get this book and really disappointed by it. However, this could be a case of it being a matter of preference. The lessons that Prichard wants to teach through this book were woven into a fictional story format. As I began reading, I found that to be a turn off. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading fiction. I just don’t like my fiction mixed in with self improvement books. It was really hard for me to enjoy the book, and honestly I found myself skipping forward to get to the big points.
I agree with every point Prichard makes in this book about the mistakes that we make and how they impact our success. My problem was that none of his lessons were anything new or earth shattering, everything was something I had heard before. I pretty much drew the conclusion that this was a book that gathered well known points and packaged them in a new way. In that case, the style may actually appeal to a different kind of reader… the ones who don’t enjoy self improvement books. Maybe Prichard was gearing for a particular audience, a new audience… and I’m just not that person.
Overall, I just can’t recommend this book. I don’t think it is offering anything you couldn’t glean from an afternoon googling terms like “how to be a successful” or “mistakes to avoid for success”.