Here are some books I had the privilege of reading this past month and some brief thoughts about each one.
#1 – Oversee God’s People: Shepherding the Flock Through Administration and Delegation by Brian Croft and Bryce Butler (published by Zondervan, 2015). This is the 1st of books in the Practical Shepherding Series I have read. If you read Croft’s blog, you know he excels at giving practical wisdom to pastors and churches on a host of questions you rarely read about it other books. This book is like that blog – full of application, clear, and biblical. The primary focus is on the “business” side of running a church. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#2 – Eldership in Action Through Biblical Governance of the Church by Richard H. Swartley (published by Emmaus College Press, 2005). If you have read Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership, this is as close to a sequel as there is available. If you have not read Strauch’s book, read that one first. What you will find in this book is more details on how to conduct elder meetings, descriptions of elder functions and titles, planning, delegating, decision-making, etc. While the book doesn’t read like a manual for “how to be a faithful elder”, it still has value for those elders wanting to be very specific in how they learn how to govern and shepherd. BOOK RATING: 9 out of 10 stars.
#3 – What Happened in the Garden: The Reality and Ramifications of the Creation and Fall of Man edited by Abner Chou (published by Kregel Academic, 2016). I can’t imagine reading another book with more insights from Genesis 3 than this one. Every chapter looks at the ramifications of sin from a different perspective – how sin effected human enterprise, thermodynamics, psychology and counseling, gender discussions, and education. It’s a book for the well-rounded person who enjoys science, history, and theology. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.
#4 – Prepare Them to Shepherd: Test, Train, and Send the Next Generation of Pastors by Brian Croft (published by Zondervan, 2014). This is the 2nd of books in the Practical Shepherding Series I have read. This is a helpful resource for pastors and elder teams looking for practical help on how to train up the men in their church for leadership and potentially full-time vocational ministry. Like Croft is elsewhere, you will not run out of “how to’s” in this book. As brief as the book is (109 pages), you won’t have many questions about training and calling that go unanswered. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#5 – 7 Women and the Secret of the Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (published by Nelson, 2015). If you have not read Metaxas, you are in for a treat. This modern-day historian has already written “must reads” on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. Now, enjoy these shorts bios on these 7 women: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris (I had never heard of her), Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa. Keep in mind: these are biographies and not theological endorsements. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#6 – 7 Men and the Secret of the Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (published by Nelson, 2015). Another classic work by this author! You will enjoy reading the short biographies of George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson. With the exception of his lauding of the Pope as a Christian, I thoroughly enjoyed these surveys of impactful men. I would even recommend this as a resource for churches looking to encourage manhood. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.