How the Mighty Fall and Why some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins
If you have never read anything by Jim Collins do yourself a favour and read a book of his. They are well worth your time. How the Mighty Fall and Why some Companies Never Give In is a book where Collins and his team track why some companies who once were great fall out of greatness and into obscurity. He says there are 5 stages to this decline:
- Hubris Born of Success
- Undisciplined pursuit of more
- Denial of Risk and Peril
- Grasping for salvation
- Capitulation to Irrelevance or death
This is a great book to read for church workers or any other type of leader because it shows the fundamental in all declining organisations is arrogance and it also gives us little snapshots of how you get a company back on track. These lessons can be taken and used in the world of church or business with very little modification. Buy this book and read it!
Xealots: Defying the gravity of normality By Dave Gibbons
Xealtos are people who live by contrarian principles. Xealots are people who swim against the tide (pg. 10). In this book Dave Gibbons is calling Christians to be Xealots, to be people who shape culture who see their hurts and brokenness as gifts. Who seek to find Jesus’ way of being successful. Who live a naturally supernatural life.
This is a book which has a lot of touching and moving stories. When Gibbons goes into autobiographical mode you get a sense of the pain he has lived with and the change Christ has wrought in his life. Gibbons puts things in fresh and challenging ways which challenges you to think hard about your life in fresh ways. Chapter three on success is a welcome challenge to cast success in terms of what God deems to be successful.
But there are many flaws in this book. The biggest flaw is the lack of the gospel. Now, I am sure Gibbons believes the gospel but it is nowhere to be found in this book. His chapter on pain (chapter 4) is screaming out for a gospel resolution but instead we are told that we should let pain shape our lives. Now pain does shape our lives in profound ways but we should be more shaped by the gospel and its dealing with our pain then pain itself . The gospel is about the one who has taken pain for us and has won us a hope that one day we will be in a place where there is no more pain. That is the story about pain that should shape us. Gibbons’ chapter on the Holy Spirit (chapter 7) is woeful at best and his use of the scriptures a lot of the time leaves a lot to be desired.
In conclusion this is a book which is promising because we are all called to live radical lives for Jesus. But this book fails to deliver on giving us this great vision of the Christian life because it is not based on gospel as revealed in the bible.
Ignite: How to spark immediate growth in your church by Nelson Searcy
Nelson Searcy is a very gifted leader and strategist. He is always flooding my inbox, letting me know of his next coaching session or his next book or blog. This can get a little bit annoying. The other annoying thing that comes out is his sheer pragmatism. He is extremely pragmatic and there is very little deep theological thought put into anything he writes. But if you keep those things in mind and are able to read through those things his stuff is a goldmine of practical wisdom on how different aspects of your church can run. Ignite is about how to get your church evangelising their friends and bringing people who don’t know Jesus into your church. Searcy talks about planning big days where everyone invites at least one person along with, marketing , preaching and planning. There is a lot to take away from this book and fair bit to leave behind. But if you are able to carefully sift through this book and you have the discipline to implement the gold from this book you will find this book very rewarding!
Engage: A Guide to Creating Life Transforming Worship Services by Nelson Searcy
Yes another book by Nelson Searcy but I am learning a lot from him! The same criticisms that were levelled at Ignite apply here so I will not rehash them. Engage is a book which talks about how to put together your services in a way which is creative and planned. I was very challenged by this book to think about where we have what preaching series, how far out we plan our services and preaching schedules, practicing sermons before the day and evaluating the services. I will be implementing a lot of what I learnt here in the coming months at Resolved. This a great book for pastors of church and or congregations to read along with their worship pastors or music leaders. It will make you think of how to be more organised and as a result there will be a lot less stress and lot more room for creativity.
I want to read 50 books this year. So far I have read 4 and I have got 46 to go!