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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Seven good reads about church and leadership

There are lots of great books on leadership and church. We’ve picked seven that engage with the challenges on our hearts.

1. Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Inter-Varsity Press, 2015).

This is a helpful guide to the process of addressing the culture in a local church. The writer is clear that the role of church leadership is to see God’s people released for mission. The book explores how to lead in a way that reflects the changed expectations that this implies.

2. Jeannine K. Brown, Carla M. Dahl, Wyndy Corbin Reuschling, Becoming Whole and Holy: An Integrative Conversation about Christian Formation (Baker Academic, 2011).

How does formation happen and what does that mean for the way we live? It’s easy for us to encourage Christian growth without rooting it in the choices we make every day of our lives, especially those decisions we face when we are not in ‘spiritual’ mode. Bringing together the fruit of three disciplines, social sciences, biblical studies, and ethics, the conversation demonstrates how spiritual formation does embrace the whole of our lives.

3. Greg Forster, Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It (Crossway Books, 2014).

The title can sound like a nostalgic, angry plea for Christendom, but it is far from that. The sacred-secular divide that plagues so much of our thinking can be addressed with the joy that comes from a whole life gospel. Offering doctrinal foundations along with cultural insight that works through into everyday life, this is a book that would be of real help to a church wondering how everything can fit together for the glory of God.

4. Michael W. Goheen, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story (Baker Academic, 2011).

A great overview of the story of the Bible as God’s mission to bless all nations, a plan which comes to its culmination in Christ, helping us see that God’s mission is the lens through which we read Scripture and understand the place of the church in the world.

5. Tisha Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary (Inter-Varsity Press, 2016).

If we are going to encourage one another to live as whole-life disciples, we need to make sure we do not remain in the realm of the abstract. People need to see how our lives as disciples affect the way we deal with emails, lost keys, the tyranny of deadlines, family demands and work targets. This encouraging, insightful book does just that.

6. Timothy Keller, Shaped by the Gospel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016); Loving the City (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016); Serving a Movement (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016).

Originally published in one volume as Center Church, Keller’s vision is articulated around three core commitments, reflected in the titles of these volumes: gospel (proclaiming the gospel and its implications for the whole of life); city (exercising wisdom in how we contextualise the message, neither overadapting nor underadapting to culture); movement (the church engaging in mission as both ‘institution’ and ‘organism’, rooted in tradition and reaching out through its members).

7. J Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014).

This provides a grand sweep of the Biblical story that will underpin any church’s desire to create whole life disciples. It will be of particular help to preachers who want to know how to root out practice in life-giving theology.

And if you haven’t yet read Neil Hudson’s Imagine Church check it out!