A New Testament Biblical Theology

G.K. Beale displays his understanding of the New Testament's storyline in his book, A New Testament Biblical Theology. Biblical scholars regularly dispute what the exact nature of "biblical theology" actually is. For example, is biblical theology an attempt to find the "center" of the Bible or the tracing of certain themes from beginning to end? Beale…

Bill Walsh’s Standard of Performance

Bill Walsh was the legendary coach of the San Fransisco 49ers in the 1980s. He took over a team that was previously 1-15 and in three years won a Super Bowl. The backbone of Walsh's success was his "Standard of Performance," his leadership principles. Bill Walsh assembled his leadership principles into 17 bullet points which…

Thriving Youth Groups

Jeanne Mayo wrote Thriving Youth Groups to record her process for establishing a friendship culture in the various Youth Ministries she has run in her career. She believes that building a culture of friendship is the key to growing a youth ministry. Students will not come back to the Youth Group if they are not accepted…

Sticky Leaders

Sticky Leaders is about how to change an existing organization. Most attempts to make changes fail (18). But many books don't talk about failure because it doesn't sell well. Plus, as Nassim Taleb has pointed out, we're all prone to the "survivor bias." We see those who've been successful and try to emulate them, not…

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Cal Newport contends that “following your passion” is bad advice. Why? Because many interesting careers have complicated origin stories (13). It’s not just, “Hey, I loved doing this, and then found the perfect job which matched my love. Often, people stumble into a field. Being passionate about often takes time and mastery  (17). Telling people…

Less Chaos. Less Noise.

Kem Meyer's book Less Chaos. Less Noise. teaches churches to communicate more effectively. Here are some reflections on the book. More choices does not mean more engagement. Response: dial back the volume (42). App: Send less emails, texts, etc. Make more phone calls! User experience is by far the best "advertisement" (52). App: Make things an awesome experience. Build culture of…

Sticky Teams

Larry Osborne wrote Sticky Teams to help pastors navigate the practical realities of leading, not just a spiritual organism, but also an organization. There's not much theology found in the book; it's a practical guide with seasoned wisdom sprinkled throughout. Model Don't Matter "Even the clearest vision, greatest innovations, and most stellar programs won't much of an…

It All Matters

"We can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not…

Digital Discipline

How much time do you spend on your phone? The answer may surprise you. From supposed "quick glances" to long hours scrolling through social media, mobile devices continue to grab people's attention. In his new book, Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport seeks to address the problems associated with having a life dominated by digital devices. The Problem:…

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

How does the church keep from being too inward focused? How does the church balance the big gatherings with smaller service initiatives? It's questions like these that Hugh Halter and Matt Smay seek to answer in their book And: The Gathered and Scattered Church. Halter and Smay don't want people to lose their love for the church,…