Over the past few months I’ve read a few books and tuned into a couple of podcasts, which I’ve found challenging both in my personal pursuit of Jesus and in my approach to church planting. Hopefully you’ll find the following resources helpful too.
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt. This book is as challenging as the title sounds. After having some time to reflect on this, I believe it’s the most practically challenging and convicting book I’ve read in the past decade. I realize that much of what David Platt writes does sound very radical- but no more radical than anything Jesus says to would be disciples. I think every person who is serious about following Jesus and joining His mission to this world should buy and read this book… then ask for the grace to live it out. On a side note: I met David on a trip to S.E. Asia this past October. I can honestly say after being around him for a few days, that he is the real deal. That’s why I decided to pick up the book.
The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. A couple of friends have recommend this author and now I can see why. He cuts to the heart of who Jesus is and what it means to know and follow Him. Manning definitely does not come from the “normal” evangelical background as a former Franciscan priest and recovering alcoholic. His approach to contemplative spirituality sometimes perplexes me, but I enjoy reading authors who come from a different perspective and challenge my preconceived notion. This quote provides a good glimpse of what’s inside this book: “Littered along the Calvary road will lie the skeletons of our egos, the corpses of our fantasies of control, and the shards of self-righteousness, self-indulgent spirituality, and unfreedom.” (p. 9)
Launching Missional Communities: A Field Guide by Mike Breen and Alex Absalom. As I began praying through the idea of starting a church that functions as a network of Home Fellowships serving the Burlington community, I knew I was not the first person to have an idea like this. After doing some research, I discovered these guys who had taken a similar approach in Sheffield, England, with both an established church and a church plant. If you’re considering a similar approach to ministry and/or church planting, you’ll learn a lot from their experiences and insights.
GodPod by St. Timothy’s Theological Center in London, England. My brother Brian who’s a Phd student at Cambridge clued me into this podcast. Every week they address questions from listeners, and they don’t shy away from the challenging or controversial ones. I don’t always 100% agree with every answer, but they challenge me to think through what I believe and why. The British accents don’t hurt either- for some reason the Brits just sound more intellectual and witty.
Timothy Keller Podcast – pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Keller knows how to exegete the scriptures and understands post-Christian culture. The proof is not only in his sermons but the impact Redeemer Church is having through church-planting, serving the city, and influencing the Manhattan culture. I’ve gotten a little tired of Christian rock-star pseudo scholars asking lots of questions and giving fuzzy convoluted answers. You won’t get that with Tim Keller.
The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast– pastor of NorthPoint Community Church in Atlanta, GA. I think Andy Stanley is one of the best communicators I’ve ever heard and he gets organizational leadership.
This video has no true spiritual or ministry value. I just found it funny. Although I generally don’t make fun of other pastors, I sometimes make exceptions for Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn. Enjoy!