Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | July 9, 2013

How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor – Steve R. Bierly

It’s not often that you read a book and think: “This guy understands my world”. But this is one of those books. Steve R. Bierly has experience pastoring the small church. He knows what it is like. He knows the hardships and the joys.9780310877554

A lot of what he has to say is addressed to the “small-churchaholic”. This is his description of those who are being consumed by their small church which they serve. He walks through some of the dangers and hardships but also gives some good ideas as to how to learn to enjoy the journey in the small church.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

p. 63 “We’ve got to start implementing strategies that are designed with the small church in mind.”

p. 64 “We need to help pastors turn a 102-member church into a 112-member church. If this consistent growth, however small, where to happen in thousands of churches, it would revolutionize the body of Christ.”

p. 116 “God remembers what many small-churchaholics often forget. What seems do be depression, or spiritual warfare, or a moment of crisis, is sometimes just common symptoms of a person who has been on the go too long without rest or refreshment.”

I would encourage you to pick it up. You will enjoy it.

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Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | March 14, 2013

Breakfast With Fred – Fred Smith, Sr.

Every once in a while you stumble across an author who “just makes sense”. It’s been quite a few years since I first encountered Fred Smith in the pages of Leadership Journal, but ever since I, have latched on to anything he has written because he possesses an uncommon measure of godly common sense – aka wisdom. The thoughtful reader cannot help but be encouraged, challenged, and spiritually strengthened by reading and reflecting on the insights of this godly man.
What makes this book unique is the interaction between the author and 52 other leaders who respond to the essays he has written on a variety of subjects. The value of this is that whether thinking about “The Value of Heroes”, or “The Art of Criticism”, or “Tribulation`s Payday”, or any of the other forty-nine topics, readers get at least two perspectives to mull over which will enrich their own thinking.
This book isn’t designed to be read from cover to cover in one sitting. Rather, it is meant to be dipped into (once a week would work well) and thought about – with the goal of producing change in the reader’s life. If you don’t mind being mentored through the medium of print, this book – and anything else that Fred Smith writes – might work well for you. I know that I have profitted from the insights he has to share.
Breakfast With Fred is available on Amazon for $12.

Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | January 18, 2013

Choosing to Cheat – Who Wins When Family and Work Collide – Andy Stanley

In Choosing to Cheat, Andy Stanley has written a primer about how to create a win
when you are feeling the tug-of-war between your family and your work. In the first
section of the book, Andy makes the point that everybody cheats – somewhere. And
he goes on to make a case for choosing to cheat in ways that actually add value to
your life by reinforcing and supporting the principles and values taught by Scripture.
And that is what the second section “Cheating by the Book”, focuses on.
“We are never called to violate the principles of God in order to attain or maintain
the blessings of God.”  Both work and marriage/famly were ordained by God and
both have an incredibly important place in our lives. But at the end of the day, family
must trump work. Our family and our marriage are our “only unique responsibility”,
Andy says. At work and in the marketplace we are expendable. Someone else can
(easily) take our place. But at home our role is unique. We are the only father or
mother our children will ever have and the health of our marriage determines the
environment in which our children live and grow up. In choosing to put our marriage
and family first, we are actually making a spiritual decision and we are bringing our
priorities into line with those of our heavenly Father.
Some may wonder about the author’s use of the idea of cheating. He does, however,
define his terms and make his case in a compelling and thought-provoking way. His
insights are challenging and stimulating and will be helpful for anyone seeking to live a
life that more and more lines up with what God desires for our lives.
Choosing to Cheat comes with a study guide and can be purchased from CBD for $8.49.
Submitted by Paul R. Warnock
Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | June 30, 2012

RURAL CONGREGATIONAL STUDIES – A Guide for Good Shepherds (Jung/Agria)

I just completed working through RURAL CONGREGATIONAL STUDIES – A Guide for Good Shepherds (Jung/Agria) For one serious about understanding rural church context this book is extremely helpful – It is a source book that focuses on:

(1) Exploring the features of the rural context
(2) Analysis of the activities of a rural congregation
(3) The identity of a church is uncovered through mapping out its distinctive characteristics
(4) The processes of rural congregations are discussed to improve decision making and leadership skills.
After each principle is introduced, excellent examples and case studies are shared that allow the reader to see each principle in action…. helpful questions at the end of each section are provided leading the reader into deeper reflection. The book can be ordered on amazon – published by Abingdon Press

Tim Beadle

Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | December 1, 2011

Book: The Tangible Kingdom

I highly recommend reading “The Tangible Kingdom” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. The authors do a great job of showing how we need to be more intentional about “being” the church, bringing the kingdom of God to reality in the people and communities we live in. While not written from a rural church setting, it is also not a big church setting. They actually have something more along the lines of a house church. But the point is, they recognize that we need to live our lives in connection with people who don’t yet know Jesus and bring the kingdom of God to a reality in their lives. A great read!

Posted by: thinkingoutsidethetextbox | July 14, 2011

Share your favorite book with us.

I love books! I like learning from what I read. With a book you can underline, highlight, or comment on what you are reading. You can go back to it again and again. And you can apply the things you like and even argue with the author without thought of offending him.

Maybe you have come across a good book. Why not give us a brief description of the book. Tell us what you thought of it. How did it help you? What was the main theme of the book? Keep your review brief enough to read through quickly, long enough to give us the gist of the book.

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