Six Books for Every Pastor

Joel J. Miller posted recently on "Six Books for Every Pastor." Before you click on the link to read his post, take a minute: what books would you expect to be on the list?

I bet you're wrong.

It might also be interesting to compare my post, "Key Books for a Man or Woman Entering Ministry" or my "Ten Most Influential Books on Leading and Pastoring."

You Lost Me

If you love the church....
If you are in ministry of any kind (pastor, leader, parachurch leader, etc.)...
If you have children or grandchildren...
If you love God, and those he loves...
then David Kinnaman's You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church...and Rethinking Faith is an absolute must-read.

Based on new research conducted by the Barna Group, You Lost Me identifies three kinds of young people who are leaving the church in droves--Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles--and shares in careful, insightful detail six reasons they are leaving. But the book is not all diagnosis; it is also prescriptive, suggesting ways the church and her leaders can address those disconnections by making new "reconnections."

I found myself repeatedly saying "amen" and frequently highlighting passages. There is just too much important, critical, indispensable information and perspective even to give a sampling; it just wouldn't do it justice. But this single line from chapter two sets the tone for the whole book (and is supported by much that follows after): "We have to find new processes--a new mind--that make sense of faith in our new reality."

And these lines, which are offered by contributor Michael DiMarco in the final chapter, "Fifty Ideas to Find A Generation":
Most Christian organizations create a culture that dissuades confession. We create codes of conduct for youth that we either don't live by or strive to live without confessing our failures. All this does is create a dissonance that eventually deconstructs Instead of policies that help sinners rebound, we create communities that isolate sinners, either from the community by expulsion or within themselves because they have to keep sin hidden (leading a double life). Honor codes essentially become "don't ask, don't tell" documents--it's no wonder so many churched young adults leave the church!
You Lost Me is a clarion call for the church. It is a prescription for healing. For recovery. For sanity. I pray it is one the church will take.

Church of the Week: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Milwaukee, WI

Yesterday was Easter among our Orthodox brothers and sisters, and especially since my nephew David (and his handsome son, Isaac, who is at center in photos 5 & 6 as you scroll down) is pictured repeatedly in the photo essay on the Wright in Racine blog, I thought it fitting to present Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee (a Frank Lloyd Wright design) as the Church of the Week. Seriously, check out Mark Hertzberg's whole post; it's beautiful.

Symbols and Idols

"Churches are filled with symbols: crosses, liturgies, music, clergy, and even the building itself can appropriately symbolize our true worship of Yahweh. But the moment we "need" any one of them, they have lost their symbolic value and have become idols" (M. Craig Barnes, The Pastor as Minor Poet, p. 68).