The Foursquare Church
This review was written by The Foursquare Church and last updated on February 9, 2011
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The writers and developers of the MAP put their heads together and came up with a list of books to help you when working through the MAP. Each of these books is accompanied by a short summary written by a member of the MAP development team.
An Army of Ordinary People by Felecity Dale
This book is an encouraging collection of stories of people who find themselves experiencing a "simple" expression of being the church. It is an important read for those exploring the Simple Church model.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
This book takes a balanced look at the spiritual disciplines including some we often omit such as the disciplines of simplicity and solitude. It is an invitation into spiritually deep places accompanied by the practical aspects that are a part of living them out.
The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West ... Again by George Hunter
This book is the simplest explanation of my philosophy of evangelism. It's not so much about getting people to "make decisions" for Christ, as much as it is about introducing people to the gospel while preserving the relevant culture. In other words, most people have to belong before they can believe. Hunter tells the story of how Saint Patrick won the Irish to Christ while utilizing methods that kept both the existing culture and the essential message intact without doing unnecessary damage to either.
Church Planting: Laying Foundations by Stuart Murray
This book lays a theological foundation for church planting set within the framework of the kingdom of God. It has a strong emphasis on the connection between church planting and the mission of God.
Cultivating a Life for God by Neil Cole
This is Neil Cole's explanation of the basic building blocks for organic church. It contains foundational concepts for making disciples; connecting with God in His Word, connecting with one another through authenticity and connecting with those in our circle of influence or our field of assignment with prayer as the first step. You may not adopt his method, but there is no way around the principles laid down here.
Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within by Robert Quinn
Quinn's premise is this: Choose slow death or deep change. There are no easy in-between options. I am a leadership book junkie, and have read literally hundreds of books on management and leadership. This is one of the best because the author addresses the personal and emotional factors involved in leading effectively. This book will challenge you and scare you.
Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell
This book is foundational for the leader to understand and develop his or her ability to relate to each person uniquely. It gives great insight of the quality's of a good leader and the lifetime process of growth in becoming all a leader can be.An example would be the contrast between "positional leadership" and "permissional leadership" One being a leadership based on authority and the latter being based on a leader's relationship with the person.
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
According to Scott, Life is relationships and relationships are experienced one conversation at a time. This book offers practical methods for approaching communication challenges and handling conflict resolution. It asks hard hitting questions like, "What are you pretending not to know?" and "What gaps exist between what you say you value and the behaviors you choose?"
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
This is one of the most influential books on leadership of the past couple decades. It answers the question: How do organizations grow, learn and change? Senge introduces the idea of "systems thinking" which helps one think about the context in which problems and their answers emerge. This book is indispensable to anyone running an organization.
Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin H. Friedman
This one will take some effort and time to get through. It is well-worth the effort though. I have read oodles of books on church and family issues, but none of them comes close to this one when it comes to shedding light on why people act the way they do. His premise is simple but profound, especially for pastors: We are involved in three distinct families whose emotional forces interlock: the families within the congregation, our congregations and our own. Because the emotional process in all of these systems is identical, unresolved issues in any one of them can produce symptoms in the other and increased understanding of any one creates more effective functioning in all three. This should be required reading for anyone entering the ministry.
The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George E. Ladd
This is my favorite New Testament theology book. This short book gives the reader a lens through which to see and put in perspective the entire New Testament.
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Another short book that packs a wallop. It is impossible to explain in few words what this book conveys. I have purchased two large boxes and given them to every pastor I know. I have read it through every year for the last five years.
Leadership Coaching by Tony Stolzfus
This book takes an in-depth look at healthy coaching principles with some significant insights into things like the difference between questions that are designed to diagnose and therefore fix something and those designed out of genuine curiosity.
Leading Change: Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom by James O'Toole
How do you lead people when there are so many competing demands on their lives? This is the question that O'Toole addresses. His answers are compelling and unintentionally Christian.
Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner by George Conner
This devotional-style book is an anthology of Frederick Buechner's best work. Buechner is one of my favorite writers because he is so honest about the difficulties of being a Christian and yet so encouraging at the same time. He is recognized by both sacred and secular readers as being a brilliant novelist and essayist. I have read this book through at least four times and it still moves me. His analogies comparing faith and art are especially insightful. I recommend this book because any spiritual leader who won't face the ambiguities of faith will do more harm than good.
Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness by Jerry Cook
This book offers foundational values for pastors. It teaches that we should highly value every person and to have the heart of Jesus in receiving people into church fellowships.
The Making of a Leader by Robert Clinton
This is a book for going deeper into the "Focused Living" concept. It looks at life's developmental seasons from a ministry perspective and identifies critical learning opportunities along the way. It's for those who are interested in taking these principles to the next level, perhaps someone more seasoned in ministry.
Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy by Viktor E. Frankl
This is the best book you can read on the importance and power of choosing your attitude. Frankl writes about his experiences in the Nazi death camps and the life-changing insights he gleaned. He writes as a psychologist but the book reads more like a reflective memoir. This is a book that is short and easy to read, but stays with you for a long time. It is the perfect prescription for anyone feeling powerless and without choices.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The most thoughtful and yet simplest book written in the 20th century on why it makes sense intellectually to believe in Jesus.
Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Openness by Clark Pinnock
Respected evangelical author Clark Pinnock believes that much of our understanding of God's nature is a derivation of Greek philosophy rather than Biblical teaching. His book is controversial and extremely interesting. I have every book he's written, and this one's the best.
Principle Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey
This book is full of ideas about leadership development. It gives clear and specific definition to the term character with insightful discussion about integrity, maturity and generosity. It also explores some concrete ways of setting goals in light of our roles, living from the inside-out, methods of influence, how to come to win/win agreements, and much more.
Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success by Ralph Moore
This book is a straight-forward "how to" with lots of practical pointers about vision, values, team, initial steps, etc. It would be especially helpful for anyone who has not experienced the CPI training events.
Trilogy by Mike Perkinson and Tom Johnston
This book is a great introductory book in New Testament theology and an insightful study of Jesus' rabbinical style of leadership. It delves into the contrast between "doing church" and "being church." This is again foundational to the success of a planter because it delivers the planter from following a "model driven" way of planting and places the emphasis on relationships building and life on life mentoring, like Jesus!
Under the Unpredictable Plant by Eugene H. Peterson
This book is about a journey into the growing chasm between a passion to love God whole-heartedly and the competing expectations of the pastoral role. A couple of the issues explored are consumerism in Christendom and the bottom line performance required by the institutional bureaucracy.
How to get these resources
These resources can be found online or at your local retailer.