Friday, June 6, 2014

Recommended Summer Reading

We are almost one full week into June, which means this summer will be flying by as usual. Even in the midst of backyard cookouts, days at the pool and beach vacations it is always a great time to pick out a few good books to read. Many of my conversations of late have revolved around community and the biblical practice of "one anothering." The below list is one I am working through this summer, some for the first time and some as a reread, but if the topic of biblical community interests you then this is the list for you.

Fellowship among believers is more than just talking over coffee after church service. Biblical fellowship in New Testament times—or koinonia—had rich and varied meanings, including covenant relationship, partnership in the gospel, communion with God and others, and the sharing of earthly possessions.

2. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis 

We live in an increasingly post-Christian culture. More and more we find ourselves on the margins as less and less people have any intention of ever attending church. What used to work doesn’t work anymore and we need to adapt. Helping us to see the way forward, this book offers practical ideas and personal stories for engaging with Western society. Find out how to effectively reach people in the context of everyday life and take hold of the opportunity to develop missional communities focused on Jesus.

3. Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship by Alan Hirsch and Debra Hirsch

Discipleship is costly. Are we willing to critique and even challenge much we've been taught for the sake of the kingdom? For this is the radical nature of the discipleship to which Jesus calls us. He did not allow the outside culture to hold him captive; instead he established the kingdom of God and turned the world on its head. Jesus was untamed, and he calls his church to be the same.

In this provocative and compelling book, internationally known missiologists Alan and Debra Hirsch overthrow culturized understandings of theology and culture, and cast a vision for a distinctly mission-shaped way of living the Christian life. Written for any Christian serious about issue of discipleship, Untamed covers such topics as church, humans as bearers of the image of God, family life, culture, and sexuality. Through it all they seek to answer the question, how are we to think and live day to day as followers of Jesus?

4. Community: Where God Dwells by Eddy Leo 

Eddy Leo offers a rare glimpse of eternity before Creation to create a startling new picture of the purpose of community on earth. Building on Scripture from the Old to New Testaments, we see how God builds “His dwelling place” through the community of believers. 

5. Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World by JR Woodward 

In Creating a Missional Culture, JR Woodward offers a bold and surprisingly refreshing model for churches--not small adjustments around the periphery of a church's infrastructure but a radical revisioning of how a church ought to look, from its leadership structure to its mobilization of the laity. The end result looks surprisingly like the church that Jesus created and the apostles cultivated: a church not chasing the wind but rather going into the world and making disciples of Jesus.

6. The People of God: Empowering the Church to Make Disciples by Spence Shelton and Trevor Joy

People of God lays out the theology and practice of community. Authors Spence Shelton and Trevor Joy seek to show why community is central to the Christian life, and how to practice it in the 21st century church. Whether you are a pastor or a volunteer leader, People of God aims to equip and encourage congregations as they build a culture of discipleship in the life of their church. 

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