Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading a couple of good books. The first one is by an evangelist who happens to live in our neck of the woods, Bro. Casey Johnson. His book, Danger Zone: Falling from Within, is a really good read. Bro. Casey explores the dangers that we not only face in the church today, but he also exposes the dangers that we have created ourselves. He first talks about the danger of changing the character of God, minimizing the things we don't like about God and maximizing the things we do like. He talks about the power of the preacher in the pulpit. He says, "As goes the pulpit, so goes the people." We have become man-centered churches, rather than God-centered, and most of this is because pastors refuse to preach sound theology and doctrine from the pulpit. Instead they preach feel-good sermons, and they tickle the ears of attendees with happy, topical messages instead of preaching the full counsel of God...the Bible, cover to cover. He says plainly in his book, "The more our churches look like us, the more they fade into the world." Bro. Casey helps the reader to see the dangers that we face, and even created, in order to come back to the basics of the Bible. When we have a proper perspective we will see God as Creator, man as lost sinner, Christ as Savior, and the Church as Christ's bride.
Another great book is by Wayne Cordeiro. Leading on Empty is a good read for anyone, but especially for pastors and leaders. In the introduction, Cordeiro says, "We don't forget that we are Christians. We forget that we are human, and that one oversight alone can debilitate the potential of our future." In this book, Cordeiro helps pastors and leaders understand the damage that can take place when we continue to try and lead on empty. Pastors and leaders are driven to do so much, sometimes too much. What happens, though, when pastors and leaders burn out? What happens when pastors and leaders lose their passion? What happens when pastors and leaders continue to lead while burning out and losing passion? Cordeiro says, "Problems don't destroy you. Unresolved problems do." Pastors and leaders have to recognize the signs of burn out and depression, and the damage it can cause. And they have to do something about it. Cordeiro helps us recognize the problems we face in pastoring and leading, and he gives us a plan to do something about those problems. A final quote from his book is this: "Commitments to a preferred future do no come randomly. They are intentionally established at times when you are thinking clearly and are close to God." I believe all pastors and leaders should read this book, whether you are on the mountaintop of leadership or in the valley of leadership or anywhere in between.
If you are reading something worthwhile, please let me know the title, the author, and a little bit about it. I love reading and learning:)