6 Books Every Christian Leader Should Read

There are tons of books on Christian leadership! Some good. Some bad. Below are a few unconventional books that I think every Christian leader should read. Four are novels and two are biographical. None of them are intended to be leadership books. But I often find myself recommending them to leaders.

Here they are:
  1. Silence by Shusaku Endo
  2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  3. The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos
  4. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  5. The Authobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
  6. Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt
These books deal with personal sacrifice and depth of conviction. Why is this important? Because good leaders are aware of the sacrifices they are making and why.

They are stories of leaders with a story to share–and their success or failure of effectively sharing their story. Why is this important? Because establishing a compelling narrative is what all great leaders do.

These books challenge assumptions often made within western dominant culture and western Christianity. Why is this important? Because effective leaders are aware of the limitations of their worldview and that not everyone shares theirs.

But, possibly most important, these books provide an imagination for what it looks like to lead–which is often more important than information on how to lead.

And, yes, I think it's worth considering what a rabbit named Hazel would do if he were in your situation.

What books would you recommend to Christian leaders?

A New Thing | a new blog series

I had a lot of fun writing the "Liturgy for Lent" series with Mike Angell. So, I've decided to do another one! I'm launching a new blog series today called, "A New Thing." It's spring time. We just celebrated new life in Jesus' resurrection this Easter Sunday. Seems an appropriate time for a series with this title.

I'm also involved in a new thing, a faith community. Over the last couple of years, I've come to know Kevin Lum, founding pastor of The Table–a young church here in DC. I've linked up with The Table on Sunday nights to be a part of their second plant in the DC Northwest. This doesn't change anything with my work, which I absolutely love. But I thoroughly enjoy helping out with birthing new faith communities and I'm happy to volunteer my time on Sunday evenings. In fact, I'm preaching this Sunday night at 6pm. Come join us if you're free.

It was almost two decades ago that I got involved in church planting (dang, I'm old). Since then I've been involved in lots of "new things" (new positions, new offices, new ventures, etc.) But one can never start learning about start-up skills. A lot has changed in me, in the Church and in our culture since I got started. I want to keep learning. That's part of why I'm working with Kevin–I want to continue learning from young leaders doing excellent work.

I’m fascinated by those with an entrepreneurial spirit, their work and how they get things done. For example, I really enjoy the "How I Work" series on Lifehacker. Because of that, I decided to do a series that riffs off of this. I will be profiling creators, innovators, entrepreneurs–those that are working on new enterprises that I want to learn from. I have conversations like these all the time but I thought it would be good to start documenting and sharing those here. My hope is that you'll find this useful as well–I hope you can draw from their ideas and practices in starting new expressions of the Kingdom yourself. There's never too many people stirring up Jesus-like mischief!

3 Questions ...

An article I wrote about getting to know the neighbors around your church was just published over at the EDOW site. Check it out and let me know what you think:
"During the summer of 2013, I met with four parishes near Dupont Circle to start an experiment in getting to know their neighborhood. Like many of our congregations, these parishes had been nestled in their neighborhoods for over a century. While these congregations continued worshipping together, rooted in an age-old tradition, the communities outside their doors had changed dramatically!

In preparing for our time together, they realized that too many of them were not in touch with the realities of their neighborhood. No longer did they know the influencers, local business owners or officers patrolling their streets. They realized they couldn’t proclaim or celebrate what God was doing in their communities until they did something new. So, they did. They joined me on a walk."
Read the rest.


Today, the EDOW Young Adults Office (that's my office) launched a new project called Toast!

Toast is a weekly e-mail publication. It's all about sparking imagination for the Christian way. It will be practical and brief. It will profile a wide variety of young Christian leaders, innovators and provocateurs.

Every Monday morning.

Today, we sent out the first!

You can sign up here, like Toast on Facebook and follow on Twitter.