Recommended Reading

Listed here are some resources which we highly recommend for pastors, wives, and ministry leaders.

Burnout:

Mad Church Disease

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic

Growing up the daughter of a pastor, Anne Jackson experienced firsthand the conflict, stress, and struggle church leaders often face.

She vowed her life in ministry would be different.

Yet, years later, as a church leader, she was hospitalized because stress began wreaking havoc on her body.

After being released from the hospital, an associate pastor asked her, “Does working at this church interfere with your communion with Christ?”

The question was paramount in turning her life around.

Thinking she wasn’t alone, Anne developed a website that allowed church leaders to share their struggles.

Within a few days, she was flooded with over a thousand responses from people pouring out their stories of burnout.

Using anecdotal parallels between Mad Cow Disease and leadership trends in the church, she writes not only to help us realize what church leaders are facing, but also to provide practical and positive treatment plans.

Mad Church Disease is a lively, informative, and potentially life-saving resource for anyone in ministry–vocational or volunteer–who would like to understand, prevent, or treat the epidemic of burnout in church culture.

Leading on Empty

Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion

Wayne Cordeiro found himself paralyzed by burnout. He had been in ministry for 30 years, and 10 years after founding what is now the largest church in Hawaii, he found himself depleted. Wayne took a season out of his growing ministry to recharge and refocus on the truly important. He was able to get back in touch with his life, get back in proper balance, and re-energize his spirit through Christ in a way that propelled him forward to greater levels of service. Wayne first gave this message at a recent Willow Creek Leadership Summit, where it was the highest-rated presentation by those in attendance.

Pulling no punches, Wayne talks about the walls leaders must break through and how to move on with integrity. Included are ways to care for oneself physically and emotionally as well as spiritually.

Margin

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.

Boundaries

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Boundaries for Leaders

Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge

In Boundaries for Leaders, clinical psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud leverages his expertise of human behavior, neuroscience, and business leadership to explain how the best leaders set boundaries within their organizations–with their teams and with themselves–to improve performance and increase employee and customer satisfaction.

In a voice that is motivating and inspiring, Dr. Cloud offers practical advice on how to manage teams, coach direct reports, and instill an organization with strong values and culture.

Boundaries for Leaders: Take Charge of Your Business, Your Team, and Your Life is essential reading for executives and aspiring leaders who want to create successful companies with satisfied employees and customers, while becoming more resilient leaders themselves.

Preventing Ministry Failure

Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors,Ministers and Other Caregivers

Great ministers don’t just happen.

Great falls from ministry don’t just happen either. A complex mix of factors both internal and external test the limits of your ability to minister wholeheartedly over the long haul.

Senior pastor Brad Hoffmann and licensed professional counselor Michael Todd Wilson work with pastors removed from their place of service. The common experiences of these pastors revealed patterns that consistently contributed to burnout, ineffectiveness and moral failure. If such patterns can be predicted, the authors reasoned, can they be

is a personal guidebook for pastors and other caregivers to prepare them to withstand common pressures and to flourish in the ministry God has called them to. Work through the exercises and reflections individually or in conversation with your peers, and you’ll find yourself better equipped for the challenges of vocational ministry, and more conscious of the presence of God leading you on and restoring your soul.

The Rest of God

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath

Widely-acclaimed author Mark Buchanan states that what weve really lost is the rest of God-the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness. Stillness as a virtue is a foreign concept in our society, but there is wisdom in Gods own rhythm of work and rest. Jesus practiced Sabbath among those who had turned it into a dismal thing, a day for murmuring and finger-wagging, and He reminded them of the days true purpose: liberation-to heal, to feed, to rescue, to celebrate, to lavish and relish life abundant.

With this book, Buchanan reminds us of this and gives practical advice for restoring the sabbath in our lives.

Personal Spiritual Growth:

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature

Peter Scazzero learned the hard way: you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Even though he was a pastor of a growing church, he did what most people do:

Avoid conflict in the name of Christianity
Ignore his anger, sadness, and fear
Use God to run from God
Live without boundaries
Eventually God awakened him to a biblical integration of emotional health, a relationship with Jesus, and the classic practices of contemplative spirituality. It created nothing short of a spiritual revolution, utterly transforming him and his church.

In this best-selling book Scazzero outlines his journey and the signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. Then he provides seven biblical, reality-tested ways to break through to the revolutionary life Christ meant for you. “The combination of emotional health and contemplative spirituality,” he says, “unleashes the Holy Spirit inside us so that we might experientially know the power of an authentic life in Christ.”

Emotionally Healthy Leader

The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World

Do you feel too overwhelmed to enjoy life, unable to sort out the demands on your time?

Are you doing your best work as a leader, yet not making an impact?

Have you ever felt stuck, powerless to change your environment?

In The Emotionally Healthy Leader, bestselling author Peter Scazzero shows leaders how to develop a deep, inner life with Christ, examining its profound implications for surviving stress, planning and decision making, building teams, creating healthy culture, influencing others, and much more.

Going beyond simply offering a quick fix or new technique, The Emotionally Healthy Leader gets to the core, beneath-the-surface issues of uniquely Christian leadership. This book is more than a book you will read; it is a resource you will come back to over and over again.

Search for Significance

The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through Gods Eyes

Robert McGees best-selling book has helped millions of readers learn how to be free to enjoy Christs love while no longer basing their self-worth on their accomplishments or the opinions of others. In fact, Billy Graham said that it was a book that should be read by every Christian.

In this re-launch of this timeless classic you will:

Gain new skills for getting off the performance treadmill
Discover how four false beliefs have negatively impacted your life
Learn how to overcome obstacles that prevent you from experiencing the truth that your self-worth is found only in the love, acceptance, and forgiveness of Christ
Discover what two million readers have already discovered: that true significance is found only in Christ.

Abba’s Child

Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

We’ve bought into the lie that we are worthy of God’s love only when our lives are going well. If our families are happy or our jobs are meaningful, life is a success. But when life begins to fall through the cracks and embarrassing sins threaten to reveal our less-than-perfect identity, we scramble to keep up a good front to present to the world—and to God. We hide until we can rearrange the mask of perfection. Sadly, it is then that we wonder why we lack intimate relationships and a passionate faith.

All this time God is calling us to take the mask off and come openly to Him. He longs for us to know in the depth of our beings that He loves us and accepts us as we are. When we are our true selves, we can finally claim our identity as God’s child—Abba’s child—and experience His pure pleasure in who we are. Brennan Manning encourages us to let go of the impostor lifestyle and freely accept our belovedness as a child of the heavenly Father. In Him there is life.

Devotional Classics

Devotional Classics: Revised Edition: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups

Devotional Classics: Revised Edition is an updated and expanded edition of Renovaré’s companion to the devotional life. Edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, this version incorporates all six traditions, or “streams,” that comprise a healthy and holistic life of Christian faith. The fifty-two selections in Devotional Classics have been organized to introduce the reader to the great Christian devotional writers over the course of one year, through an introduction and meditation by Foster, a related biblical passage, discussion questions, and individual and group exercises. Devotional Classics is indispensable for those looking for a deeper and more balanced spiritual life.

Strengthening The Soul Of Your Leadership

Strengthening The Soul Of Your Leadership

“I’m tired of helping others enjoy God.” “I just want to enjoy God for myself.” With this painful admission, Ruth Haley Barton invites us to an honest exploration of what happens when spiritual leaders lose track of their souls. Weaving together contemporary illustrations with perceptive insight from the life of Moses, Barton explores topics such as facing the loneliness of leadership, leading from your authentic self, reenvisioning the promised land and more.

Praying the Names of God

Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

A twenty-six-week devotional study by the bestselling coauthor of Women of the Bible. Names in the ancient world did more than simply distinguish one person from another, they often conveyed the essential nature and character of a person. This is especially true when it comes to the names of God recorded in the Bible. Praying the Names of God explores the primary names and titles of God in the Old Testament to reveal the deeper meanings behind them. El Shadday, Elohim, Adonay, Abba, El Elyon—God Almighty, Mighty Creator, Lord, Father, God Most High—these are just a few of the names and titles of God that yield rich insights into his nature and character. Praying the Names of God shows readers how to study and pray God’s names by focusing each week on one of the primary names or titles of God. • Monday—readers study a portion of Scripture that reveals the name. • Tuesday–Thursday—readers pray specific Scripture passages related to the name. • Friday—readers pray Scripture promises connected to the name. By incorporating the divine names and titles into their prayers—and learning about the biblical context in which the name was revealed—readers will gain a more intimate understanding of who God is and how he can be relied on in every circumstance of their lives. Praying the Names of God is a unique devotional, one that offers a rich program of daily prayer and study designed to lead people into fresh encounters with the living God.

Praying the Names of Jesus

Praying the Names of Jesus: A Daily Guide

Joy, peace, and power―these are only some of the gifts promised to those who trust in the name of the Lord. Praying the Names of Jesus will lead you into a richer and more rewarding relationship with Christ by helping you to understand and to pray his names on a daily basis. Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Bread of Life, Immanuel … through his names and titles you will come to understand more fully how Jesus reveals God’s heart to you. Praying the Names of Jesus focuses on twenty-six of Jesus’ most prominent names and titles to provide six months’ worth of devotions. Each week provides a unique devotional program designed for personal prayer and study or for use in small groups. Praying the Names of Jesus is the companion volume to the bestselling Praying the Names of God. In ways both surprising and profound, it reveals a rich portrait of Jesus that can move you toward a deeper experience of his goodness and love.

Sacred Pathways

Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God

Some Christians effortlessly spend hours in contemplative prayer. Just being around them makes you wish you were that way. Or maybe you are that way, but others are far better at showing God’s love in practical ways or courageously standing up for God’s kingdom. Why can’t you be like them? Maybe you weren’t designed to be. In this revised and updated edition of Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas strips away the frustration of a one-size-fits-all spirituality and guides you toward a path of worship that frees you to be you. Experienced spiritual directors recognize that all of us pray differently; if your devotional times have hit a snag, perhaps it is because you’re trying to follow someone else’s path. This book explodes the barriers that keep Christians locked into rigid methods of worship and praise. Sacred Pathways unfolds nine distinct spiritual temperaments—their traits, strengths, and pitfalls. Illustrated with examples from the Bible and from the author’s life experience, each one suggests an approach to loving God through a distinctive journey of adoration. In one or more you will see yourself and the ways you most naturally express your relationship with Jesus Christ. You’ll also discover other temperaments that are not necessarily “you” but that you may wish to explore for the way they can stretch and invigorate your spiritual life. Perhaps you are a Naturalist. Prayer and praise well up within you when you’re walking a forest path or drinking in a mountain’s jagged beauty. Or maybe you’re an Activist. Taking a stand for God’s ways is your meat and drink. Whatever temperament or blend of temperaments best describes you, rest assured it’s not by accident. It’s by the design of a Creator who knew what he was doing when he made you according to his own unique intentions. If your spiritual walk is not what you’d like it to be, you can change that, starting here. Sacred Pathways will show you the route you were made to travel, marked by growth and filled with the riches of a close walk with God.

Dangerous Calling

Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

After traveling the globe and speaking to thousands of churches worldwide, Paul David Tripp has discovered a serious problem within pastoral culture.

He is not only concerned about the spiritual life of the pastor, but also with the very community of people that trains him, calls him, relates to him, and restores him if necessary.

Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy—an environment that actively undermines the wellbeing and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.

Here is a book that both diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.

Unashamed

Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny

Shame can take on many forms. It hides in the shadows of the most successful, confident and high-achieving woman who struggles with balancing her work and children, as well as in the heart of the broken, abused and downtrodden woman who has been told that she will never amount to anything. Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But Christine Caine wants readers to know something: we can all be free.

Join the journey. Lay ahold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into the future—his future for you—a beautiful, full, life-giving future, where you can even become a shame-lifter to others. Live unashamed!

A Resilient Life

A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What

“It makes little difference how fast you can run the 100 meters when the race is 400 meters long. Life is not a sprint; it is a distance run, and it demands the kind of conditioning that enables people to go the distance.”
—Gordon MacDonald

Whose heart doesn’t leap at the sight of a beautifully
conditioned runner, effortlessly gliding along, stride-bystride, mile-by-mile? And what runner gets to this place without a thankless—and often lonely—regimen of strategy and self-denial?

Isn’t this the perfect metaphor of what your heart is longing for—running life’s race with intentionality and grace? With strength and focus?

Well, you can. Veteran pastor and best-selling author Gordon MacDonald says you must develop resilience—the courage and ability to get up when you fall, to keep running when you’re bone-weary, and to keep your eye on the goal even in the murkiest moments.

Dealing with Difficult People/Situations:

Antagonists In The Church

Antagonists In The Church: How To Identify And Deal With Destructive Conflict

Kenneth Haugk shows how congregational leaders can prevent or reduce much of the pain and suffering caused by antagonism in the church. He distinguishes between healthy conflict and destructive antagonism and shows how to cope productively with disruption.

I Beg to Differ

I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversationswith Truth and Love

Communications expert Tim Muehlhoff provides a strategy for having difficult conversations, helping us move from contentious debate to constructive dialogue. Insights from Scripture and communication theory provide practical ways to manage disagreements and resolve conflicts.

When God Interrupts

When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change

Our lives are constantly changing. It’s hard to keep up, to keep our balance. It’s hard to keep trusting in God. And it’s especially difficult when the changes we’re faced with are unwanted: the death of a loved one, a child leaving home, an illness, a frustrated dream.

Craig Barnes knows the dark side of change. As a pastor, he has counseled many Christians through tough times of transition. And he has been challenged by unwanted changes–interruptions–in his own life. At times it seems as though God has moved far, far away. But Barnes has discovered that just the opposite is true: during times of change and seeming abandonment, God is right at our side offering to lead us in a new direction, offering us new life. He writes, “A young widow can outlive her grief and decide her life may never be the same but is far from over. A lost job can become the beginning of a new vocation.”

Here is the book for all who have known disappointment, bereavement or the shattering of faith, a book all the more valuable because it promises hope without denying despair. In a sensitive, insightful pastor shows us how we can be found by God in the middle of unwanted change.

Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding

How to Have That Difficult Conversation You’ve Been Avoiding: With Your Spouse, Adult Child, Boss, Coworker, Best Friend, Parent, or Someone You’re Dating

Authors- Cloud and Townsend

Our lives are constantly changing. It’s hard to keep up, to keep our balance. It’s hard to keep trusting in God. And it’s especially difficult when the changes we’re faced with are unwanted: the death of a loved one, a child leaving home, an illness, a frustrated dream.

Craig Barnes knows the dark side of change. As a pastor, he has counseled many Christians through tough times of transition. And he has been challenged by unwanted changes–interruptions–in his own life. At times it seems as though God has moved far, far away. But Barnes has discovered that just the opposite is true: during times of change and seeming abandonment, God is right at our side offering to lead us in a new direction, offering us new life. He writes, “A young widow can outlive her grief and decide her life may never be the same but is far from over. A lost job can become the beginning of a new vocation.”

Here is the book for all who have known disappointment, bereavement or the shattering of faith, a book all the more valuable because it promises hope without denying despair. In a sensitive, insightful pastor shows us how we can be found by God in the middle of unwanted change.

Personal Development:

Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author – Susan Cain

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

The Power of the Other

The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it

Author – Dr. Henry Cloud

Most leadership coaching focuses on helping leaders build their skills and knowledge and close performance gaps. These are necessary, but not sufficient. Using evidence from neuroscience and his work with leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud shows that the best performers draw on another vital resource: personal and professional relationships that fuel growth and help them surpass current limits.

Popular wisdom suggests that we should not allow others to have power over us, but the reality is that they do, for better or for worse. Consider the boss who diminishes you through cutting remarks versus one who challenges you to get better. Or the colleague who always seeks the limelight versus the one who gives you the confidence to finish a difficult project. Or the spouse who is honest and supportive versus the one who resents your success. No matter how talented, intelligent, or experienced, the greatest leaders share one commonality: the power of the others in their lives.

Combining engaging case studies, persuasive findings from cutting-edge brain research, and examples from his consulting practice, Dr. Cloud argues that whether you’re a Navy SEAL or a corporate executive, outstanding performance depends on having the right kind of connections to fuel personal growth and minimize toxic associations and their effects. Presenting a dynamic model of the impact these different kinds of connections produce, Dr. Cloud shows readers how to get more from themselves by drawing on the strength and expertise of others. You don’t have a choice whether or not others have power in your life, but you can choose what kinds of relationships you want.

Online Resources: