By: Mary E. Speedy
Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids
Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark. Zondervan, 2011.
What we hope for as parents and educators is that our youth will develop a dynamic faith that “sticks” beyond high school. Based on extensive research at the Fuller Youth Institute, this resource is designed to help parents actively encourage their children’s faith to grow and stick with them as they head off to college and beyond. Available through www.stickyfaith.org, where you’ll also find additional resources, blogs and support pieces for parents and youth workers.
Sticky Faith: Youth Workers Edition Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-term Faith in Teenagers
Kara E. Powell, Brad M. Griffin, Cheryl A. Crawford.Zondervan, 2011.
This resource is for youth workers and is based on both the theological and philosophical framework for the “Sticky Faith model.” It provides programming ideas to help develop faith that lasts well beyond the youth group.
Faith Forward: A Dialogue on Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity
David M. Csinos and Melvin Bray. Woodlake, 2013.
Knowing how to nurture faith in young people is a challenge, particularly when we want to encourage a faith that is generous, innovative, and contextual. This resource is based on 21 presentations from the 2012 Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity conference held in Washington, DC. Presenters and participants came from several countries and many denominations so the chapters express varied contemporary takes on Christian faith and discipleship.
Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives
Robert Webber, editor.Zondervan, 2007.
This book provides an overview of terms often referred to in today’s church circles from the point of view of five writers: Mark Driscoll (Biblicist Theology), John Burke (Incarnational Theology), Dan Kimball (Missional Theology), Doug Pagett (Embodied Theology), and Karen Ward (Communal Theology). Each contributes an overview of her or his particular theological bent, and then reflects on the others.
The Changing Church
John Drane. SCM Press, 2011.
Drane helps answer some of the questions that naturally arise from the changing array of both formal and informal groupings of congregations and networks. What needs to happen or when does such a group become a church? How do you define a missional church and how does it compare to a traditional church? This is the first volume in a series that will explore defining characteristics of these new expressions of church.
As a Fire by Burning: Mission as the Life of the Local Congregation
Roger Standing. SCM Press, 2013.
The author explores the relationship between the day-to-day life of local churches and contemporary thinking about mission. The first section of the book describes first-hand experiences of those engaged in mission in a wide variety of contexts. In the second part of the book, the author reflects on their experiences in ministry in the light of contemporary mission thinking. The book encourages congregations to find ways to discover and shape their unique call to ministry today.
Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community
Ed Stetzer and David Putma.Broadman & Holman, 2006.
Across North America, many pastors are excited to see churches growing as they achieve their mission to connect the message of the gospel with the community at large. Still others are frustrated, following the same model for outreach, but with lesser results. Indeed, just because one congregation has success at becoming more missional doesn’t mean that it will happen exactly the same way in another location. One size doesn’t fit all churches. The authors talk about cultural barriers that prevent us from understanding the gospel and learning how to break through those barriers.
Learning Mission, Living Mission: Churches that Work
Glynis LaBarre and J. Dwight Stinnett.Judson, 2012.
Using the Missional Church Learning Experience model, the author describes practical steps in developing leadership in the local community and addressing particular needs in that community. The resource is a guide to this model with stories from churches engaged in this model.
Being Church, Reflections on How to Live as the People of God
John F. Alexander. Cascade, 2012.
From his experiences as pastor of the Church of the Sojourner, a live-together church, and living in Christian communities, Alexander offers scriptural practices and wisdom that can move us into real community and connectedness akin to the early church. He calls Christians not to go to church, but rather to be the church for the world.
Choosing Change: How to Motivate Churches to Face the Future
Peter Coutts.Alban, 2013.
Choice and change—we all want choices, but change is often not the thing we choose. Church leaders understand this and often try to sell the congregation on changes or a new idea. Coutts says we need to rethink our methods of trying to change from selling an idea to motivating for change. He provides a framework of ideas, terms, and theories in current thinking for leaders who hope to encourage congregational change. The second half of the book offers guidance for becoming a motivational leader.
Encounters at the Counter: What Congregations can Learn about Hospitality from Business
Alan Johnson, Pilgrim, 2009.
Johnson shares stories from his experiences engaging in face-to-face customer service in many venues. He draws comparisons from these experiences of hospitality or lack of it to congregations seeking to be hospitable and suggests ways that these can become meaningful venues to genuine Christian hospitality in our congregations. A study guide for use with church boards and committees is available from
The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving
Ellen Sabin. Watering Can Press, 2004.
For readers ages six to eleven, this book is about stewardship, but not necessarily in the “churchy” sense. Designed as a workbook to help children learn to give back to the world, it could be part of an ongoing Christian education stewardship program. It is designed to inspire, teach, and engage children about giving back to the world. Its unique, interactive process allows parents, teachers, or friends to help children understand giving and participate in a thought-provoking experience. The 64-page, spiral-bound, hardcover book combines colorful illustrations and entertaining stories with enjoyable learning activities.
Family ‘Round theTable
Formerly the Logos program, this website provides a variety of resources for family ministries. One item worth a look is Family ‘round the table iPhone app. The easy-to-use app is designed for families and keyed to the Revised Common Lectionary, which is nice if you attend a church that follows it, although not necessary. Each week there is an Eating Together activity including menu suggestions and grace, Studying Together activity with a simple Bible study, Celebrating Together activity for worship that may have links to stories or songs, and a Playing Together activity. There are also options to browse by Menu, Holiday (church year), Scripture, or Activity. A downloadable resource for each of the three years in the lectionary allows for planning ahead in the church year.
Writing in the Margins: Connecting with God on the Pages of Your Bible
Lisa Nichols Hickman. Abingdon, 2013.
In this digital age, it is fascinating to open a book that tells you on the first page to pick up your pen or pencil. Composers like Bach to theologians like Barth, botanists and saints—all have written their thoughts directly in their Bibles. All who do so are engaged with the Scripture in a unique way that brings us into intimate connection with God’s word. This book invites people into a unique encounter with the Bible, and introduces a creative devotional and spiritual path to start or continue the conversation with God.
The Definitive-ish Guide for Social Media in the Church
Bruce Reyes-Chow. Shook Foil, 2012.
For social media novices and experienced users alike, Reyes-Chow provides a practical look at how to use social media in the church, from basic places to begin to places to tweak, with a strong rationale for doing so. He provides basic vocabulary with easily understandable definitions. It is the kind of resource that you will want to refer back to often.
Top 25 Social Media Platforms for Use in Church and Ministry
Bruce Reyes-Chow, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/breyeschow/2013/08/20/top-25-social-media-platforms-for-use-in-church-and-ministry/
Even as he writes, the author is considering where to rank various platforms. Check out where he stands today and what changes he sees for the future.
Blog on New Books
Byron Borger. http://www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/reviews
One of the joys of being in Eastern Region APCE is our resident bookstore, Hearts and Minds, and its owners Beth and Byron Borger. Byron’s reviews of recent and notable books in the Christian genre are always informative. Check out one of his blogs and decide for yourself if you wish to subscribe.
Policy Governance: Adapt, Don’t Adopt
Don Green. http://christianstandard.com/2012/05/policy-governance-adapt-don%E2%80%99t-adopt/, 2013.
Some congregations and mid-governing councils are moving in the direction of policy governance to shape their mission. Based on John Carver’s design for non-profits, churches are modifying his design with a more theological and biblical basis. This informative article about the Policy Governance model in congregations provides some helpful background.
Winning on Purpose: How to Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission
John Edmund Kaiser, Bill Easum, and Tom Bandy. Abingdon, 2006.
This resource offers leaders a way to organize congregations for success by creating structures that enable church life and health. As a comprehensive and powerful application of the biblical call to mission, it sets forth the Accountable Leadership strategy. This model of leadership brings together standards for mission, boundaries, and accountability, and then shows how these standards come to life through the performance of four key players: the board, the pastor, the staff, and the congregation.
REdesigning Churches: Creating Spaces for Connection and Community
Kim Miller. Abingdon, 2013.
Kim Miller is a designer of churches. She has observed that when a church gets serious about Jesus’ call, there is always a design element to be addressed. Kim asserts that physical space transformation is simply a backdrop for authentic people transformation. Change the space and the opportunity and environment to change the world emerges. This comes as a fresh challenge for churches and ministries struggling to present a new look to match their relevant message. An emphasis on spatial design is an incarnation of Jesus’ call for new wineskins and is emerging as a key means to create community and the opportunity for transformation for a creative generation. This book is a practical guide for church leaders looking to transform their physical space and make it an asset to the ministry of the congregation. The book is filled with pictures and stories of spaces and lives transformed as well as practical and useable ideas.
How Maps Change Things: A Conversation about the Maps We Choose and the World We Want
Ward L. Kaiser. Woodlake Books, 2013.
Maps just tell it like it is, or do they? This books helps us understand that maps are full of more than data. The mapmakers’ perceptions and prejudices influence what they think is important and what is not. This book is about becoming aware of how we shape and use maps, and how they, in turn, shape us, so that we can begin to reﬂect on and choose the kind of world we want.
Included is a four-session study guide that provides avenues to combine research with personal experience through discussion in small groups.
@Sticky Jesus: How to Live Out Your Faith Online
Toni Birdsong and Tami Heim. Abingdon, 2011.
In a world dominated by the Internet, tweets, blogs, Facebook, and more, it is almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by opportunities for information sharing and receiving. How do we as Christians use these media? The authors of this resource know their way around social media. Biblical stories and truths, personal stories, practical skills and prayer are all mixed into each chapter. Twitter worships and prayer networks are just two of the ways people who may or may not be churched are using social media to meet God, share their faith, and care for each other.
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
Nadia Bolz- Weber. Jericho, 2013.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is everywhere these days since her memoir has been released. Covered in tattoos, and coming out of the world of the comedy club and alcohol, Nadia is not your typical pastor. Her call to ministry comes as she leads a funeral for one of her friends in the middle of a comedy club. Her church, the House of all Sinners and Saints, is not your typical church either, but Nadia’s story and her honest approach to life and God are stirring reading.
Mary E. Speedy is a retired certified church educator living in Mechanicsburg, PA.