Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pastor Scott's Book List

OK, I don't know who exactly reads these blog postings that I put up here. I know that there are lots of people in our church who are not "readers." But I'm thinking if you read this regularly, it's because you do enjoy reading at some level at least. If that's not you, it's ok to just close this out and wait for next week's posting, but for those of you who like books, I want to alert you to the fact that I updated my book list (it's over there on the left <------ see?).

Most of my books I've had on my list have to do with church structure, church leadership, church planting, church health.... Well, you get the idea. These three books I've added, however, really don't have anything to do with church (at least directly). But I'm finding them very thought-provoking, and if you like to read, I bet many of you would find them worthwhile as well. That's why I added them to my list.

I'll tackle them in alphabetical order:

  • Joy At Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun On The Job. This book is written by a Christian businessman, co-founder and long-time CEO of AES, a multi-billion dollar international power company with over 40,000 employees. This company is based on 4 Core Values: Integrity, Justice, Social Responsibility, and Fun. The book is primarily about the value of Fun, defined as "rewarding, exciting, creative, and successful." The company strives to empower every employee with the ability to make important decisions about things that really matter, and then they are held accountable for their decisions. Leaders are there to give advice (not permission) to those making decisions; the CEO himself set a goal of personally making only 1 important decision for the company a year. The result of this approach was to create happier, more dedicated, more productive employees, fulfilling their God-given purpose of productive work.
  • Loving Monday: How To Succeed In Business Without Selling Your Soul. Written by a successful Ohio manufacturing executive, this book explores how to integrate your work with your faith. The result is that instead of grinding it out until Friday and living only for weekends, your work can actually be filled with meaning and purpose. As a result, both work and faith grow--along with your love for Mondays. Beckett destroys the idea that "secular" work is not God-honoring; he argues that any work that's not inherently immoral can actually be a form of worship--not just church work or "professional" ministry.
  • We Are Driven: The Compulsive Behavior America Applauds. Workaholism, perfectionism, the need to control. These behaviors are often called "good addictions," but they are not good because they detract from--instead of adding to--our lives. Although many people are applauded for these behaviors, they damage marriages, friendships, families, and other relationships. The authors contend that many times these behaviors are rooted in shame, low self-esteem, and guilt, which drive us to super-human ambitions at which we inevitably fail, creating a new cycle of shame, low self-esteem, and guilt.

Each of these books, though not about church, I believe have tremendous value for how we "do" church. They give insight in how to organize, lead, motivate, and minister, and beginning in May, the elders and I will begin studying Joy At Work to discuss some of these insights. If you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to read with me:

Joy At Work / Loving Monday / We Are Driven

Just so you know, I'm reading these books in preparation for our next upcoming series ("The Office" about work; and "Driven", a NASCAR-themed series about our purpose in life), and I'm sure you'll hear some of these insights coming out in sermons and other interactions with me. I'd love to know about anyone else who's reading these and any thoughts you might have!

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