The Millennials

★★★★★

Readability: ★★★★★

Audible Quality: ★★★★★

Application Ability: ★★★★☆

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★★☆


BOOK'S DESCRIPTION:

At more than 78 million strong, the Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—have surpassed the Boomers as the larger and more influential generation in America. Now, as its members begin to reach adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape, best-selling research author Thom Rainer (Simple Church) and his son Jess (a Millennial born in 1985) present the first major investigative work on Millennials from a Christian worldview perspective.

The authors close with a thoughtful response to how the church can engage and minister to what is now in fact the largest generation in America’s history.

Sure to interest even the secularists who study this group, The Millennials is based on 1200 interviews with its namesakes that aim to better understand them personally, professionally, and spiritually. Chapters report intriguing how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closer-knit than previous generations), their desire for diversity (consider the wave of mixed race and ethnic adoptions), Millennials and the new workplace, their attitude toward money, the media, the environment, and perhaps most tellingly, religion.

My Review:

I'll start by saying that it's weird to read a book written on your own generation. I spent the entire time thinking to myself, "That's like me. That's like AJ. That's not like us at all." That being said, I think this is a very good book. I hear my generation getting a lot of flack these days about our relationship with church, and some of it we deserve. Rainer does a great job helping the reader understand where the general mentality of the generation comes from so that we (as ministry and church persons) can know where to start and where to move towards.

Of course, Rainer does his research so I wouldn't doubt his facts. I do believe his conclusions of the facts are sound. This book is one I would recommend to anyone who is doing ministry with Millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000) or even overseeing them in the workplace. I gave it 4 stars for recommendation though because it does have a niche readership.

The Power of Habit

★★★★★

Readability: ★★★★★

Audible Quality: ★★★★★

Application Ability: ★★★★★

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★★★


BOOK'S DESCRIPTION:

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

My Review:

I throughly enjoyed this book. I'm a person that has always struggled to change my morning routine or establish a new habit and now I understand why. But more importantly, I understand why changes work and why they don't on an individual level and on community level. This book talks about how our brains deal with changes and how our friends and community impact those changes for the positive or negative. It's peer pressure for adults and on a scientific level.

If you want to learn how you can do something new in your life, this book will help you learn about the "keystone habits." If you want to help bring major change in your corporation, this book will help you learn why it's worked in some places and not in others. It's a book I will go back to in the future to re-read.

Churchless

★★★★☆

Readability: ★★★★☆

Audible Quality: ★★★★★

Application Ability: ★★★★☆

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★☆☆


BOOK'S DESCRIPTION:

Churchless people are all around us: among our closest loved ones, at our workplaces, in our neighborhoods. And more and more, they are becoming the norm: The number of churchless adults in the US has grown by nearly one-third in the past decade. Yet the startling truth is that many of these people claim they are looking for a genuine, powerful encounter with God—but they just don’t find it in church. What are they (or we) missing? How can we better reach out to them? What can we say or do that would inspire them to want to join a community of faith? Containing groundbreaking new research from the Barna Group, and edited by bestselling authors George Barna (Revolution) and David Kinnaman (You Lost Me), Churchless reveals the results of a five-year study based on interviews with thousands of churchless men and women. Looking past the surface of church attendance to deeper spiritual realities, Churchless will help us understand those who choose not to be part of a church, build trust-based relationships with them, and be empowered to successfully invite them to engage.

My Review:

I've actually read this book twice. It's a quick read in many ways, but it has a lot of technical data in it, which is why I gave it 4 stars. It has some good info, but doesn't break things down into generations very well. The book does state that the number one way to get people to church today is still personal invitation, but that it has become less successful. I think it is wise for any church leader or ministry person to be aware of Barna's research and to keep it in mind when doing church work. I wouldn't recommend it to a lay person though.

For Women Only

Revised and Updated Edition: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

★★★★★

Readability: ★★★★★

Audible Quality: ★★★★★

Application Ability: ★★★★★

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★★★


BOOK'S DESCRIPTION:

Discover the Truth He Wants You to Know

The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you.
 
In her landmark bestseller, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals what every woman—single or married—needs to know. Based on rigorous research with thousands of men, Shaunti delivers one eye-opening revelation after anotherincluding:

  • Why your respect means more to him than your love.
  • How he feels deep inside about his role as provider.
  • What it means for a man to be so visually “wired.”
  • Why sex for him is primarily emotional, not physical.
  • What he most wishes he could say to you. 

Now, in this expanded and updated edition, you’ll find insights from the latest brain research plus an all-new chapter that shows what’s really going on when he seems to “check out.” (You’ll be surprised and pleased.)
 
Millions worldwide have experienced dramatic change in their relationships because of the “aha” moments and practical ideas in this little book. Discover how to love your man for who he really is.

My Review:

I picked this book up, along with it's counterpart For Men Only at a marriage weekend AJ and I went to. A pastor friend of mine recommended the books to me when I was going through my pastoral counseling courses in school and I had never gotten around to them. It's a wonderful book! It helps you look at life through a man's eyes without degrading men and in a Christian light. It's a quick and easy read and one you can easily go back to if you need a refresher.

Ask: Faith Questions in a Skeptical Age

★★★☆☆

Readability: ★★★★☆

Discussion Questions: ★★★☆☆

Application Ability: ★★★★☆

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★☆☆

Chapter Book:★★★★☆

Leader's Guide:★★★☆☆

DVD:★★★☆☆


Book's Description:

We live in a skeptical age. People—especially young people—express doubts about the Christian faith. In this thoughtful eight-week study Bishop Scott Jones, author of The Wesleyan Way, partners with his son Rev. Arthur Jones, to address hard questions that all of us face when considering faith, religion, and the church. The questions (chapters) include:

  1. Can only one religion be true? 
  2. Why is there suffering and evil? 
  3. How can I believe in science and creation? 
  4. How can I believe in a God I can’t prove? 
  5. Can I trust the Old Testament? 
  6. Are marriage, sex, and family life religious issues? 
  7. Was Jesus' resurrection real? 
  8. Why do Christians disagree about so many things? 

The message is strong and clear: Don't let your questions stop you from accepting God's invitation to faith. Engage your doubt, and you may find you are closer to God on the other side.

My Review:

The Ask series by father and son team Scott J. Jones by Arthur D. Jones comes with a book, leader's guide, and DVD. The book is the most important aspect of this series I would say. I would consider the DVD the least necessary. The people speaking in the DVD are all pastors, so it is not a conversation that you would hear in a coffee shop. The book, however, created some real conversations in our group.

I found the questions to be very revelation and to be things that all of our group members enjoyed talking about, no matter how many years they had been in the church. I can imagine that people outside the church would enjoy looking into these topics as well. However, some alternative discussion questions with people who are unchurched would have been helpful.

I was very happy to find a study that did not stray from core Wesleyan beliefs or traditions. Nothing in this book contradicts Wesleyan core theology. Jones and Jones are known for writing core Wesleyan study materials, and that did not change with this study. On that front, I would highly recommend that study.

The leaders guide could have been more substantial. I was able to answer all the questions my group members asked, based upon my seminary training, but I am leery of passing this study on to one of my lay leaders without the answers to the discussion questions. The lack of information in the leader's guide is why I would be unlikely to recommend this study.

Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive

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★★★★★

Readability: ★★★★★

Discussion Questions: ★★★★☆

Application Ability: ★★★★★

Recommendation Likelihood: ★★★★★


Book's Description:

No one wants to see a church die. And yet, far too many churches are dying. For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Thom Rainer has helped churches grow, reverse the trends of decline, and has autopsied those that have died. From this experience, he has discovered twelve consistent themes among those churches that have died. Yet, it’s not gloom and doom because from those twelve themes, lessons on how to keep your church alive have emerged.

Whether your church is vibrant or dying, whether you are a pastor or a church member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church will walk you through the radical paths necessary to keep your church alive to the glory of God and advancement of Christ’s Kingdom!


My Review:

This book is incredible. I give it 5 stars. It's not the first book by Thom Rainer that I've read, but I would say it is one of his best. This book is simple, yet it's filled with practical information that can save your church and help you reach your potential. At first glance, the title may seem depressing. Rainer looks at 14 churches and dissects the finals years to determine why they died. Part 1 or Chapters 1-11 cover the common themes in these 14 churches. He goes further, though, as the subtitle indicates "12 Ways to Keep Yours (Church) Alive." Part 2 or Chapters 12-14 tells you what to do depending on what stage of sickness your church is currently.

One thing I love about this book is that Rainer gives a Prayerful Commitment at the end of each chapter that you and your leadership can pray together. There are also Questions for further thought at the end of each chapter to aid in a group discussion.

I would recommend this book to every church leader no matter what the status of your church. This book is excellent to be read with leadership and is vital to all who want to impact the world by bringing new people into relationships with Christ.