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More Shortest Book Reviews… July 18, 2017

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51JTz+vygyL“Leading a Multicultural Church” by Malcolm Patten – A practitioner and a thinker who lays a beautiful theological cushion from which we can stand and become a genuine practitioner who engages with the multiple cultures of our cities. There is a depth and reality to this book that should be on the shelf of every ministry in an urban setting, practical, real and helpful. 10/10

 

Doorstep-280210“The World on our Doorstep” by Dewi Hughes – This book answers questions about other faiths, gives tools for how to engage them with Christendom and pitfalls to avoid. A useful book for those seeking to step into evangelism in a multicultural context. 8/10

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Shortest Book Reviews May 9, 2017

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Hopecasting by Mark Oestreicher – A refreshing book that manages to unravel the tangled web of christian cliche to impact the heart and provide fresh perspective.  A great book for those in tough situations who want to see a brighter future and need some solid thinking to assure them. 9/10

A Man on Fire, The Story of Maynard James by Paul James – The story of an evangelist preacher who was a key leader in the UK Holiness Movement during the 20th century. A personal account that talks of the strengths and weaknesses of a man of faith as he sought to share the gospel message. 7/10

 

: Understanding the Teenage Brain by @markosbeard December 17, 2012

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Some books leave you wanting more and this one is in that category. As a former youth pastor (and someone who still dabbles in youth ministry) and now as a parent of a teenager, I found that this book was extremely useful and practical in helping to understand a little more the complexities that a teenager faces in growing up.

Marko is great at drawing you in to his thoughts and helping (with practical illustration) to demonstrate that this is not just theory but also been proven through experience. He uses his own family as a guide and this helps to ‘earth’ his thinking.

The book sets out to achieve its goal of a ‘veneer’ of understanding which will require you to explore the ‘biological’ developments of the brain in greater detail. However, it is frustrating as it sets you on a journey, walks the first mile with you and then allows you to complete it alone…after a few days of frustration, you realise its brilliance, this is not a ‘how to’ manual but a thought provoker.

This book has to be recommended – it is superb. The title is misleading, it is not just for parents, it is also helpful for anyone with an interest in teenagers. Top marks from me.

As Marko says “Parenting teenagers is tough work, to be sure. But it’s also one of the greatest privileges we’ll ever have. Now, go shape that brain!”

: “unreached” – a book by Tim Chester December 3, 2012

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The tag line for this book is ‘growing churches in working class and deprived areas” – it will prove a decent seller in the Christian world as it promises to scratch where many evangelicals have started to itch.

The book was an easy read and was certainly competent in its work, that said, it did not inspire me in the way that I had anticipated, there was just something lacking. For those that have engaged in ministry in areas mentioned, there will be little new, rather a recognition of practices that will already be embedded in your life. For those that are exploring, it will be a useful guide.

There are plenty of anecdotes from those in the trenches (a limited few practitioners) that help to earth the theory and there are ideas that will be useful to those dipping their toes in the water. In truth this is a valuable volume with a poor working title – the book is worth reading as it will help you to think through mission in a particular context. However, the whole book could be summed up in one paragraph found halfway through;
“You don’t need a social science degree to work in urban contexts. You don’t need a theory of contextualisation. You need love. Love is the New Testaments core missiological principle” (p74)

Glad I read it, Yes! Although a day with one of the practitioners listed would teach you far more.

: Lead with Luv November 29, 2012

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This book was available for free as a kindle download, unfortunately that offer has ceased. The book is more of an interview by Ken Blanchard with Colleen Barrett but it is packed full of gems. The style of writing helps earth leadership and management tools and enables the reader to get a grasp of the practice that should follow the theory.
Colleen is an exceptional lady who demonstrates great leadership by showing”luv” – quirky stuff (well you can never escape these things). Some of the ideas expressed would be a step too far for many leaders, yet for Southwest Airlines, it worked, there is no escaping that.
Worth a read? Definitely. Will it change your style? Possibly. Would many people adopt it? Unlikely, because it means listening to others and losing an element of control.

Hood Rat – Britain’s Lost Generation (Review) June 15, 2012

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This book is written in three specific parts with time spent on stories from London, Manchester and Glasgow.  It pulls no punches as it shares of life from the inner city gang cultures that we so often hear about in news items.  The book is easy to read and follow and engages the reader by working through examples in the lives of specific individuals.

At times you are left questioning and wondering if there is any hope – this is wonderfully dispelled in the stories of Glasgow.  There is hope, there are ways ahead and there are people who want to help bring change.  The later edition has a short response from Gavin Knight to the riots of 2011 – this alone was challenging and worth the book price as it challenges some of the popular notions of who engaged in the riots and why.

A good, solid read – if you are involved in the inner city with young people then it will be worth spending some time with it.

There is comfortable, middle-class economy.  Then there’s the inner cities.” Gavin Knight

Book Review – dont step on the rope – leadership June 7, 2012

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Another leadership book you cry! Yes, another, yet somehow this one seemed worthy of a review, I enjoyed the read and found it useful.

In truth, this book is about leadership within teams and uses the analogy of Walter Wrights own rope teams to make his point  You do not have to be a mountaineer to follow the examples and the stories and most of the points that are underlined are filled with anecdotes from Wrights time walking the mountain trail.

The usual leadership points are made; relationships, responsibility, accountability etc. but there are some fresh ones too such as shared memories and humour, forgotten traits in many leadership tool boxes.

The book is easy to read, challenges in a gentle manner and is a good starter for a young leader who is exploring what it means to ‘step up to the plate’ and take responsibility.  By the end, you may even want to try some mountain trails yourself.