Oct 23, 2017 • Written by Judy Episcopo
I Love to Read
I love to read. I tend to have a few books vying for my attention at any given time. I think the books we read reveal a lot about our passions, dreams and personalities.
I realize not everyone likes to read, but when it comes to ministry it is rather important to keep up on our reading so we can stay fresh, informed and motivated as we seek to minister to the people we are called to.
Having said that, I thought it would be interesting to get the top three books that have impacted some of our ministry staff. What are they passionate about? What books have influenced their faith and ministry? What would they recommend?
I received a lot of great information and I came back wanting to read everything on the list! So many books…so little time…
Let me start with the Senior Pastor’s top three books:
Pastor Dennis Episcopo has a passion for vision as well as laying a solid foundation for new believers. This comes out in his book preferences:
The Fight by John White
This book guides you through the basic areas of Christian living: faith, prayer, temptation, evangelism, guidance, Bible study, fellowship, and work. In this very personal book, White offers new Christians sound first steps and older Christians refreshing insights into the struggles and the joys of freedom in Christ.
The Power of Vision by George Barna
In The Power of Vision, George Barna invites church leaders to discover the power of God's vision for ministry. Readers will learn Biblical and practical steps towards God's unique vision for them, and ways to share and promote congregational ownership of the vision. Barna's word to all Christian leaders: Uncovering God's vision for your ministry is not an option. Vision is the insight God provides to instruct and direct our paths, a reflection of what God wants to accomplish through us in building his kingdom. With this clear picture from God of where you are headed, your chances of a successful journey are increased exponentially.
The Pursuit of God by A W Tozer
Tozer describes what it is like to have an intimate relationship with God. He claims this personal loving relationship is not for a select few, but should be the experience of every follower of Christ. Too often we have become conditioned by tradition to accept standards of mediocrity, formality and worldliness. Using examples from Scripture and from the lives of saints who lived with this thirst for God, Tozer sheds light on the path to a closer walk with God.
Pastor Dick Schaefer has been overseeing our Senior’s Ministry for over 15 years. The longer he has lived and ministered, he is continually reminded of the Bible’s power and effectiveness for life and ministry.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
This devotional is famously popular for thought provoking meditations to cultivate a closer walk with God. Those that read this devotional gain perspective on how to grow in their faith and knowledge of God.
Preacher and Prayer by E.M. Bounds
This book challenges those with spiritual influence to be people of prayer. So many times we would rather be “doing something” than on our knees in prayer. We can have all the methods and programs and abilities we need but if we are not in communion with God it is a wasted effort.
Our final recommendations come from Pastor Mark Byrom, our International Ministries Pastor. His choices reveal his passion and commitment to be willing to go anywhere in the world God calls him:
Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot
Mark read this in High School and again in college. The quote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose” has stuck with him throughout his entire ministry. Jim's life is a powerful testimony of being sold out for Christ. This is one of the great modern missionary biographies well worth reading. This book was influential in solidifying Mark’s call to overseas missions.
Celebration of the Disciplines by Richard Foster
This is another Christian classic which serves as a great resource for exploring spiritual disciplines such as prayer, praise, fellowship, study and more. Foster helps us understand how we are to incorporate these practices in our daily walk.
Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration of Vocational Holiness by Eugene Peterson
This is an exploration of the story of Jonah and was formational in helping Mark understand the spiritual dimensions of his calling into ministry, especially in foreign missions. This book helped him work through some soul searching and personal identity in light of the integrity God has called all of us to.
So there you have it! Three ministry leaders with their favorite, most inspiring books! Hopefully this list is enough to get you interested in checking out some of these topics. Reading one of these recommendations may inspire you and help you understand how some of our pastors think!