April Yamasaki's favorite books for ministry

October 1, 2014

What are the best books for ministry written in the 21st century? We asked seven pastors to pick their favorites. — Ed.

Tradition and innovation, inreach and outreach, nurture and transformation, strong clergy leadership and strong lay leadership—instead of treating these and other polarities as problems, Roy Oswald and Barry Johnson work with them as ongoing realities. Their book Managing Polarities in Congregations: Eight Keys for Thriving Faith Communities (Rowman & Littlefield) explores the upsides and downsides of each, and how can we best manage them.

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (InterVarsity Press) is a comprehensive survey of spiritual disciplines and a wonderful resource for the inner life of those who practice ministry. Among the disciplines discussed are Bible study, caring for the earth, confession, discernment, hospitality, and journaling.

Writing in the United Kingdom from an Anabaptist perspective, Stuart and Sian Murray Williams begin The Power of All: Building a Multivoiced Church (Herald) with the biblical vision of a multivoiced church where the gifts of all contribute to the whole. They describe how the church was historically overtaken by a more monovoiced model and make a case for a church that is multivoiced in worship, learning, discernment, and community. Our church staff found it an excellent catalyst for thinking about our context for ministry.

Christena Cleveland’s Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces That Keep Us Apart (InterVarsity Press) is an excellent introduction to group behavior, identity building, and related dynamics. She goes beyond simply “uncovering the hidden forces” of disunity to offer practical examples and suggestions for moving forward.