It seems like I just posted my favorite books for 2015, but according to my calendar it's time to post the 2016 list. This year I read more fiction books than any year since I graduated from high school. Most of them were the J. R. Tolkien Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books. I also read several military books. As a former Navy carrier sailor I was especially interested in some books that looked at the impact carriers have made in our wars. For this list I will just include my top ten favorite books for this year that would be of special interest to church leaders. Here are numbers 6 through 10.
10. The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength by Jennie Catron. The author looks at the Great Commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." She explores how we can lead through each of these four aspects of our lives.
9. Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups by Nelson Searcy. I have long been a fan of Searcy and have read most of his books. The church I currently serve as Transitional Pastor will begin small groups in January, and this book has been very helpful in recruiting leaders and marketing our small groups.
8. Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. This is the first of three Keller books on this list. I've been preaching for 35 years and found this book to be a great resource especially as I've returned to pastoral ministry after serving as a judicatory minister for the past 14 years. This generation is much different than the ones I preached to 14 years ago. I'm glad I read this book!
7. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. Conventional wisdom tells us that becoming successful makes us happy. Using research Achor shows that being happy leads to success, and then he gives seven principles to help us remain positive and happy. When I find a book that is helpful it will be marked up and notes written in the margin, and my copy of this book is filled with highlighted sections and notes in the margin.
6. Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard. This was one of the books I read in my devotional reading. Although it was not an easy read, it was an important read. Willard insists the greatest need of mankind is a renovation of the heart, and he goes on to teach us how to experience it. This is a book I purchased used and when it arrived I was surprised at how much the previous reader had marked it up. Fortunately, I use different marking systems so this book is really colorful!
Tomorrow we will list the final five books.