Reading the Signs of Daily Life
By Henri Nouwen (HarperOne, 2013)
The Facts: The final volume of Henri Nouwen's spiritual trilogy explores four avenues of discernment. The first, "read the way forward" (reading books and other writings), and the third, "pay attention to people in your path," are more straightforward. It's the second (read the book of nature) and the fourth (discern the signs of the times) that will likely stretch readers. Even those who do not agree with Nouwen will benefit from hearing from his insights in this book. In the last section of the book, Nouwen gives his thoughts on discerning questions of vocation, presence, identity, and time.
The Slant: This book is classic Nouwen: deep, wise, and honest. He gives multiple examples of reading the signs of daily life in his own experience. One rather powerful display of transparency: "I found myself speaking to thousands of people about humility and at the same time wondering what they were thinking of me." What church leader can't identify with that? I have benefitted from many of Nouwen's books and this one is no exception.—Bob Mink
What Every Pastor Should Know
101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church
By Gary L. McIntosh and Charles Arn (Baker, 2013)
The Facts: With real life examples, a scriptural backing, and hard research, McIntosh and Arn show what it takes for a church to grow, welcome guests (not visitors), and start and maintain classes or groups, and more. They cover financial issues such as building campaigns and address what portion of the budget should go to different expenditures. The book provides a wealth of information and data to help churches make the most of their ...