As a church leader or member, you must pay close attention to the message the children and young adults of your church and community are sending to you. The way the next generation tells you that your church has lost touch with them is simple—they stop coming, according to Lee Kricher in his book For a New Generation: A Practical Guide for Revitalizing Your Church.

The book tells the story of how Amplify Church, the author’s church, changed from a dying church into a growing church, and the author details five strategies which were key to the turnaround success: Adopt a New Mindset, Identify the Essentials, Reduce the Distractions, Elevate Your Standards, and Build a Mentoring Culture.

While those five strategies were obviously crucial to the turnaround, they do not in themselves explain what it is that made the church so attractive for children and young people. A crucial preliminary step seems to have been locating one or more other churches which are successfully reaching children and young people, and identifying key elements which can be copied or adapted to the local context. This preliminary step seems to have been vital both to giving the church’s leadership confidence that a turnaround was possible and to providing inspiration for creating environments which are compelling for children and young people.

There is absolutely no reason upstart digital companies have to supplant established firms. There is no reason new businesses have to be the only engines of innovation. The problem, according to David Rogers in his book The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, is that—in many cases—management simply doesn’t have a playbook to follow to understand and then address the competitive challenges of digitization. This book aims to fulfil that role, helping you understand, strategize for, and compete on the digital playing field.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

If we’re not intentional about the vision, we will lose it. We will end up going somewhere we don’t want to go and becoming something we don’t want to become, according to Shawn Lovejoy in his book Be Mean About the Vision: Preserving and Protecting What Matters. On the other hand, maintaining the vision over time leads to success. Everyone starts out with a vision, but few finish with one. This book aims to describe how to finish with vision.

The book describes the importance of vision for Christian ministry, and church leadership in particular. Aspects of vision discussed include:

  • How to have a holy wrestling match to discover your God-given vision
  • How to keep the vision alive in yourself and in others
  • How to identify a vision hijacker and keep the vision from being hijacked
  • How to get things back on track when the vision is not working out
  • How to finish well and release the vision to a new leader gracefully

Many of the author’s concepts will be familiar to those who have previous familiarity with the work of Bill Hybels and Jim Collins, but the book as a whole provides a new perspective on the vision lifecycle of a church leader. I found the advice on finishing well to be particularly helpful, and I would warmly commend this book to any church leader.

Christians are tired of being the laughingstock of late-night television; they are also angered by the poor results the church is seeing as it seeks to be a transformative presence in society, according to Neil Cole in his book One Thing: A Revolution to Change the World with Love. This book aims to offer  an alternative that is biblical, effective, subversive, and loving, all at the same time, to Christians who are tired of being characterized by the world as angry people known only for what they are against.

The author compares the Corinthian church, which was infected by immorality, divisions and class distinctions, with the Galatian church, which was well-behaved but a little too legalistic, and argues that Paul was much more strident in condemning the sin of the Galatians than the many sins of the Corinthians. The greater sin is in fact that of attempting to fulfil God’s promise with our own ingenuity and effort, or what the author calls “do-it-yourself spirituality”, something that plagues the church today.

The second half of the book discusses what Jesus said and did about wealth, welfare, women in crisis and worship:

  • Being less that generous is irresponsible and lacks faith.
  • Jesus did not help people who deserved it; instead he gave grace – unmerited favour – to those who did not deserve it.
  • Jesus brought lasting change to the way women were perceived in society.
  • Jesus struck hard at the religion of his day without pause or respect, trampling on their practices and denouncing their leaders.

This is an original and thought-provoking book, which highlights a number of sins and dysfunctions of modern churches and Christianity as it is currently practised. There are enough revolutionary ideas to make any reader uncomfortable.

Fewer than 1 percent of CEOs participate in CEO peer advisory groups, yet most of the high-performing CEOs who are members of a group say their experience has lifted their organizations and changed their lives beyond measure, according to Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary in their book The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth and Success. While the CEO’s life can be a lonely one, it does not have to be.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

If a fraud occurs, the church will lose more than just money. Donor confidence will rightly be weakened, and they may decide to reallocate their contributions to other organizations. Further, the reputation of the church and its pastor in the local community could be permanently damaged, according to Rollie Dimos in his book Integrity at Stake: Safeguarding Your Church From Financial Fraud.

This short book provides a useful discussion of a subject which most church leaders are reluctant to think about, but which can lead to devastating consequences if not dealt with appropriately. The first section provides a brief discussion of some risks faced by churches and Christian organisations, including risk management, controls, how to recover from an instance of fraud, and tools to reduce the risk of fraud, and the second section provides twelve different cases studies of actual instances of fraud.

The book does provide an appendix on how to perform a fraud risk assessment and another on performing an internal audit, but it is not a comprehensive resource on financial integrity in churches. In my opinion the book will be most useful for its case studies  providing cautionary tales which should inspire church leaders to implement appropriate risk management measures.

The processes and incentives that companies use to keep focused on their main customers work so well that they blind those companies to important new technologies in emerging markets, and this leaves established companies vulnerable to new entrants who start by using the new technologies to target the low end of the market and gradually work their way upward to squeeze out incumbents in the profitable part of the market. That is the process of digital disruption for which Clayton Christensen is best known, and which is described in several articles in The Clayton M Christensen Reader.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

While bullying says more about the bully than it does about you, you are the one who has to learn to stand up for yourself, according to Lynne Curry in her book Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge. Those who do not stand up to the bully’s initial attack signal they are easy prey and inadvertently encourage continued bullying. Even if what is happening is not your fault, you are the one who must fix it, because you cannot expect the bully to change.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

It is important to understand how the US government has repeatedly and intelligently redesigned the economy in the past, because the market does not undergo an intelligent redesign by itself, according to Stephen Cohen and Bradford DeLong in their book Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy. There are things that matter immensely for an economy that only government can do. If it hesitates, refuses, or botches the job, the problem does not just go away and the economy does not advance as it should.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Most companies fail to create a compelling strategy, or if they do have such a strategy they fail to put it into practice; however, a small number of companies naturally combine strategy and execution in everything they do. According to Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi in their bookStrategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap, the products and services of these companies have an enviable position in the markets they care about, and the firms reliably deliver on their promises. They each have their own unique way of competing, but they all have one thing in common: their success is clearly related to the distinctive way they do things: their capabilities.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.