I have two books to recommend to you today, both of which were provided to me electronically for review by the publishers. Both books get five thumbs up from me, but for different reasons.

nullIngredients of Outliers: Women Game Changers is a fun, easy read that presents six women who have made significant contributions in their fields. In many ways, this book reminded me of the women church planter’s cohort that I developed last year, where a group of women who were considering church planting (or were in the beginning stages) got together each week for two hours, and we brought in guests – women church planters – who told us their stories and let us interview them. This is a powerful method for women to learn – and this book at least leans in that direction, as we learn the story of powerful women and listen to them as they answer questions.

In this book you will meet Sharon Guynup, a photographer, writer and journalist; Jane Hamilton, a novelist and short story writer; Christine Jones, CPA, Attorney and Gubernatorial Candidate (and the one I learned the most from); Jenny McClendon, a mother of 7 who works for home as a physician assistant on MeMD (yes, we can find innovative ways to support our families); Mildred M.G.Olivier, MD, Ophthalmologist who serves on many boards (also a great person to learn from); and Marsha Ternus, the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Women have different obstacles than men, and we learn with both sides of our brains. Whereas we can receive the instruction that is handed down through the generations, there is something about listening to other women tell their stories that help us circumnavigate those internal barriers that we often barrel into.

nullDiscipleship that Fits by Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom is excellent and should be read by pastors and students of ministry. In short, the book talks about the 5 sociological structures (Public (large crowds), Social (20-70 people); Personal (4-12 people), Transparent (one or two other people); Divine (you and God)) that we gather in and outlines the simple truths that 

  1. “God disciples us
  2. God disciples us through relationships
  3. God disciples us through relationships differently in different relational contexts.” (l. 314)

consequently, leaders need to look at the 5 sociological structures (or relational contexts) and understand the unwritten agreements that are already inherent in each to best be part of what God is doing in that context. (Social agreements would be something like you don’t share your most personal information with complete strangers.)

I am a big believer in whole-life discipleship – that God is always at work and that He uses every situation to mature and form us to be more like Him. This book is a fantastic and fascinating look at this through a particular lens.