Summer Reading 2021

by: Shannon Youell, CBWC Director of Church Planting (and initiatives)

It’s time for my Annual Summer Reading List! 

This year I am featuring books that I’ve read or am working my way through.  This past year I’ve been working my way through some of the books around topics that challenge the church.   I offer two of the ones that I found most helpful in seeing the historical, theological and ethical contexts. I also include a commentary that I am thoroughly enjoying, and a couple of books helpful for us as we re-think and re-form our church communities around the mission of God in our time.  Without any further ado, let’s dive in!  Let me know if you tackled any of these and perhaps consider writing a review. 

Two Views on Homosexuality; the Bible; and the ChurchMegan K. De Franca, Wesley Hill, Stephen R. Holmes, William Loader – from Zondervan’s Counterpoints Series – editor Preston Sprinkle (from the Center for Faith and Sexuality) 

I have read a variety of books from differing viewpoints on this topic.  I find this book to be one of the most helpful I’ve read as the essayists both articulate their viewpoint and interact with one another’s essays.  Contributors are four “accomplished scholars in the fields of biblical studies, theology and topics related to sexuality and gender”; two from an affirming position and two from a non-affirming position.  For each view, the editors “intentionally enlisted one theologian and one biblical scholar to articulate and defend each of the two views.  I quite appreciated the respectful, academic, theological, ethical and pastoral tone with which each approached the topic and how in each essay I discovered things that I both agreed with, disagreed with and was challenged in my thinking on. 

The making of Biblical Womanhood:  How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr 

Anyone who knows my husband knows he is a history geek.  I, regretfully, was not, (being far more of how-do-we-live-now-so-we-do-well-in-the-future kind of thinker), until I studied Church History!  Then I started reading history in general and realized that as much as I love Church history, reading it removed and outside of political, economic, social and cultural histories was reading it out of context.   

Beth Allison Barr is a historian, a Christian and a professor of history at Baylor University.  Her studies in history, and in particular her academic specialties in European women, medieval and early modern England, and church history disrupted her understanding of complementarianism that she understood from her Southern Baptist roots.   Written with well-honed academic muscle in a very accessible narrative, Barr tackles the idea of Biblical Womanhood from scripture, history and church practice over the centuries.  She poses, using and citing historical evidence, that the concept of “Biblical Womanhood” was constructed by the patterns of patriarchy in societies and cultures and how, over the centuries, they seeped into the church.  

Whatever your view of women in the church, this is a must read and, in my humble opinion, should be added to the reading list of all seminaries.   

The Story of God Bible Commentary:  Genesis by Tremper Longman III 

This is the seventh commentary in this series that I own (thank you Kindle!).  This Commentary series delves into the meaning of the text both in the past and for us today.  Each commentary uses the pattern of Listen to the Story; Explain the Story; and Live the Story.   I love reading commentaries and I am really enjoying this offering written by Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College.  Genesis has always been one of my favorite OT books (to be honest there are many!) and Longman guides the reader through the richness of this book of ‘beginnings’.   

What is the church and why does it exist?  by David Fitch 

Practices, Presence and Places.  These 3 P’s shape Fitch’s recent book calling the church to renewal in our disruptive times.  As Fitch writes in his Introduction: 

“When things get chaotic, and no longer seem to make sense, we must go back to the “what” and the “why” questions. We must ask all over again: What are we doing here when we gather as the church and why are we doing it? Only then can we get to the “how” question. Only then can we discern how to be faithful to who we are and the mission we have been given. Perhaps this is a cultural moment that offers us an opportunity to reset the church in North America. Perhaps this is an ideal time for Christians everywhere to reexamine what it means to be the church. It is an occasion for us to ask all over again what we are doing here, who we are, and how we should live as a part of the local church.” 

 This book is for those who have long had a sense that God is reshaping us as his church for just such a time of this and for those who just know something has changed and yet don’t know what it all means.  I recommend this for all who love the church that God loves and long to see God’s kingdom flourish right where you live, work, play and pray. 

Why Would Anyone Go To Church? By Kevin Makin 

Kevin Makin is a church planter and pastor of Eucharist Church in Hamilton Ontario, a church associated with Canadian Baptists of Ontario & Quebec (CBOQ).  In his book, he tells the story of the planting and establishing of an innovative and creative community that engages both people of faith and those seeking for some kind of meaning.   For Kevin and his team the big question was planting within the context of the next generation.  They asked themselves big and important questions:  “What does Christian community look like for this next generation?” “Who will it be for?” And the big one: “Why would anyone go to church?”  

Kevin writes in his introduction: “People ask me if I’m surprised that so many are leaving the church. Surprised? Are you kidding me? I can’t believe anyone still does this church thing. And yet they do. For two thousand years, people have continued to be a part of the church, despite war and persecution and corruption and organ music. Why has church survived? Surely something has made it so meaningful to so many people for such a long period of time. That’s what we were trying to understand when we started a new church a decade ago. What we discovered is that few of our peers are interested in competing with the culture around us. The Jesus followers I know aren’t sticking with the church because church is better than a concert or more interesting than a podcast. They’re staying because there are primordial elements of Christian community that are far more rooted than all that superficial fluff.” 

 Kevin’s book is written with humility and candor of the triumphs and challenges of planting something contextual and cultural that invites people to faith whether it is an ‘old’ faith or a ‘new’ faith.  This is a fun and insightful quick read – I read it in a day.  

Eucharist has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative churches in the country and spotlighted on national television and radio outlets, in newspapers, and on podcasts. 

Pick up one or more of these (or download onto your e-reader) and let me know your thoughts/reviews on books.  Happy Summer Reading friends! 

Shannon Youell – Director of Church Planting CBWC 

Reading and Resources: Summer 2020

By Cailey Morgan

My church, Southside, is hosting a series of online and hybrid kids’ day camps under the banner “A Summer Like No Other.” I can’t think of a more fitting way to characterize the season we find ourselves in! Let’s take advantage of the opportunities being presented to us to engage in growth, discipleship and introspection this summer. 

Here are a few books that Larry, Shannon and I thought might be helpful, and online resource ideas to help fuel your summer development:


BTW.jpgBy the Way by Derek Vreeland
We’ve mentioned this book before, but we think it bears repeating in this very different season we find ourselves in. Vreeland gives us tools to us refocus on what discipleship is meant to be, re-introducing the ways of Jesus with the type of tangible, straightforward approach that we should all be taking. What new imagination can we glean as we journey alongside those we disciple towards Christ? ~Cailey Morgan 


BolsingerIt Takes a Church to Raise a Christian by Tod Bolsinger
“…there is a considerable chasm separating us from who we are—I mean “we” as a corporate people, we as the indivisible body of Christ—and who we are to become. While we may be saved from hell and assured that we’ll never be separated from God, we aren’t living the manner of life we were built for, we aren’t making the difference that we could make together, and we’re not drawing people to the form of life-giving fellowship that they and we crave.” 

With these words in mind, Bolsinger takes the pastor/leaders of the local church through a spiritual theology of “being” church.  His push-back on our culture of individual pursuit that has infected our own understanding of being church, reminds us that the formation of followers of Jesus who are distinguishable to the world happens only within a community “…in which God mystically transforms believers together into the likeness of Christ as the primary means of reaching a lost world.” 

If you and your community are yearning for seeing transformed lives within your community that shine beyond your community, this book is a must read. ~Shannon Youell


With by Skye Jethani
After demolishing four substitute messages, Life From God, Life Over God, Life Under God and Life for God,  Skye fleshes out his vision of “Life With God,” using the triad of Faith, Hope and Love. Where does the book fall short? It focuses almost exclusively on the individual without recognizing that we are part of a community of faith. Why read it? My early faith walk was filled with the clear message of live my life for God and I cannot ever recall hearing any mention of the possibility of a life with God.

I found this book to be both freeing and inspiring. ~Larry Schram 


Online Resources 

  • Our friends at New Leaf Network are hosting a book club starting July 9 to engage Joel Theissen and Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme’s new book None of the Above: Nonreligious Identity in the US and Canada. About the Book: “Almost a quarter of American and Canadian adults are nonreligious, while teens and young adults are even less likely to identify religiously. None of the Above explores the growing phenomenon of ‘religious nones’ in North America. Who are the religious nones? Why, and where, is this population growing?”
  • Speaking of relevant Canadian content, you won’t want to miss Missional Commons’ summer webinar series (July 7, 14, 21)  featuring David Fitch, Ruth Padilla-DeBorst, Cam Roxburgh and more.
  • Fuller Formation is offering a whole range of content as a free trial until September, including Tod Bolsinger’s new course “Guiding Your Church Through the Pandemic.” While these courses are based on American content, we believe you will find yourself stretched, equipped and encouraged by the content Fuller Formation is offering.  

What’s on your summer reading list? Have you discovered new podcasts or online resources to share? Leave a comment here!

Engaging Gospel: A Fall reading list

By Shannon Youell

As in any recommended reading list, there are books that have challenged and stretched our thinking, books that we highlight every page, books that we can’t quite grasp the view being taken (yet feel compelled to explore further) and books that transform our thinking.  Though we may not agree with everything being developed, we have found within the pages much to help us understand the Good News in refreshing ways that encourage us to press in to being devoted, obedient followers of Jesus on mission.

Each books here has, in its own way, helped us to understand the Good News of God’s Kingdom both here on earth through Christ’s followers, and into all eternity beyond.


The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – in the context of the Whole Story of God and Humans: Here is the main reading: the first four books of the New Testament. My premise is that we often forget the in-between story. We focus on the birth and the death and resurrection, the cross and the forgiveness that flows from that sacrifice, but somehow minimize  parts of the story in between.

All of it is the Gospel! All of it equally important to our understanding of God’s redemptive and restorative work in his world. Read these again and again and again. Find Good News in all of it.  Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord of all our lives, both now and forever.

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard: The Gospel, which is Jesus, is thick and full when we integrate the salvation actions of Jesus (his death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sinful natures and actions and his resurrection of invitation to new and transformed lives beginning here and now) and the teaching of Jesus.  It would be remiss to skip over the teachings, which Jesus spent the majority of his time in ministry saying and which pertain to how we live life as his salt and light in this life,  and just get to the wonderous glory of eternal life with God after our physical bodies leave this world.  They are not separate from one another.

Willard’s classic has shaped and reshaped Christians understanding of this for decades.  His treatment of the teachings of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, brings living colour to the mission of Jesus here on earth to inaugurate God’s kingdom creation of redemption, reconciliation and restoration to all his creation and created.

Living the Sermon on the Mount by Glen H. Stassen: In the same vein, Stassen and his earlier work with David Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, helps us to see richly into the kingdom of God Jesus taught those first followers to live into.

Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us by Scot McKnight: Here’s a review of this book from pastor and author John Ortberg. “For too long, grace has been misunderstood as being nothing more than punishment avoidance. But God’s grace was flourishing long before the first sin was ever committed. Scot McKnight, in his thoughtful and provocative way, helps us think again about the comprehensiveness of grace and the robust nature of the gospel. This is a book for people who want not only to be ‘saved’ by grace, but to live by grace.”

And here’s what Ross Wagner, Professor of New Testament Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary has to say about it: “With grace, humility, and wit, (this book) offers a compelling vision of the breath-taking scope of the gospel—that in Jesus Christ, God is at work restoring broken people to full humanity in loving community with God and with one another, for the salvation of all creation…This is a message to be pondered, savored, embraced, and embodied.”

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper: “For all of us struggling with how the good news of Jesus should impact not just our own lives, but also speak to the injustices in our world, this book brings the threads together and paints a glorious picture of God’s redemptive work in creation.”  Ken Wytsma, president of Kilns College.

We need to recover the whole Christian Gospel, the wholeness of the church, the wholeness of relationship….My wish is that Christians, and non-Christians alike, read this book.”  Jim Wallis, author

Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good by N.T. Wright: “What if the good news Jesus came to announce is much bigger, much better, and includes much more than merely what happens after we die? Scholar N.T. Wright reveals what the gospel really is how it can transform our todays just as much as our tomorrows.” Here’s a video from Tom Wright on the topic.

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright: Here’s the GoodReads synopsis: “New Testament scholar N.T. Wright reveals how we have been misreading the Gospels for centuries, powerfully restoring the lost central story of the Scripture: that the coronation of God through the acts of Jesus was the climax of human history. Wright fills the gaps that centuries of misdirection have opened up in our collective spiritual story, tracing a narrative from Eden, to Jesus, to today. Wright’s powerful re-reading of the Gospels helps us re-align the focus of our spiritual beliefs, which have for too long been focused on the afterlife. Instead, the forgotten story of the Gospels reveals why we should understand that our real charge is to sustain and cooperating with God’s kingdom here and now. Echoing the triumphs of Simply Christian and The Meaning of Jesus, Wright’s How God Became King is required reading for any Christian searching to understand their mission in the world today.”

Evangelism for “Normal” People by John Bowen: John was Professor of Evangelism at Wycliffe College from 1997-2013. I found this book incredibly helpful in understanding that very scary evangelism word. Cailey recently heard John speak and his comment was that he would only change one thing in the book if he were to write it again: He would move chapter 10, “What is the Gospel,” to the very beginning of the book.

John helps us see the Gospel and the things we believe about it in a way that takes the scary out of sharing the incredible Good News to those who are looking for good news in so many areas of life.  He looks at the many different ways the Big Story of God engages people…what might be amazing news that God is Father to one, may not get the next person so excited–but they might find God in the story of the creation of all things, or in physical healing or in deliverance from a shame they have carried around as a millstone. Good news must actually be good to the person hearing it and Jesus has shown us many ways to engage people and draw them into God’s Story.

What Good is God by Phillip Yancey: We’ve included the link  here to the introduction of this book as Yancey does a good job of raising questions our not-yet-Christian friends may have.

Do you have books to add to this list? Leave us a comment on the blog!

Find out more about the Engaging Gospel series.

Engaging in Mission: Practical Ideas for Summertime

By Cailey Morgan

As Canada Day approaches each year, I get the urge to remind us all about the opportunities we have in warm-weather-months to take Jesus’ words about loving our neighbours literally and seriously. And as we do, we will find out what fun it actually is to engage in mission on a very small and relational level (I would venture even “mustard seed” small!)

blockmap-1(1).jpg recommends starting small: get to know the names of your literal neighbors.

Although our shared ministry priority of “Engaging in Mission” can mean big things like multiplying churches, those big things only happen as a culmination of a whole bunch of these tiny things coming together.

So, whether you already spend your mornings on your front porch like Heartland Regional Minister Mark Doerksen does, or don’t tend to show your face in your neighbourhood other than through the window of your car, here are a few simple musings and practical ways we can engage in mission in our own homes or on our own streets.

And speaking of Brad, check out Lance Ford and Brad Brisco’s Next Door as it is in Heaven. Leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a note if you’re willing to write a short review of the book for this blog. The first person to respond will get a free copy of the book sent to you!

What else are you doing this summer to bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God to your contexts? What are you reading? Share your ideas and resources with us by commenting here or shooting me an email:

News and Notes: Summer Reading

CBWC Executive Minister Jeremy Bell sends out a weekly enewsletter, News and Notes, to share various aspects of denominational life. The most recent issue contains the summer reading lists of several of our friends from across the West. About a month ago I shared some reading ideas, but I thought it would be nice to share others’ lists as well. Below, I have reposted Jeremy’s newsletter from July 29. ~Cailey

Summer Reading

Dear friends,

My Father’s Day card for my dad this year was a picture of a very much younger man, reading a book on the beach, with his feet resting on an even large stack of summer reading. Call that an archaic way of absorbing information, or call it what it is – bliss!

Jeremy-Bell10As a model of truly eclectic reading, I turn to my mother Elizabeth (who is extremely and broadly well read) and my wife Kerry. I am a collector of biographies, and have been reading historical fiction and biographies since the age of 7. I am a history major, I did guided study with J. Edwin Orr (a great Irish evangelist and historian of revivals), and Geoffrey Bromiley, from whom I learned historical theology and church history. Bromiley also did a guided study on William Wilberforce and the relationship between the Clapham Sect and the Utilitarians. I feel like the matchmaker Yentil from Fiddler on the Roof, putting book and person together, to which Shelby Gregg asks “is there anything better?” Sure some things, but not a lot.

I have asked several people from a broad range of backgrounds to tell us of their summer reading. By the time you get this, we will be into summer, but dig in, buy, borrow, or simply vicariously enjoy.

The peace of the Lord be with you.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Michael Engbers (FBC Prince Albert, SK)

The next seven books on my reading list, in no specific order are:

Static Jedi by Eric Samuel Timm – This was a gift from a ministry group doing a presentation at our church and it speaks to the noise in the world and how that can challenge our ability to listen to God.

Mentoring Leaders by Carson Pue – a book someone gave me as they cleaned out their library. I’ve had a number of conversations about mentoring lately and thought this would be a good read on that topic to help me expand my understanding of what it means.

Affirming the Apostles Creed by J I Packer – This fall I’m doing a sermon series using the Apostles Creed as an outline for the series. Thought this would be a good way to dive into some of the preparation for the series.

A Failure of Nerve – Edwin Friedman – I read an earlier book by him called Generation to Generation and wanted to read some more of what he has to say about how organizations are like families and how we can lead them.

What’s in a Phrase? – Marilyn Chandler McEntyre – this author has been mentioned to me before, and so I grabbed this book for a more devotional style reading.

Necessary Endings – Dr. Henry Cloud – Not planning any major endings soon, so to me the best time to read on something is before you deal with it. I also know that I can hold on and be hesitant to bring an ending to something, and I hope this gives me some insights into the topic to chew over.

The God of Hope and the End of the World by John Polkinghorne – this book was recommended by a friend who is an Anglican Priest. The book is written by a man who is a theoretical physicist and Anglican priest. The recommendation is that it’s a very intriguing read so to me it was worth giving some time too.

Colin Godwin (President, Carey Theological College)

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. This is a short read (only 150 pages) that I haven’t cracked open since my undergraduate days. One of my personal, academic and spiritual interests is virtue. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman general and former persecutor of Christians, may have become a Christian later in life. In any case, he was an outstanding leader, and his thoughts on Temperance; Fortitude; Prudence and Justice influenced the theology of the early Church.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. If you are an introvert or are married to one, I highly recommend looking at the TED talk that Susan Cain did in 2012. It is also a great introduction to her book.

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. ‘What do others think about me?’ seems to be a rather universal question. Alain de Bouton takes a philosophical and humourous look at the human obsession with measuring up. I hope to gain some further insights about the consumeristic and status-conscious culture that has invaded Canada.

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. Part of ambition is modeling yourself after those you’d like to be like. Austin’s philosophy of ruthlessly stealing and remixing the greats might sound appalling at first but it is actually the essence of art. I’m a big fan of innovation so I look forward to some insights from Austin Kleon.

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity by Kory Kogan, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne, time management and productivity experts at Franklin Covey. Our most valuable (and limited) resource is time. I look forward to hearing a few more good insights about how to focus my energies on the most important things in my life, including work, family and my faith.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Another one of my personal, academic and spiritual interests is power. In recent years, I have read about power and powerlessness as it shapes international development work in Africa (and elsewhere). In the 48 Laws of Power, Greene provides an unashamed view on how power actually works in practice, both for good and for ill (but mostly for ill, I think). Jesus taught us a different way (Matthew 5-7; 1 Corinthians 1:18), but it is nonetheless useful to understand how the world ‘works’.

Why Mars And Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress by John Gray. I missed the entire series of ‘Mars and Venus’ books on gender and relationships when I was overseas. I picked this one up and look forward to reading it with an eye on both the book and Canadian culture.

Three books from Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory and a devout Christian: Managing the Nonprofit Organization, The Effective Executive and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Two of these I have read before but want to reacquaint myself. I look forward to reading The Effective Executive for the first time, as well as the ‘sequel’ written by Larry Bossidy, Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done.

Carey’s VP Academic, Dr. Chung-Yan Joyce Chan, has had her second book published: William Dean and the First Chinese Study Bible. In addition to being written by a colleague and friend, this book fits well into my longstanding interest in Bible literacy and its role in global evangelism.

The Carey Hall Board of Administration will be working on some strategic planning in the fall. In preparation for this, I will be reviewing two important books: Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman and Extraordinary Board Leadership: the keys to high impact governing by Doug Eadie.

Finally, some fiction reading, two classic science fiction stories: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1973) and Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970).

Faye Reynolds (Women and Intergenerational Ministries)

For light reading I like to pick up a Jodi Picoult and John Grisham read because they usually have some moral or ethical dilemma or issue of injustice that they deal with, so entertainment with some thought-provoking content. This year’s titles were: Handle with Care (JP) and Grey Mountain (JG)

By chance I picked up The Road by Cormac MacCarthy and it was a rather dark, apocalyptic read of a father and son trying to travel south with few supplies and resources after some catastrophic event that has left most dead in a grey, smoke filled world with a few bad people and a few good people. The challenge was to meet up with the good ones and not the bad. It purportedly speaks of the enduring human spirit and the light of goodness that survives, but I found more darkness than light in his tale.

The Reason for God: Timothy Keller. I am not usually drawn to Apologetic writings but Keller has been insightful on a few fronts and since I had also recently read Love Wins by Rob Bell, it was nice to have a counter perspective on eternal consequences. The most helpful point Keller makes for me is that if we do not believe in some kind of after-life accounting of deeds done, then humans have tendency to mete out justice on our own terms in this life, and vengeance perpetuates violence. When we truly trust God to sort out justice, knowing full well that he is righteous and gracious and merciful, we are less likely to take things into our own hands in this life.

I have a few favourite authors that I like to revisit in the summer like meeting up with old friends again. Frederick Buechner, Walter Wangerine Junior and Madeline L’Engle are on the top of the list and this summer I have chosen to re-read L’Engle’s Genesis Trilogy. She has an amazing way of seeing the humanness of the Biblical characters while embracing the miraculous within their life tales as God works with them, through them and often in spite of them. She understands so well the art of story that allows her to enter into the lives of the central characters in Genesis at almost a literal, face-value approach, and yet bring them into today as our stories that continue to speak into our personal faith journeys. A few of her illustrations are dated, but her insights are timeless and she is a master with words.

Aaron Dyck (Senior Pastor, Gateway Baptist Church, Victoria, BC)

1. Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper – Ben Witherington III

Ben’s always been a favourite of mine. Gateway is the most theologically diverse church I’ve ever been a part of, and our community’s backgrounds range from un-churched to Pentecostal, from Closed Brethren to Catholic and beyond. One of the places these collide is Communion, or “the Lord’s Supper.” Witherington re-frames the Lord’s Supper in such a way that not only invites disparate persons to the table, but demands it.

2. Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony – Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

This is my third read through this book, and it is proving as prophetic as ever. Published in 1993, its call for the Church to be the Church, and the observations of the consequences when it tries too hard to relate with culture, is spot on.

Mark Doerksen (Heartland Regional Minister)

These are the books on my reading list for the summer. If the fishing is good, my reading list will dwindle significantly.

Daniel Block, Deuteronomy: The NIV Application Commentary. I audited a course by Dan Block this spring, and I have been reading this commentary since. His spin on the book would be that of recovering the gospel according to Moses, and he speaks much about how the Israelites would have seen the covenant as a grace to their community.

Daniel Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship. Dan spoke of this book in his class a bit, and I’ve long been interested in the topic. Dan tries hard to convince his readers that worship is not about our enjoyment, but about whether or not God is pleased with our worship. I think it’s a good reminder for us all.

Timothy Keller, Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism. I am always interested in perspectives on preaching and teaching, and I find Tim Keller to be quite a good communicator, and so I’m going to try and get through this one.

Gary V. Nelson & Peter M. Dickens, Leading in Disorienting Times. The name Gary Nelson was familiar to me, so I picked this book up and look forward to reading it. I agree that these are disorienting times for society and the church, and I’m interested to see what these authors have to say about leading in such a time as this.

Mark McKim, Christian Theology for a Secular Society: Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land. Mark is the pastor at First Baptist Regina, and loves theology and having people learn more about theology. I picked this up in the fall, and am looking forward to completing it. The topic is related to Nelson’s book, and I appreciate Mark’s motivation as he writes. He attempts to relate Christian teachings to a secular society and to what is happening in the local church.

N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Part 1. I have been working on this for a while now, and it’s one of those books that I want to finally complete. A caption on the back of the book says that Wright explores the whole context of Paul’s thought and activity and then shows how those influences enabled him to engage with the many complexities the early churches were facing.

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Summer Reading Ideas

by Cailey Morgan

Summer is here, which will give many of us a chance to unplug and recharge–yes, somehow those verbs are compatible–and hopefully that means reading!


If you’re looking for some inspiration, her are several helpful book reviews our readers have put together for this blog.

Below are a few other books we’d suggest checking out over the summer. These books are still available through our review offer, where we’ll send you the book for free if you’ll send us a review when you finish it!

If you would like to participate in our review initiative, email me at with the name of the book you would like to review, and your mailing address.


PS: If you’re one of those folks who received a book from us, but it’s been sitting on the shelf half-read for a couple months, now is your chance to finish it up and send in your review!

Good Reads

by Cailey Morgan

I’ve been trying to find some books that might be a help to our CBWC church plants and encourage those considering a new work. However, neighbourhood mission and church multiplication are extremely context-bound, making it always a struggle to offer models and frameworks that would help everyone.

6365101775_3eef9a5c39_zThat being said, we can always learn from the examples and ideas of others. JR Woodward of the V3 Church Planting movement has compiled a list of his top ten books on church planting, and I’ll list them here.

But what do you think? Can you provide feedback on any of these books? Or what other voices should be part of this conversation?

Click here for Woodward’s full post which includes commentary on each work selected.

Check back next week to find out how to get a church planting book for free!

Everybody Has Something to Say About Church Planting! How about you?

It seems that everyone is talking about planting new churches. Church Plants come in all shapes, sizes, types, and philosophies.

There are books about planting missional churches, 21st-century churches, successful churches (do people write books about planting unsuccessful ones?).

Church-Planting-wimpsI love some of the titles:

There are also some terrific authors and practioners, including Ed Stetzer (a prolific writer/blogger with lots of good stuff to say, Michael Frost (for the folks who like it straight up), Alan Hirsch (an Aussie globetrotter with lots of penetrating insights), Sean Benesh (planting in urban contexts and a personal favourite), Frank Viola (for the organic flavor of church planting), and the list goes on.

Check out this link to some of the better reads. If you’ve read some of the authors I’d love to hear your insights.

Who knows, maybe someday you’ll write a book saying something about your church planting experiences. I’d love to get a copy!

That’s my story – for now.