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Summer 2014 Reading List

Summer 2014 Reading List

As the school year winds down, we all look forward to a new season and perhaps a new schedule. We turn our thoughts to the summer and anticipate simple pleasures like naps in a hammock, bike rides, and diving into a good book or twenty. Regardless of your preferred backdrop (be it beach, mountain cabin, or city café), there’s nothing quite like a lazy summer afternoon spent with a good book.


If you’re looking for a good read, here are a few. We asked our Project Renovation leaders to browse their libraries and find one book they’d definitely re-read this summer and another they can’t wait to get into this summer.

Aaron Brown


A recommended re-read: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

I remember being deeply impacted by this book as a senior in college. Young and idealistic about ministry, this short but deeply thoughtful book challenged me to rethink my weaknesses in the light of ministry and leadership. God uses our greatest weaknesses as the tools for our most lasting ministry to others. Now after nearly ten years in full-time ministry, I wonder what new insights it will reveal.


igodsA new book that’s got me excited: iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives by Craig Detweiler

Detweiler is a professor of communications at Pepperdine University and has written a highly recommended book about the history and current landscape of digital culture. It only feels like yesterday that we were booting up from floppies and now we ask ourselves, “How did we get here?” Detweiler’s book provides a helpful look both backwards and forward.

Ben Myers


A recommended re-read: Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed by Paul Clinton and Robert Stanley

As a systematic policy and procedure kind of guy… this book is great.  Connecting provides a practical framework for mentoring (discipleship) that I have found to be insightful and easy to implement.  When I first read Connecting, I gained a confidence in making discipleswhich alleviated the stress of trying to be everything to everyone.  I highly recommend it for your sanity and your effectiveness in your passionate pursuit to make disciples.



A new book that’s got me excited: Making Room for Leadership by MaryKate Morse

This book came personally recommended by a dear friend.  I know, it’s another book on leadership.  I have read my fair share and have not even scratched the surface.  But, when my friend said that the concepts and ideas in Making Room for Leadership are fresh and new… as if he had never seen them before; I was ready to steal his copy.  I am looking forward to digging into “another” book on leadership.

 Deb Turnow


A recommended re-read: An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor

I love this book because in it Brown explores how we can, through different parts of our life, notice and capture the sacred moments. How do we learn to pay attention to and notice God in our physical work, in our humanness, in our pain, etc.? It is a book to savor, to drink in and to return to over and over.



A new book that’s got me excited: Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

This is a soon-to-be released book in which she addresses the reality of God’s presence in the difficult times of life. Amazon’s description says it all – “Through darkness we find courage, we understand the world in new ways, and we feel God’s presence around us, guiding us through things seen and unseen. Often, it is while we are in the dark that we grow the most.” In my work as a spiritual director, I often see people who are moving through a period of darkness and their view of God is obscured. But, as they journey through they can begin to sense God in new ways and see His hand even in the darkness. I don’t doubt that I will find Learning to Walk in the Dark as meaningful as An Altar in the World. I find that I resonate deeply with the way Barbara Brown Taylor sees the world.

Jerry Higley

emerginghopeA recommended re-read: Emerging Hope: A Strategy for Reaching Postmodern Generations by Jimmy Long

One of the things that I deeply appreciate about this book is that Jimmy Long has made postmodernism and its implications understandable. He takes a quick survey of the cultural landscape before providing a solid theological foundation and a framework for ministry. This is a great read for those of us who are ministering to today’s students.


cultivateA new book that’s got me excited: Cultivate: A Youth Workers Guide to Establishing Healthy Relationships by Matt Wilks

Relationships are at the heart of what we do in student ministry, and I think this new book by Wilks challenges us to rethink our relational world. He covers a wide-variety of relationships; everything from elders to interns and our families to the church down the street. I’m looking forward to gleaning some new thoughts from this book.

Josh Rhodes

renovationA recommended re-read: Renovation of the Church: What Happens when a Seeker Church Discovers Spiritual Formation by Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken

“Why? Having served in megachurch contexts for the past seven years, I am challenged by how the authors have pursued spiritual formation in the midst of large church life. From my own experience, spiritual formation and megachurch leadership can coexist, but not by accident.”


lifeofhavingA new book that’s got me excited: A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough by Wayne Muller

Why? I was first introduced to Wayne Mueller by reading his book entitled Sabbath, which has greatly influenced my life and desire to practice a weekly Sabbath. I picked up his latest book because his message of “enough” resonates deeply with me and my family.

Meredith Dahl

criticalA  recommended re-read: The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith by Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich

After reading this book in my graduate classes, I am excited to re-read these chapters from a non-academic view point. The Critical Journey challenges the reader to observe their spiritual journey and progression in ones faith. It provides input on how we can each grow through the different stages and questions to helps us not get stuck in any particular stage.

Soul-Keeping1A new book that’s got me excited: Soul Keeping: Caring the For the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg

I have not  yet read this book and am excited to read insights from Ortberg on the health of one’s soul. I am also looking forward to reading conversations and thoughts between Ortberg and Dallas Willard, as I have read that there are many comments and insights that are shared in this book between the two. I hope to share some of the items i learn later this summer.

Rick Rhoads

failureA recommended re-read: Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friendman

This book was a profound read, capturing leadership in the age of the quick fix. Friedman uses the context of societal change, capitalism, spiritual formation and family systems therapy to create an understanding of healthy vs. unhealthy leadership in modern day. A fascinating read for any wanting to look internal at how we arrive at getting things done.


activehopeA new book that’s got me excited: Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

Active Hope is a fascinating book I’ve skimmed but definitely want to process on a deeper level. It combines spiritual formation language with justice to explore what Macy calls “The Great Unraveling.” The books walks the reader through three major stories of our time… capturing a more robust understanding of formation in the early 21st century…

Well that’s our list for Summer 2015. What would you recommend? Leave a comment below and share your favorite re-read or an anticipated new one on your list.

  1. Dan Puz04-29-14

    Sweet post. I will be picking a few of these up for sure!

    • Richard_Rhoads04-30-14


      after reading, I’d love to process key take-aways which emerged for you. Grateful for you my friend, Rick