And with insight-packed new books on practical theology, congregational leadership, worship, biblical studies, and more coming out each year, it’s easy for us to keep our annual tradition from going out of style.
Here, then, are a few selections from our 2014 featured collection of books for pastors. Click to view the complete collection on our website, or read on to discover five great books . . .
Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession
Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher
This book offers a model of profound and accessible congregational prayer. At once inspirational and practical, it will empower and equip laypeople and clergy alike to offer heartfelt, informed, and appropriate prayers on behalf of the people of God. As Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher say, “Interceding in public worship is a duty. This book is intended to make it a joy.”
Shaping the Prayers of the People begins by considering what public prayer is and offering practical guidelines for avoiding common pitfalls. It explores prayer as an integral part of worship and discusses the language we need (and don’t need) to address God. Significantly, the book also provides an array of example prayers along with commentary.
“In our American culture where prayer is relentlessly individualized, Wells and Kocher gather us into a community understood comprehensively — public worship that takes seriously and devoutly both congregation and world. They pull us out of our private isolation into something large where God is working largely — and all of this written in prose that is both accurate and alive.”
— Eugene H. Peterson
Click to read an EerdWord excerpt from this book.
People — frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated — are the most difficult part of leadership; they challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. In this book Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.
Toughest People to Love explores the basics of how people “tick,” encouraging leaders to examine and take care of themselves so that they can better understand and care for others. Based on DeGroat’s wealth of experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this book — both wise and practical — is one that countless leaders will go back to time and again for valuable insights and renewed vision.
Worship with Gladness: Understanding Worship from the Heart
Joyce Ann Zimmerman
In this invitingly written, deeply joyful book, Joyce Ann Zimmerman makes Scripture her foundation as she explores the meaning and purpose of authentic Christian worship today.
Zimmerman discusses such subjects as the common elements of worship that transcend denominational boundaries, what Scripture tells us about participating in worship, and how authentic worship expresses itself in daily living.
Each section concludes with thoughtful prompts that will encourage readers to reflect on and apply what Zimmerman discusses.
“For those looking for an accessible and ecumenically sensitive discussion of worship, this is the book they have been looking for. Zimmerman provides a wonderfully clear picture of what all Christians share in worship and how they can think together about their worship. The book’s special value is its lay focus and its ability to make complex issues understandable, even engaging. . . . Perfect for a church study group.”
— William Dyrness, Fuller Theological Seminary
Distance in Preaching: Room to Speak, Space to Listen
Michael A Brothers
Based on several years of teaching and careful observation in preaching classes, this book by Michael Brothers explores the benefits of “distance” in preaching — and listening to — sermons.
Having noticed that sermon listeners generally want to be given room for their own interpretations and experiences, Brothers argues that critical and aesthetic distance as a hermeneutical tool is vital to hearing the gospel today and should be intentionally employed in sermon construction and delivery. He explains this “distance” in the field of homiletics, equips teachers and students of preaching to evaluate the function of distance in sermons, and encourages preachers to practice the use of distance in their preaching.
Read an excerpt from the book here on EerdWord.
The Spiritual Practice of Remembering
We often dismiss history as dull or irrelevant, but our modern disengagement from the past puts us fundamentally out of step with the long witness of the Christian tradition. Yet, says Margaret Bendroth, the past tense is essential to our language of faith, and without it our conversation is limited and thin.
This accessible, beautifully written book presents a new argument for honoring the past. The Christian tradition gives us the powerful image of a vast communion of saints, all of God’s people, both living and dead, in vital conversation with each other. This kind of connection with our ancestors in the faith, Bendroth maintains, will not happen by wishing or by accident. She argues that remembering must become a regular spiritual practice, part of the rhythm of our daily lives as we recognize our world to be, in many ways, a gift from others who have gone before.
Read an EerdWord excerpt from the book.