We are all weird! Seth Godin was just the first to say it out loud. I’ve read all of Seth Godin’s books and read his blog daily – so when his latest book comes out I’m pretty much first in line. This one is solid once again, focusing on our uniqueness as individuals and challenging leaders instead of thinking of mass we need to think of much smaller tribes. The book feels like an extension of his earlier (fantastic) books Tribes and Linchpin. Good stuff, lots of challenging potential applications to youth ministry.


I’ve read all of Mark Sanborn’s books and just found Up, Down, or Sideways and devoured it this week on the plan ride home from Rwanda. The book’s premise is simple – what are the timeless principles that help you navigate the good, bad and ugly that life throws your way. I love that this book is filled with Christian principles, but isn’t necessarily an overtly-Christian book. Lots of great stuff including chapters on optimism, perspective and priorities. A quick read, encouraging stuff no matter if you are Up, Down or Sideways right now.


I’ve been hearing about Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for way too long and after seeing a 1-day sale on Amazon to pick up the whole trilogy for like $4 I caved and picked it up. I burned through the first novel, far and away the best of the series, and during a couple long flights last week finished up the rest of the series. The books have everything – action, adventure, romance, more action – really creative settings and characters. I’m not usually a fiction guy, in fact, this might be the first series I’ve read in a very long time, but I’m gad I did. I can see why students have been going crazy for it. Awesome.


Book Review: The Seed

 —  November 11, 2011 — Leave a comment

Finished up a couple books lately and my favorite of this last batch was The Seed by Jon Gordon. I’ve ready every one of his fables so far and this one is by far his best. Jon tells the story of Josh, a young man hoping to find his purpose in life. It is a great fictional story – by far Jon’s most spiritual story so far. It is a quick read that might help you discover your purpose, too. Good stuff.


Last week I discovered Stephen Colbert’s 2007 book I Am America (And So Can You!) at our local $2 book fair. I’ve been wanting to pick it up for a while now and it didn’t dissapoint. As usual and as you might suspect, the conservative Colbert rips every one and their mother in his book including conservatives and Christians. Colbert leaves no group excluded from his barrage of verbal beatdowns. With chapters like media, race, immigrants, old people and religion you know he’s looking for a fight. Filled with puns, humor, offensiveness, truth, hilarity and opinion. They will make you laugh out loud, cry, or be completely offended. Really varied and clever humor throughout. Laughed most all of the way through. Gasped a couple times. Frowned a few times. Wondered what it would say about me if you knew I read this book. Decided it didn’t matter. Super funny book.


I’m reading Steve Gladen’s new book, Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities. He’s one of the pastors on staff here at Saddleback and has been heading up the adult small group ministry pretty much forever. If you’re interested in learning how we do small groups, you’ve come to the right place – Steve does a great job of walking you through the model we use and gives some clear reasons why we’ve chosen it and it works for us. Keep in mind this is primarily for our adult programs (you can read more about our student ministry take on small groups in Doug Fields & Matt McGill’s Small Groups from Start to Finish). If you’re looking for a tool to help challenge you in the area of small groups, look no further than right here. Leader training, infrastructure, host homes, health assessment, evaluation, successes and failures – all in the book.

If you’re looking for a quick look at how small groups work at Saddleback (while you’re waiting for your book to arrive from Amazon), check out Saddleback Small Group FAQs or 8 Reasons to Join a Small Group.


This summer I read-most-of-and-skimmed-the-rest of Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love by Mark Scandrette. It was a book that when I got it I thought this was going to be another book challenging safe, complacent Christians to sell-everything-and-live-the-simple-life. And it somewhat is, but a little different from the ones that Shane Claiborne and others made famous. Mark challenges everyone to take part in experiments of faith that challenge us to get outside our comfortable and safe Christian box. He wanders through experiments in community that push us to be more like Christ and more effective for Christ. While this isn’t in my wheelhouse of topics/books I normally read, I liked someone messing with the normal suburban life and pushing us to be more like Jesus and out to the fringe.


Read most of Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them by Ed Stetzer a while back and thought it had some good insights into the spiritual mind of the next generation of students/young adults. It felt like another in the series of books that is hoping to reveal, motivate and train the current church how to reach the next group coming through right now that is spiritually lost. It is based on significant data and extensive research at Lifeway – clearly Ed’s thing if you read his books or blog – so if you read UnChristian, The Slow Fade, Essential Church? you’ll know the drill. Honestly the book felt familiar but definitely worth reading at least for sure the chapter summaries and the conclusions at the end.

1. Creating Deeper Community. Churches that are effective connect young adults into a healthy small group system.

2. Making a Difference through Service. Churches that are transforming young adults value leading people to serve through volunteerism. They want to be a part of something bigger.

3. Experiencing Worship. Churches that are engaging young adults are providing worship environments that reflect their culture while revering and revealing God. They want a vertical experience with God.

4. Conversing the Content. Churches that are lead by authentic communicators are drawing young adults into the message.

5. Leveraging Technology. Churches that are reaching young adults are willing to communicate in a language of technology familiar to young adults.

6. Building Cross-Generational Relationships. Churches that are linking young adults with older, mature adults are challenging young adults to move on to maturity through friendship, wisdom, and support.

7. Moving towards Authenticity. Young adults are looking for and connecting to churches where they see leaders that are authentic, transparent, and on a learning journey.

8. Leading by Transparency. Churches with incarnational leaders, those who express a personal sense of humanity and vulnerability, are influencing young adults.

9. Leading by Team. They see ministry not as a solo enterprise but a team sport.