3 Books that Enhanced My Ministry

All leaders are in debt to authors whose books provide practical ministry help.  Here are three authors whom I can’t begin to repay.

1.        Larry Richards, Creative Bible Teaching.  (Revised, Updated version with Gary Bredfeldt, 1998)

As a Christian educator, I’ve examined scores of books on teaching, learning, and classroom methodology.  But CBT remains my #1 recommendation for teachers.

For thinkers and theologians, Larry’s section on “studying the Bible” shows how important one’s doctrine of Scripture is to how one communicates itElsewhere in the book he examines how people learn, and the implications for teaching them.   The theoretical foundation he provides for the various steps in a lesson plan enables one to write his or her own lessons effectively, and adapt published curriculum materials.  Larry’s explanation of how to increase the likelihood of application is alone worth the price of the book.

Put simply, CBT changed the way I think about teaching, and made it easier to apply classes that later trained me in the teaching/learning process.  Get the book.  Highlight it.  Strive to apply its ideas the next time you teach.  If you don’t agree that it helped, I’ll give you back the money you paid for the book.

2.        Charles Spurgeon, Lectures To My Students

This book consists of talks Spurgeon gave to a group of prospective pastors in training for vocational ministry.  But anyone who regularly teaches Bible, including Sunday School workers and women’s Bible study leaders, can profit from much of the book’s content.

Spurgeon discusses everything from the private life of a pastor to his public prayers; from discouragement of leaders to the care needed for casual conversations; from the Holy Spirit’s role in Bible teaching to oratorical skills (gestures, posture, etc.); from evangelistic sermons to the selection and use of illustrations.  For example, he wrote, “Illustrations are not the strength of a message any more than windows are the strength of a building.  Too many openings for light detract from the stability of the building.”

Your library is incomplete until its shelves contain a marked-up, dog-eared copy of Lectures To My Students.  He speaks to the head, heart, and hands of the teacher of Bible.

3.       Ken Sande, The Peacemaker

Sande puts a positive spin on conflict, citing it as an opportunity for personal growth and for enhancement of God’s reputation.  Every chapter teems with Scripture, and ends on a strong note of application.

The author identifies the various approaches to or styles of responding in a conflict situation. He explains how to tell if an issue is worth fighting over. He outlines procedures for restitution, restoration, and church discipline. Perhaps my primary takeaway is the habit of asking these questions when I’m embroiled in relational tension:  In my handling of this situation, how can I be a good steward of God’s reputation? What character trait is the Lord wanting to cultivate in me through this circumstance?  Who can I serve better in this situation?

You’ll also want to visit the extensive resources for conflict management at the website for Peacemaker Ministries.

What books have shaped you as a teacher or leader?

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