A Touch of Humor Many Are Called but Most Leave Their Phone Off the Hook: Exploring the Serious, Curious, and Hilarious Sides of Church, Doug Peterson, illustrations by Dan Pegoda, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1992, 208 pages, US$9.99, Cdn$13.50, paper.
Doug Peterson explains the church for us in six chapters corresponding to the six days of Creation. With such chapters as "Let There Be Ministers" and "Let Church Programs Be Fruitful and Multiply," you will never view church life that same boring way again. Besides being humorous, the book challenges and informs.
Pastor Karl's Rookie Year: Twelve Unexpected Truths About Church Life, Karl Beck, illustratons by Kevin Pope, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, III., 1993, 119 pages, US$6.99.
Karl Beck thought he had all the answers when he left seminary, but was he in for a surprise! Here he presents truths that can be learned only through involvement. What are some of the 12 main truths? Churches will accept ordinary, fallible human beings behind the pulpit. People not only know they're sinful--they think they're uniquely awful. At your average church it's easier to introduce a fourth person into the Trinity than to introduce a new carpet pattern into the nave. What are the others? You'll have to read this volume to find out!
Life Application Bible for Students: The Living Bible, David R. Veeman, senior editor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 1992, 1,326 pages, US$24.99, hardcover, US$19.99, paper.
With reference notes written by youth experts who know the concerns youth have, this edition brings the Bible to life for today's teenagers.
Creative Worship Ideas: 70 Meaningful Ways to Involve Teenagers in Worship, Lois Keffer, ed., Group Books, Loveland, Colorado, 1993, 110 pages, US$10.99, paper.
To be authenic, worship needs to be meaningful for the participants. Keffer provides creative ways to involve teenagers in joyful worship. He gives ideas for new angles on the traditional components of church services. Prayer, drama, music, and interaction with the congregation add to the worship experience. "Let this book get you on track for a journey of awesome joy," says youth pastor Steve Case of Piece of the Pie Ministries, Sacramento, California.
Youth Group Trust Builders: 71 Activities to Develop Community in Your Youth Group, Denny Rydberg, Group Books, Loveland, Colorado, 1993, 140 pages, US$15.99, paper.
The Practical Youth Ministry Handbook: 43 No-Fail Ways to Energize Your Ministry, Michael Warden, compiler, Group Books, Loveland, Colorado, 1993, 153 pages, US$12.99, paper.
Before I Thee Wed, Carolyn Shealy Self and William Self, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1989, 144 pages, US$8.00, paper.
Before I Thee Wed grapples with the routine as well as the necessary questions that need to be asked prior to marriage. The routine deals with such topics as money, sex, religion, children, traditions, etc. The necessary raises the issues of why a couple wants to marry and how they define love.
The authors discuss substance use and abuse. They ask important questions relating not only to one's personal life, but the family as well. An engaging chapter titled "Good Advice" gives couples the wisdom of those who have gone before, including all the I wish I hadn't.
Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook: How to Really Get to Know the Person You're Going to Marry, Jerry D. Hardin and Dianne C. Sloan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1992, 252 pages, US$14.95, paper.
Written by two professionals, Get ting Ready comes highly recommended by Dr. Frank Minirth, cofounder of the Minirth-Meier-Byrd Clinics. He states, "It is one of the most thorough work books for couples preparing for marriage." The authors talk about couples loving and knowing each other and understanding each other's family back grounds. Other chapter topics are communication, attitudes, resolving conflicts, religious orientation, money matters, sexual relationships, family planning, and children. Interactive exercises help couples gain insight and apply what they learn from the authors.
The Church at Work
Volunteer Ministries: New Strategies for Today's Church, Margie Morris, Newton-Cline Press, Sherman, Texas, 1990, 160 pages, US$15.95, paper.
The author reminds pastors that volunteers need to be cultivated like a gar den, well planned and cared for. She suggests that each church develop a volunteer coordinator position to help dis cover and develop volunteers. The coordinator would match people and their skills to available jobs. Morris suggests that jobs be created to meet the volunteers' abilities rather than continue positions that have been around for years.
52 Ways to Help Homeless People, Gray Temple, Jr., Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1991, 143 pages, US$7.99, paper.
Have you ever looked with pity at the homeless persons in your city and wondered what you or your church could do? Temple gives obvious yet ignored answers such as "get to know some home less people" and "stop seeing these people as a problem to be solved." But the author also teaches us how to treat the homeless in a personal relationship as well as work for them through organizations. This practical volume is endorsed by former president Jimmy Carter, well-known for his humanitarian work.
Room in the Inn, Ways Your Congregation Can Help Homeless People, Charles F. Strobel, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1992, 111 pages, $7.95, paper.
A step-by-step guide for beginning a facility for homeless persons in a local church.
Hospice Resource Manual for Local Churches, John W. Abbott, ed., Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, Ohio, 1988, 90 pages, US$I0.95, large paperback.
In an age of AIDS and the need for special care for those with this and other terminal diseases, what is the role of the church? At no other time is an individual more open to the gospel and in need of nurture.
This manual discusses personal strategies for coping and provides a biblical basis for hospice. Four models of hospice are described in the manual: independent, hospital-based, home-health agency, and community or coalition approach. There are suggestions for funding the start-up of a hospice, and for an agenda for the future.
Getting Through Grief: Caregiving by Congregations, Ron Sunderland, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1993, 144 pages, $10.95, paper.
Only 3 percent of churches have organized grief ministries. Sunderland shows congregations how and why they need to carry out this important responsibility.
Letters for Every Occasion: A Pastor's Sourcebook, Thomas J. Tozer, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1992, 160 pages, US$11.95, paper.
This practical volume contains more than 100 creative, carefully written letters that can be modified for any occasion. It also includes stewardship and commitment campaign materials.
Pastors will enjoy reading several letters "to write and then shred!"
The Complete Church Newsletter: A Guide to Starting, Strengthening, Renovating, or Resurrecting, Jeffery P. Dennis, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1992. 133 pages, US$7.95, paper.
Clip-Art Activity Features for Children for Church Bulletins and Newsletters, Howard Paris, illustrator, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1992, 104 pages, US$5.95, paper.
Paul! May I Speak With You? Six Dialogues for Bible Study, Marion Fairman, C.S.S. Publishing Co., Inc., Lima, Ohio, 1993. 115pages, $8.75, paper.
Marion Fairman' s dialogues with the apostle Paul provide church groups a unique and creative method of Bible study.
The author, a teacher of literature and writing, uses role playing to make Paul come alive in today's context. In Paul! May I Speak With You? a twentieth-century woman interviews Paul, questioning him about his journeys, his life, and his beliefs. Fairman bases Paul' s answers on Bible texts and their historical background. She includes suggestions for the teacher, Scripture references, historical background, and questions for discussion after completion of each mini-play.
This imaginative way of studying the Bible will bring life to your Sabbath schools and small groups.
Rediscovering Your First Love: The Joys of a Devoted Heart, Ronald F. Bridges, Here's Life Publishers, San Bernardino, California, 1990, 270 pages, US$7.99, paper.
Ron Bridges, a pastor, looks at how and why Christians fall away from the joy they first experienced as new Christians. He tells how his love for the ministry began to wane and what he did about it. Pastors will be challenged by this book and will want to pass on the concepts to their congregations. The book would make an excellent addition to the church library.
Varieties of Prayer: A Survey Report, Margaret M. Poloma and George H. Gallup, Jr., Trinity Press International, Philadelphia, 1991, 142 pages, US$14.95, paper.
This report is an objective study of prayer power in the lives of American people. It analyzes more than 1,000 persons, showing that prayer, usually a solitary act, has social consequences.
Choosing a New Pastor, Henry A. Virkler, Ph.D., Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1992, 250 pages, US$12.95, paper.
To help make the process of choosing a pastor easier, Virkler offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide for search committees. Although written for the congregational-style church, the book addresses related issues such as conflict resolution and saying goodbye to the one who is leaving and hello to the new pastor.
The Television Time Bomb, E. Lonnie Melashenko with Timothy E. Crosby, Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1993, 64 pages, US$1.35, paper.
According to the authors, television is the most potent shaper of thought in America. They show how the entertainment world has conditioned an entire generation in regard to violence and values. The message of the book is not new. One would wish it had not quite painted all television with the same brush. Television has as much potential for good as it does for evil; programs and stations exist that present spiritual and educational fare. Unfortunately Christians have generally abdicated their role in films and television, leaving them in the hands of the secular world.
But the book's purpose is undoubtedly to warn rather than answer questions. For this reason it should be in the hands of every parent in your congregation.
The Overcomers, George E. Vandeman and Mark Finley, Pacific Press, Boise, Idaho, 1992, 94 pages, US$4.95, paper.
"It's nice to have the emotional sup port of a loving family, but," says The Overcomers, "our ultimate hope must be in God alone. No human being can provide that solid-rock foundation for our lives." On this basis the authors discuss overcoming an alcoholic environment, a handicap, spousal abuse, depression, sexual abuse, bankruptcy, and opposition.