Category Archives: Reviews

What’s been inspiring us this month

Daring Greatly on AmazonLiesel Reimer on Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I really appreciated Brené Brown’s insight about the relationship hope has with goals and strategies. She wrote that hope happens when:

1) “We have the ability to set realistic goals,”
2) “We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes.”
3) “We believe in ourselves.”
It was really useful to read during the week leading up to teaching young people at Newpark Comprehensive School about the importance of making a plan, especially since we want to equip them to become sources of hope in their communities.


Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry - Andrew RootAshleigh Harrison on Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry – moving from a strategy of influence to a theology of incarnation by Andrew Root

Reading this I have been challenged by Roots depiction of how youth ministry has often become about influencing our young people into following certain behaviours and patterns within the Christian faith. Whether knowingly or unknowingly we have made this the focus of our youth ministries instead of focusing on living out an incarnational life, displaying Jesus as we share experiences and life with our teenagers.

He writes:

“The incarnation is not about influence but accompaniment. It is not about getting us right but bearing what is wrong with us, so that we might find that we are only right in the embrace of a God who loves so much to be with us.”


…..I was more concerned with their (the young persons) decision, behaviour or commitment than with their broken humanity that desired someone to share in their deepest sufferings through relationship.”

Too often we want to see our young people make a decision to follow Christ and subsequently display all the ‘correct’ behaviours that go along with this when all that really is needed is for us to be with them, sharing in their life as Jesus did, through their joy and suffering.

This book has encouraged me to stop and take a moment to look at where my focus is within my ministry and realign it with being someone who is looking to Jesus and his example of living alongside people in need.


Anne Baenziger on Dream Job or Dream Community an article by Curt Devine

As Millennials, we’re always seeking something better, faster, or newer. This article brings to mind the deep need for community in the midst of our perpetual yearning for transition. It also reveals the brutal reality that we don’t stick around or commit to build such community. I’m challenged to think about the sacrifices we make to build genuine community. Am I making those sacrifices? In what areas do I need to take more risks for my community’s sake? We need to insure we are devoting our time, energy, and talents to the appropriate people and things. As Christians and as leaders, we need to be “intentional with upholding connections to those that matter the most in our lives while making ourselves available for new connections.”
leaders eat last


Sam Moore on Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

I read a lot on leadership and this is one of the best books I’ve read recently. In ‘Leaders Eat Last’ Simon Sinek argues that the role of leaders is to serve people, not profits or numbers or even just their employees but society. In a very readable book he uses a combination of examples from the business world and makes the argument from how we are ‘hard-wired’ in terms of our brain chemicals to serve and to work together. This isn’t just a book on leadership, it’s an analysis of how a ‘me first’ culture is destructive and the need to move to a ‘we first’ culture. I particularly appreciated the examples of leaders and companies who have done things differently, who have focused more on service and ‘we’. Often it’s easy to see all the bad examples, we need positive examples too.

“Leaders don’t look for recognition from others. They look for others to recognise”
“A good leader will eschew the spotlight to spend time and energy to do what they need to support and protect those they serve”

What’s been inspiring you this month? We’d love to hear your thoughts….



Review: Leadership Next

I read lots of books on leadership for a dissertation recently, and this is perhaps one of the highlights for me. I remember reading it a couple of years ago and much of it resonating with where I was in my understanding of leadership and some of my frustrations. This is a book written by someone with over 40 years experience of leadership and teaching in the UK, Latin America and the US. He writes  both to help older leaders understand the sea change of our times and the leadership that is required for that, but also to liberate and empower young leaders to pursue God’s mission. For Gibbs the leadership he is describing is missional leadership. It is rooted in seeing coming generations come to know the life changing message of Jesus and enter into His kingdom.

He writes simply and clearly, with deep roots in the Bible and also not afraid to learn from some of the best research and learning around us in the field of leadership. This book resonates with my experience, and inspires and challenges me to greater things.  He takes the reader through: an understanding of leadership, styles of leadership, why they must change for the situation we are in today, what it means and looks like to be leaders passionate about the Great Commission, the attitudes, traits and activities of missional leaders, building teams and the cost of leadership.

If you are involved in any sortof leadership, if you are frustrated or feel that how we lead, or the structures we use aren’t quite working, or if you are frustrated by people who keep talking about the need for change this book is a must read.

For young leaders this is a book that can really help shape your understanding of leadership and what is required as you seek to reach your peers. The values and attitudes he discusses sit and fit perfectly within our context. It will help you understand how to use the gifts, skills, and tools at your disposal to engage with your communities in whatever shape they take and make life-long disciples. If as leadership teams you read it together it will provide countless insights into how you should plan ahead and how to live and work that out.