I teach this course about once a year and every time I teach it, I do another round of reading to refresh my thinking and get psyched for teaching these themes once more.
Here are the books I read in preparation for this time around with super brief comments. You may be interested in them.
Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood by Alan Roxburgh. Roxburgh is one of the fiercest critics of the established way of doing church. He is a missiologist, a futurist, an entrepreneur... and he is fundamentally concerned with the future of the church in our post-Christendom world... for which we are ill-prepared. This is a nice, accessible recommendation for how we can move away from attractional models of church to incarnational models.
Missional Map Making: Skills for Leading in Times of
Transition by Roxburgh. This is the third book Roxburgh has done on missional leadership. But it is not a retread of previous topics, although there is great congruence. Here Roxburgh makes his best case (to date) that a radical new way of leadership is necessary for those who lead the church... and that the existing models are in disastrous shape.
A Whole New Mind by Pink. This is a left brain, right brain book where the author says that left brain thinking will not be sufficient to move us through these challenging times and into the emerging world. It is a very easy book to read, and loaded with insight and tons of practical guidance. This is not just for leader. It is for everyone. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Ramo. This was probably the most "in your face" book I read, but at the same time, it was delightfully challenging, great stories, a major critique of the failure of our current leadership models, political models, economic models (and again, those who are leading the way in this). In one sense, Ramo is giving us painful examples of how the old ways of thinking are disastrous and showing that new ways of thinking (A Whole New Mind) are vital if we are to survive the coming crises. I find myself wishing we had more Christians who were thinking and leading like Ramo is providing for the world of politics and economics. Brilliant. Readable. Provocative. Must Reading... but you will have to "work a little to do this." Worth it... Get it...
Culture Making by Andy Crouch. I re-read this book in preparation for Emerging Paradigms. I don't think this is the best book on the subject of culture and the role of the Christian (and the church) as agents of culture... but it is a good one. Crouch is a good writer and a story teller. If you have never read anything about your vocation as a creative and an artisan and a cultivator of God's world - this is worth reading. And then figuring out how to make your way in the God's work of building culture.
Viral by Len Sweet. Sweet has long been one of my favorite authors. I read everything he writes. This is his attempt to explain what the emerging world is like in terms of its radical, social networked, internet-essential, googled citizens. And they are indeed differnet from their Gutenberg generation before them. Sweet is good, funny, clever, creative... but not quite as persuasive in this offering as he is on other things. Still, for the emerging world, those who are citizens of the Age of the Book are strangers in a new land of the Internet World. Life is becoming fundamentally different. New strategies and skills are needed for survival, much less "thrival."
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International