Every year since I started blogging in 2006, I’ve chosen a “best book” of the year. I’ve already had two criteria for choosing those books: 1) it had to be a book that I read for the first time that year and 2) it had to be a book about the church. (I mean, this blog is about the church, right?)
But, this year, by plan and by design, I decided to not read new books about the church. (I did read a few books that I had already read, and I read excerpts from other books.)
It wasn’t until recently that I recognized how this plan would affect my ability to choose a “best book” of 2011. However, it turns out that I DID read 2 books at the beginning of the year before my self-imposed “sabbatical” on new books about the church. I’ve decided to name both of those books as the “best two books of 2011.”
Here they are in no particular order, along with links to and excerpts from my original reviews:
To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams
(Also, see my post “The Whole Church = All Church Leaders?” which discusses one aspect of this book.)
Overall, though, this book presents several concepts that are important for all believers to understand. When believers work together with brothers and sisters in their neighborhood (whether they are part of the same “local church” or not), then their neighborhood will be transformed. The same could be said for workplaces, schools, etc. They do not have to wait for church leaders to organize projects. They can start working together right now.
The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America (with a second subtitle: How a new generation is restoring the faith) by Gabe Lyon
I would recommend The Next Christians, especially to two groups of Christians. If you consider yourself one of “The Next Christians,” this book will be an encouragement and a challenge for you to live for Christ focusing on the gospel. If you do not consider yourself a “Next Christian,” and perhaps even wonder why so many people are changing a good thing, this book will help you see these new Christians from their perspective.