Books on my desk...
A couple of books that have come my way are outstanding: the first, by Tony Merida (Ok, he's in Mississippi, so I'm biased), called Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity (B&H Publishing, 2009). Merida has a way of challenging just about every issue, prejudicial and otherwise, with alarming ease and finesse. I have tried (in 30 years) to read at least one book on preaching every year, sometimes more than one. This year, if you read nothing else, you should read this one. Senior Minister at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Merdia has a reputation for straight and powerful communication. Prepare to be challenged on just about everything!
My second recommendation comes from Australia and our friends at Matthias Media. The Trellis and Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (Matthias Media, 2009). It comes with endorsements from the usual lot -- including Mark Dever, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan -- and I can see why. All kinds of voices compete as to how "ministry" (in the local church) should be done, but few voices are worth listening to more than Marshall and Payne. Perhaps every session should be given a copy for the next "officers retreat" and asked to come with responses.
My third book is written by a dear friend, Stan Way -- Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church in Medford, Oregon: Clarifying our Call: The role of the church in contemporary life (Cornerstone Publications, www.cccm.org). In just over 60 pages, Way just about addresses every issue imaginable. From a man who has steered a church through troubled waters, these pages come from the heart. Outstanding in every way.