Category Archives: Book Reviews

Deliberate Simplicity by Dave Browning


Here is an exciting new book from Zondervan’s Leadership Network Innovation Series called Deliberate Simplicity, How the Church Does More by Doing Less.

Dave Browning the Pastor of Christ the King Community Church International shares how they have become one of the most innovative churches in America, by simply doing less. They are currently are in 12 states and seven countries. Rather than creating another mega church model, Dave Browning focuses on empowering leaders to lead small church based groups in homes. They do not create many programs or events, but stay focused on loving God and people.

One thing that we admire about Dave Browning and the model of the Deliberately Simple Church, is that they do not spend tons of money on buildings and other material objects. When they have Worship gatherings they typically will use public places and facilities that can easily be rented for a lot less than the cost of owning a building. This also allows opportunities for unchurched people to feel more comfortable while attending.

By spending less on buildings, programs, and other material objects, the Deliberately Simple Church can spend more of it resources, on Missions, and building leaders. Something Dave Browning repeats over and over again, is “We are here to learn how to love God and people well.” (Matt. 22: 37-40) Dave will share a simple equations throughout this book, that will give you insight and information on how to simplify your strategy to reaching more people for Christ.

Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses this book, for any church that is looking to do more by doing less. We admire how many people the Deliberately Simple Church has been able to reach by committing to relationships rather than anything else. This is a great book for entire ministry teams of Pastors, Worship Leaders and Volunteers.

You can purchase this Deliberate Simplicity directly from Amazon by clicking here.

Team IML

Check out a video from Dave Browning here.

Deliberate Simplicity is part of Zondervan’s Leadership Network Innovation Series


The Divine Commodity


The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani

In light of some of our recent postings, The Divine Commodity written by Skye Jethani, has been a great resource for our team. If you are a huge reader, this book needs to move to the top of your list. Unlike most books, Skye Jethani does not provide 10 ways or 12 steps to anything. Skye takes a deep  look at where we currently are as the Church, and how we have institutionalized something that was once so relational. 

Consumerism is something that is heavily going on in our churches today. It has begun to create a distortion to our element of faith in Jesus. Skye uses the art and testimonies of artist Vincent van Gogh, throughout the book as examples of how even hundreds of years ago, christ-followers were dealing with the same struggles of when it comes to the church. One of the greatest examples of this is from the famous painting Starry Night, where the church is the only building with no lights. 

Skye uses a quote from Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate. “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the Church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And, finally it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.” Wow! How true is that statement when we look at the evolution of the church.  

Throughout the book there will be many concepts and thoughts on how we are using the Church as an entertainment platform to attract people. It looks at how churches have placed a emphasis on controlling staged environments to be their true meaning for advancing Christ’s mission. Consumer Christianity is turning shepherds into showmen.

The book will also point out some interesting research of how American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the twentieth century because Jesus’ modern day disciples are not acting like Jesus. Although we are seeing many large mega-churches grow across the country, Christianity is only consolidating, not expanding. 

Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses this book, whether your a Pastor, Worship Leader, or just a pew sitter. We admire that Skye Jethani is bringing an important issue that us leaders need to be aware about. He is not providing solutions or ways to improve, but bringing the insight so we as leaders can take action. This is a great resource that will get your mind expanding and hopefully thoughts of how we can build more authentic relationships for Christ in our communities.

You can purchase the Divine Commodity direct from Amazon by clicking here.

Team IML

The Divine Commodity is published by Zondervan

You can also visit Skye Jethani’s personal website by clicking here.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Here is a great resource called the Purple Cow, written by Seth Godin. Even thought this book is traditionally written for businesses, but we feel that churches and ministries can learn a lot from Seth’s insight.

It starts by examining the traditional P’s of Marketing. Product, Pricing, Promotion strategies, Publicity, Packaging and more. But Seth introduces us to a new P, called the Purple Cow. A concept that something must be truly remarkable and further away from boring. The book will take you through some great ideas and concepts about the why, the what and the how of a remarkable concept/product.

This is a great resource for Visionary Pastors, to motivate them to think for themselves and stop imitating other churches and leaders. Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses the concept of this book and urge you to get a copy for yourself. You can purchase a copy directly from Amazon by clicking here

Team IML

“Mad Church Disease”-Overcoming The Burnout Epidemic


“Mad Church Disease”-Overcoming The Burnout Epidemic

Innovative Ministry Leader just finished reading an advance copy of Anne Jackson’s new book “Mad Church Disease.” What an amazing resource for every Pastor, Worship Leader, Ministry Leader, Business Professional, etc. This is a book that focuses on organizing your life, to have a healthy balance with work, family, and personal time. 

Popular Communicator/Blogger, Anne Jackson ( shares her personal story of how burnout has effected her personal life throughout the years. Anne focuses on the emotional, physical, relational and spiritual effects of the burnout epidemic.

Mad Church Disease does a complete job at identifying burnout, the risks, and how to recover. The book takes a serious look at the health factors and how serious this silent disease can be for you or your organization. The book concludes with the focus of how to process the pain of being hurt in the past, which almost everyone can relate to at some point in their life. Beyond reading Mad Church Disease, this is a great resource to have concurrent in your life and to share with your entire team. 

What we really admire about this book, is that Anne shares honesty and real stories of her past, that you will be able to relate with. At the end of each Chapter, there is a section called the “Exam Room,” which will allow you to self assess your own life. You will also find at the end of each Chapter a “Second Opinion” section that will express the views of some world class leaders such as Bill Hybels, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, and more. 

Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses this book and you will be able to pick up a copy in February of 2009. We will be doing some more focuses on Mad Church Disease  before the book is released so stay tuned.  You can also pre-order from Amazon by clicking here.

In the mean time you can check out three of Anne’s sites and for more information.

Team IML

Mad Church Disease is published by Zondervan

Mad Church Disease is endorsed by Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, Craig Groeschel, Tim Stevens, Mark Batterson, Nancy Beech, Nancy Ortberg, Shauna Niequist, Matthew Paul Turner, and more

ESV Study Bible


Innovative Ministry Leader is proud to endorse the new ESV Study Bible. This is by far our favorite translation and study resource. The ESV Study Bible is endorsed by many innovative leaders such as John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Randy Alcorn, Joshua Harris and many more. 

Some of the features include:

20,000 notes

40 All-new Illustrations

Over 50 Articles

Over 200 Charts

Over 200 Color Maps

80,000 Cross References

2 Million Words

2,752 Pages

The purpose the ESV Study Bible was created was to help people have a deeper understanding of God’s word. The ESV study bible was assembled by a team of 95 evangelical Christian scholars and teachers. 

You can order the ESV Study Bible directly online at Amazon. There you can view a few videos that take a deeper look at the ESV Study Bible and what some other Christian Leaders are saying about it. Keep in mind that this makes a great gift for your Pastor or Worship Leader for Christmas. 

Team IML

“Jesus Wants to Save Christians” Rob Bell


“Jesus Wants to Save Christians”

“Jesus Wants to Save Christians, A Manifesto for the Church in Exile,” is the third book from Pastor/Author Rob Bell of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Book is co-written with Don Golden)

This book takes a look at the Church and what we as Americans are really about. It compares the United States to powerful empires in biblical times. Rob Bell shows how time and time again we miss the central message of the Bible, that Jesus came for so much more than to just give us a ticket to heaven, but to transform our lives. 

The book begins by taking you through the Old Testament, looking at how different empires ruled and controlled the world. It will make you stop and think, “wow” is everything we do in our own country really right under God’s eyes? Critics might come off saying that this book is a bit unpatriotic, but Rob Bell strongly uses scripture to state his points. Rob Bell does a great job at comparing times of the Old Testament, New Testament and today. It will take you to a deeper understanding of the history of the Bible.

Our favorite Chapter in the book is Chapter Five, “Swollen-bellied black babies, Soccer Moms on Prozac and the Mark of the Beast.” Rob Bell starts by again saying that America is one of the most powerful empires the world has ever seen. He then goes on to give shocking statistics that we may have heard over the years. From America’s wealth to poverty/brokenness over seas, we see the power that each American possesses and how we do not even come close to making a true difference in the world.

At the end of the book Rob Bell challenges you to re-examine your place in the world. To start living more as an example of Christ and not of this world. This book will leave you wanting to point fingers at government and other leaders in the country, but it truly starts with your ministry or organization. Jesus called us to be the example.

“Jesus Wants to Save Christians,” is a book that will make you re-examine your life, ministry, or organization and take more notice of what is going on across the globe. This book has been a strong wake up call for our organization. Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses this book and would recommend sharing with your entire teams. 

Team IML

“Jesus Wants to Save Christians” is published by Zondervan

Check out these other great Resources from Rob Bell.


The Gods Aren’t Angry

Everything is Spiritual

Nooma Series

Other Books

Sex God

Velvet Elvis

Craig Groeschel’s NEW BOOK “IT”












“IT” How Churches and Leaders Can Get “it” and Keep “it” by Craig Groeschel

From the moment we picked up this book we could not put it down. This is one of the strongest leadership books we have ever read. We recommend “It” for leadership teams, business organizations, volunteers, or anyone that has ever had a dream. 

Craig Groeschel has such a humble attitude as he shares how began and the different struggles they have experienced a long the way. Craig starts out by saying he is not sure what “It” really is, but knows he has experienced it through the growth of his ministry and other ministries around him. 

“It,” is stated as being completely surrendered to Jesus with your ministry. It is more than beautiful buildings, popular programs, or the latest technology. An important point that Craig makes, is that “it” is not a model system, or result of programs. It can not be purchased, copied nor will everyone get it.

One of our favorite chapters goes into the importance of having a well defined Vision for your ministry or organization. Making sure that a vision is memorable (easy to state), portable (meaning people can take it with them and communicate it to others) and motivational (gets people excited). 

One of the biggest things we as an organization walked away from this book is the point Craig makes about keeping what we do simple and to the point. A lot of times Churches or Organizations will have hundreds of ministries, which most are not effective.  Craig shares that currently has five key things that they do. They are five things that they believe God has called them to do well. He expresses the importance of, “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.”

We admire that Craig makes a strong emphasis on the need to fail to be successful. What? Did he just say fail! YES! Failure is not an option, it is a necessity to be successful. Craig shares much insight on how has failed over the years, which has led to many of their successes. The book states that, “if your not failing, you’ve stop dreaming.” He goes on to explain that failure is a learning experience where you have to pick yourself back up, learn something and press forward. 

At the end of each Chapter, Craig presents questions to help define ideas, visions and other important aspects you should have for your ministry or organization. Throughout the book there are seven profiles of other Ministry Leaders and their churches with insight on how they began and achieved “IT” as well.

We just highlighted a few of the points that really stood out for us throughout this book. We are certain that after reading this book, you will walk away with so much. You will read ideas, on how to not only discover “It” but how to Enjoy “It” with others, do anything for “It,” want others to have “It,” share “It,” and how to keep “it.” 

This book is already on it second printing. You can purchase it directly at or

Team IML
“It” is published by Zondervan