Sunday, January 19

The Church Builder by A.L. Shields

Honestly, it was the cover of this book that first intrigued me. The image of the snake around the branch was simple, but also unique. After reading the brief description, I realized it was definitely a book I’d be interested in.

The Church Builder follows Bethany Barclay, a lawyer in a small town. However, despite her profession, this is not a court room drama. Rather, she gets pulled into a large conspiracy. She discovers her ex-boyfriend dead with a strange symbol near her. She believes the symbol relates to the murder of best friend, Annabelle, and flees, causing the FBI to label her as the main suspect. While on the run, Bethany is watched by two organizations, one bent on destroying religious faith, the other trying to save the church. As Bethany falls deeper into the conspiracy, she begins to wonder if she can truly trust anyone.

Saturday, January 4

Ministering to Problem People in Your Church by Marshall Shelley

Every organization seems to have at least one or two people who mean well but still manage to cause emotional strains. These people do not usually intend to cause problems, but sometimes they can derail the organization and cause stress for those in leadership positions. In this book (an updated version of the formerly released Well-Intentioned Dragons), Marshall Shelley reaches out to Pastors who may be dealing with these sorts of people. Shelley likes to refer to these people as well-intentioned dragons.

Though I am not a pastor, I was intrigued by the idea of this book. I’ve spoken with people and have read books and blogs by those who have been hurt by their time in the church. Sometimes the hurt comes from the church’s teaching or leadership styles. However, I have heard more and more people talk about they were hurt by others who attended the church, by ‘well-intentioned dragons’ who didn’t realize that their actions and words caused deep wounds. Dealing with ‘dragons’ is not easy. Often our default response to conflict is to avoid it, especially within the church.