by Jonathan Merritt
Merritt is a gifted writer. I read his book A Faith of Our Own a couple years ago and really enjoyed it, so when this one released I was excited. It was different than I expected. Where A Faith of Our Own examined cultural and church trends, this book turned inward and was very personal. I tend to connect with “idea” books, and this isn’t really that. But that’s why I resonated with it. As someone who gravitates toward concepts and ideas to walk through a personal reflection on the significance of Jesus was really helpful. It’s too easy to think of Jesus as impersonal and “out there” or as a theological concept. Merritt’s reflections on connecting to Jesus in dark times and good times and on finding Jesus in a fresh way after a religious upbringing connected with me. I think this is the kind of book that will resonate with people at a personal level. It’s not a teaching book but rather a sharing book.
by Mark Sayers
Leadership and creativity are buzz topics today, so it can feel like too much has been written and it all sounds the same. Please don’t lump Mark Sayers’ book in with the rest of the genre. That would do a great disservice to this wonderful work. Sayers weaves together his own story of leadership success and breakdown, the story of Jonah, and historical/cultural lessons (especially from 19th century Paris) to paint a picture of true leadership. He talks about the two extremes, mechanical leadership (emphasizing processes and heroes) and organic leadership (emphasizing community and creativity) and how both miss the mark. What the reader is left with is a clear picture of what it means to be a servant leader, to lead for the right reasons, and where leaders must draw their strength. Sayers crafts an enjoyable narrative and avoids “lessons” or “applications” that feel wedged in. Instead he creates an image to aspire to.