Archive for the Book Review Category

“The Starfish and the Spider” Book Review

Posted in Book Review on April 9, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

04_StarfishandthespiderbookWant to read a book that will have you searching for ways to adapt its principles to the ministry? Want to rack your brain to find the best way to say “this guy is right, and I am going to instill that great idea to my persona?”  Here is the book!

As I read, I traveled down rabbit trails of thought that turned out to be exciting.  There were also some moments of, “Well, that is how that happened!” and some, “Why were some of the smartest business minds in the world not able to see it coming?”

You will find how some organizations like Ebay, Craigslist, Wikipedia and even Al Qaeda succeeded and some like OnSale didn’t.  You will see how strategies of record companies failed to stamp out pirated songs and why centralized organizations failed in attempts to stamp out illegal organizations.

Besides, Dave Hileman says that the book is great in the beginning, plods along in the middle and has some really good points in the end.  Well, if a great man like that likes it, it should be worth reading, right?

It was a different kind of read for me, but one that stimulated my interest and thinking.  I would give this book 4 hazelnut lattes!

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Harry Gill headshot - circle smHarry Gill
Director of Church Resources

Three “Why’s” & Two “How’s”

Posted in Book Review, Fusion Groups, General Advice on March 10, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Some time ago a person asked me about the mission statement of the VEF;   “Pursue Kingdom Growth” and how we were applying that statement.  Then he pressed more to say, “How does your ministry with the VEF apply the mission statement?”  My reply was that I could best illustrate how the VEF ministers through the Fusion program by pointing out 5 books that we have used recently in our groups to “Pursue Kingdom Growth.”   There are three that tell WHY the church prospered and two to tell HOW to continue “Pursuing Kingdom Growth” :

The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark – This book is written by a sociologist who looks at the impossible feat of Christianity in overcoming the forces of Rome without any of the conventional sources of power.  His assessment of the social pressures used is somewhat up for discussion but are not without merit.

The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi – Read an amazing recounting of the corruptness of culture without the influence of Christianity and compare the advances of man because of the influence of God’s revelation.  The author recounts the clash of the Hindu mindset with the humanity of Christ followers. You can’t read this book as a Christian and not feel a sense of joy and relief in knowing Christ and His Salvation.

7 Men by Eric Metaxas – Eric has chosen to give biographies of seven men from history. They are so very diverse and affected different segments of their culture in profound ways.  Each had a moral compass that pointed to the Life of Christ and submission to His Will.  George Washington gave an example of refusing to allow power to corrupt him, William Wilberfource took on the status quo of slavery and immoral conduct, Eric Liddell set an example of sticking to his principles, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was willing to give his life for those unable to defend themselves, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in American athletics by not retaliating to the slurs and racial attack of those around him.  Pope John Paul II was a man’s man who showed the world how God’s man stood up to oppression.  Chuck Colson was an example of how Christ can change the heart of a man and then use him to reach those in prison with the redemption of our Lord.  These seven men give us great illustrations of the effect Christianity has on our world.

The Lost Art of Disciple Making by LeRoy Eims – This is a book that has been read by millions.  It is a manual to teach individuals how to win others to Christ and then teach them to win others to win others to Christ.  It should be the goal of every Christ follower to reproduce themselves.  If you don’t have a plan, this one is highly recommended.

There is Hope for Your Church by Gary McIntosh – This is the worst title for a book, but one that fully explains its mission.  Many churches in America are in serious trouble, being either plateaued or declining.  McIntosh gives, I think, a plausible strategy to follow to revitalize your church.  His emphasis on leadership and urgency are spot on and will inspire leaders to action.

Well, there they are: Three “WHY’S” we should be active in pursuing Kingdom growth and two “HOW’S” to get it done.  We all know that there is a God who loves us and the rest of the world.  These books will inspire you to feel as though you can make a difference and then give you a strategy to be successful.

Harry Gill headshot - circle smHarry Gill
Director of Church Resources

Harry’s Book Corner: “Crazy Busy”

Posted in Book Review on February 27, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

crazybusyAre you too busy to read?  Have I got a book for you!  The title of the book is CRAZY BUSY by Kevin DeYoung.

This is a short book that has some really good advice for Pastors and Church Leaders.  The author is the senior pastor of a large congregation who admits that he is too busy and has tried to analyze his situation and find solutions.

He suggests a diagnosis for seven of the most common causes for our busyness and tentative ways to solve them.  One of the strongest points that I think he makes is:  Expect to be busy, you signed on as a church leader.  Busy is standard for the course.  But you need to get a rhythm in your life that follows the pattern set by Jesus; take time to prioritize and analyze your life.  Most of all time time to stay close to the Lord.

This is a great little book that will give busy preachers and church leaders a plan to make life a little more manageable.

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Harry Gill
VEF Director of Church Resources

Harry’s Firsthand Account of “Firsthand”

Posted in Book Review on May 28, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

Firsthand: Ditching the Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own
by Ryan and Josh Shook

firsthand-bookOne of the obvious failures of my ministry is that I have not been able to find the key to keep young people engaged in the Kingdom from post high school until they began to settle down in life with a job, marriage and children. This book is a great tool in helping this part of ministry.

These two guys, with a refreshing honesty, provide a path for young adults to find a “Faith of Your Own.”  First, they trace the path of their own lives, growing up in a home where their father was the pastor of a very successful church.  The expectations of living and sharing the Christian life were real.  But each man expresses how he was able to get past living on a secondhand faith of their parents and grandparents to become passionate Christ followers.

Then they present an plan to help those who are struggling with making their faith “Firsthand” and effective.  I give this book a full five Hazelnut Lattes.  All post-high school young people  should read this book and I recommend it a useful aid for church leaders to help young people find a “Firsthand Faith.”

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Purchase “Firsthand” here on, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the VEF.

Harry Gill headshot - circle smHarry Gill
Director of Church Resources

Harry’s Book Shelf: Deep and Wide

Posted in Book Review on March 13, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

deep-wide-andy-stanleyDeep & Wide by Andy Stanley is the story of the creating of the North Point church and the development of the strategies that form the philosophy of the North Point Ministries.  Andy Stanley, admittedly in a unique position, points out many truths to reaching the unchurched that have been overlooked by many churches today.

Whether you agree with his methods and strategies or not, two things are evident: you must try his methods in your context or you must develop your own strategy and philosophy.  Completing that, you must then either become the leader within your fellowship or find someone with leadership ability and follow them to the building of a church where the unchurched and the unsaved find the Lord Jesus.

I would give this book a 5 HAZELNUT LATTES  rating and suggest that every leader in a congregation read this book.

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Harry Gill headshot - circle smHarry Gill
Director of Church Resources.
Harry is an avid reader and has been helping churches grow for the past 50+ years.

“No Matter the Cost” by Vance Brown

Posted in Book Review on July 24, 2012 by Waypoint Church Partners

This book is for men. That is, men who have lived a while, who have made mistakes, who need redemption. It is an idea far beyond accountability, past judgment to the place of being a “band of brothers” and realizing that we are men of real worth to our Father God.

Using the Lord’s Prayer as the foundation of the book, the author presents a plan for the redemption of every man. He has the knack of using familiar books, quotes, movies and tons of Scripture to motivate men to fight the final battle.

A six weeks study guide has been developed and is included at the end of the book. There are also materials on the internet to develop a church-wide program for men that includes promotional material, sermon suggestions and graphics to promote it.

This is a great opportunity to minister to men who have fallen or men a little mature that have lived life a little and are wondering how to finish the second half of their lives. I give this book a stellar “5 HAZELNUT LATTES” rating and will be glad to discuss starting a program with any group interested.

Click here to buy the book today. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the VEF.

“The Mentor Leader” by Tony Dungy

Posted in Book Review on October 10, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

What are the five most important words a mentor must keep in mind when mentoring a person?   According to Tony Dungy they are, “IT IS NOT ABOUT ME.”  WOW! Incredibly simple and yet totally profound.  They sum up the attitude of a person who is willing to take an interest in someone else, pour his life into that person and make him a better success.  This is the philosophy of this book and the example that is presented by Tony.

“The Mentor Leader” is a book that every Christian Leader, team leader, father, mother or big brother or sister should put on their list as a must read.  Chapter after chapter gives you every angle of the mentoring process.  From the mind-set to the methods, mentoring is set out as a most powerful tool a leader can use to be successful, not only in the short run but also over a life time of leadership.
Do you preach at a church whose leadership could be stronger?  This is the book!  Do you have a neighbor whose family leadership should be stronger?  This is the book!  Do you have a son or daughter that you want to prepare for ultimate success in this life?  This is the book!
I always save the Five Hazelnut Lattes award for books that are just special beyond the normal expectations of a book review.  This is one of those books that I would rate a very high Five Hazelnut Lattes.  Get the book and don’t just read it but study it and internalize its methods.  It will make you a better person and leader.

“The Unity Factor” by Larry Osborne

Posted in Book Review on October 5, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

book review by: Harry Gill, VEF Director of Church Relations

One of the comments made in Larry Obsorne’s The Unity Factor is that it is amazing that Board members get so little training when the minister gets so much.  Continuing education of the ministry in conferences, seminars and conventions is just a routine thing these days. His point here is that the Elders and Leaders should be trained as well.
He makes a great point about the difference between lobbying and training.  Lobbying is  done in the middle of a decision making process.  Training is done away from the pressure of decision making.He then proceeds to give an example of doing just that.   So the difference between having a set training program or a continuing flexible program was easily seen.
Another good part of the book deals with some of the paradoxes that we take for granted.  For instance, the idea that we spend 80% of our time on 20% of the congregation.  Is it on the strong ones or the weak ones?  Most of us feel as though we must give the weak ones the 80%, but the author says that is wrong thinking.  He goes on to point out six more paradoxes of strong churches.  Good Stuff!  There must be a God and He lives in this guy’s church, because the congregation views the budget as an educated and somewhat hazy guess, not a document chiseled in stone. (His words, “it is a guide, not a straight jacket.)
The best piece of advice in the book is dealing with change, “Go slow, churches are like horses.  They don’t like to be startled or surprised.  It causes deviant behavior.”
This book is one I would rate at 4 and one half hazelnut lattes.  I would recommend it for every church leader, that is Preacher, Elder, Deacon and group leader.  Study it together and it will make your church stronger.


Posted in Book Review on September 8, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Harry Gill, Director of Church Relations

I started this book with an incredible amount of dis-interest. I thought that I was a story teller and there was nothing this woman could tell me about storytelling. Annette Simmons has taken the “story” and dissected it in forty ways to Sunday. (There’s an expression for you.) She explains the power of telling a story in about every situation you could ever imagine. She shows how a story can bond the speaker with whatever group is the audience. She also tells about the perils of abusing the “story” technic.

All of us could use the pointers that she shares to make the message we hope to convey more vivid in the minds of those to whom we preach. Remember some of the most important messages that Jesus taught, He taught in parables.

This is an important book for those who wish to make their preaching more memorable and their stories more effective. I give this book a four and one half hazelnut latte salute.

“Erasing Hell” by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

Posted in Book Review on August 9, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners
author: Harry “The Book Man” Gill, Director of Church Relations
“Erasing Hell” by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle
This brief book is a wonderful refutation of the ideas expressed by Rob Bell and others about the misconception about the reality of hell.  Through the seven chapters of the book, Chan and Sprinkle pose and then answer universal questions that have troubled Christians through the centuries.  From Origen to present theologians the idea of hell, a literal place of eternal punishment where a loving God would send the disobedient, has been problematic. “How could a loving God send His creation to eternal punishment?”
The authors investigate the Scriptures from text to context to point out why the orthodox view of hell is a place of eternal punishment.  The arguments of letting the “potter be the potter” and the fact that God is not “licking His chops” to send us to hell are evidence that the writers understand that God’s ways are beyond our comprehension but He is a loving God in the ultimate of ways.
Chan’s fierce love for his fellow man is evident as he writes not in a vindictive manner but in a grace-filled evangelistic hope of convincing the reader to avoid hell at all cost.  The appendix is a series of FAQ’s that are most helpful in providing the leader of discussions a quick resource of Biblical answers.
The book in answer to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” is worthy of a rating of 4 out of 5 Hazelnut Lattes and certainly worth having in your library.

Click here to purchase this book on Amazon, and a portion will go back to support the VEF!