I’m at the North American Christian Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The NACC asked me to teach a seminar on what leaders are reading. Soooo, here’s my list . . .

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. The big idea behind Batterson’s book is this: “What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problems, your worst failures . . . your greatest fears? “Mark makes the case that God is waiting for people to overcome their biggest problems, allow God to use their worst failures, face their greatest fears. And if we do . . . let the adventure begin!

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt. In his book, Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don’t need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. (Hmmmm.) Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald’s, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. (Ineteresting.) And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don’t really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. (Fascinating read.)

Sex God by Rob Bell. SEX GOD is the title of Rob Bell’s second book. His first book, “Velvet Elvis,” is one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it, it is a MUST READ. SEX GOD is about a lot more than sex. I tried to find favorite quotes to share with you, but the chapter titles themselves say enough.

Chapter one: God wears lipstick.
Chapter four: Leather, whips, and fruit.
Chapter nine: Whoopee forever.

SEX GOD is raw, transparent and will draw you closer to the heart of God (The One who invented IT).

Confessions Of A Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll. This is the story of the birth and growth of one of America’s most innovative churches–Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. Mars Hill is one of America’s fastest growing churches located in one of America’s toughest mission fields. It’s also the story of the growth of a pastor, the mistakes he’s made along the way, and God’s grace and work in spite of those mistakes. With a good bit of sarcasm and some laugh out loud humor, Mark exposes both himself and the church he leads to help all of us become better Jesus followers and church leaders.

Too Small To Ignore by Wess Stafford. Wess is one of the most amazing leaders I have ever encountered. Too Small gives us fascinating insights into how God has developed him as a leader as well as casting a blazing light on the Biblical mandate that we MUST care for children. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ for every emerging church leader!

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim in The World Is Flat, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn’t going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman’s narrative much of its urgency.

What Friedman means by “flat” is “connected”: the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution that have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, including ministry, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. Definitely food for thought.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. Okay this one hasn’t even been released yet. At 12:01 A.M. on July 21st more than 20 million copies of Rowling’s new book will flood the market. If you want to stay relevant to contemporary culture you need to at least know why the Potter books are making such a global impact. AND, you might just become a Hogwart’s fan yourself.

Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This is a book every communicator must read. The Heath brothers have done extensive research to discover what makes certain ideas and messages “sticky.” As much as many of us leaders would love to believe that people actually are remembering what we’re saying, the vast majority of what we say is lost before people even leave our presence. Ouch! Made To Stick at least gives us a fighting chance to get the most important message the hearing it deserves.

So what books do you recommend?