Reading Roundup: Get Growing in Leadership, Prayer, and Faith

If you read last week’s post, you know we’ve started a series on finding and fulfilling our callings, with a special emphasis on the how God equips women to live on purpose for Him. With that in mind, I’ve got three resources in this quarter’s Reading Roundup to help you pursue your goals this new year. It’s time to get growing in leadership, prayer, and faith, and these books will help.

Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole. This book rocked me in 2019, a year that saw significant discussion and controversy about women’s roles in the church and beyond. Cole’s book cuts through the noise to offer practical strategies for developing the leadership abilities of and opportunities for women in all aspects of Christian ministry. Cole’s leadership development “best practices” allow for theological differences regarding gender roles in the church (and she gives an excellent overview of different views), but her research makes it clear that regardless of theology, many churches do not adequately develop or utilize the talented women in their congregations within whatever theological framework they profess to follow. Is this a book only for women? No! In fact, Cole wrote her book after (male) pastors from multiple churches began asking for specific ways to develop female leaders on their paid and volunteer staffs. They confessed to being baffled by their failure to gain traction in this area, and as Cole interviewed and researched, it became clear that many had perspectives and actions that though well-meaning, were “lovingly ignorant” of what kinds of things encourage, empower, and retain talented female leaders. For women reading this book, you will find many things that resonate with and challenge you as a woman following her calling. Then, pass that book along to any man or woman in Christian leadership who wants to see how God uses ALL of us to build his kingdom. Developing Female Leaders is available at www.developingfemaleleadersbook.com and all major book retailers.

Wise Women Pray Wise Prayers by Dwell Project. If you followed the Fall Wisdom Series, you know I LOVE the book of Proverbs. In fact, I love it so much I joined several other writers over at Dwell Project to create a 31-day devotional book based on all 31 chapters of that wisdom book. We combine a chapter-a-day reading plan with insightful applications and real-life stories like the time I made a scene at Walmart—it wasn’t exactly a “People of Walmart” moment, but I was plenty embarrassed. Dwell Project’s founder Kristin Bonin (yep, you remember her from our summer devo) challenged us to arm women with scripture-based teaching and prayers that propel them to take on a wild and wooly culture. A contributor herself, Bonin writes, “We often sit around and wait for people to validate us, grant us power, give us permission to do what God has called us to do, and can I tell you something? We don’t need it. Don’t get me wrong: it’s nice, but it’s not necessary. Why do we wait for man to appoint us to a duty God has already anointed us for? I’m ready for children of God to follow Christ with a backbone.” That’s got me fired up! How about you? Entries focus on everything from guarding our hearts, minds, and mouths to enduring patiently through tough times so that we grow in godly boldness. Why not give yourself a 31-day challenge as a wise woman praying wise prayers? The book is available now at dwellproject.org.

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. Not long ago I hit the Escape key on my life for a few days so I could just sit and watch some waves roll in. Frazzled may be the right word, but I think “fried” is more accurate for what I felt. Yes, there was the normal, end-of-year stress with my own schooling, holiday preparations, and the kids activities, but I was, and still am, waiting on God to answer some big prayers and felt a soul-level exhaustion in the waiting. Enter Tozer’s classic reflections on the attributes of God—not exactly light beach reading but oh, what my soul needed. The ocean was big, the sky was big, and my problems were big, too, but I was prompted to see that God is bigger. Tozer reminded me that God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, and that to come “to a right belief about God is [to be] relieved of ten thousand temporal problems” since we gain a perspective that all those concerns “cannot concern [us] for very long.” Moody Publishers recently collected three of Tozer’s classics, including The Knowledge of the Holy, into one volume that I’m finding valuable to my spiritual growth. It can be found here on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle.

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