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Loving Your Community by Stephen Viars: If a local public school asked to hold its PTA meeting in your church’s sanctuary, what would you say? Viars, a pastor and Biblical counselor, challenges pastors to “say yes unless you have to say no.” For years, his church in Lafayette, Ind., has worked to build relationships with its community. He chronicles that journey, explaining how the church started the outreach ministries it has and why they are worth the time and resources. The book is full of engaging stories from various viewpoints: Viars as a pastor, lay people in the church, and community members. Viars challenges pastors to think through whether the strategy is Biblical and how it might look in their own church.
Struck Down but Not Destroyed: Living Faithfully With Anxiety by Pierce Taylor Hibbs: Sometimes suffering people want nothing more than relief from pain. Though some trials are prolonged and deeply painful, the rewards of faithfully enduring—knowing God better and becoming more like Christ—are worth it. Speaking from experience, Hibbs offers a God-centered look at addressing anxiety disorders. The book contains snapshots from his 12 years of living with an anxiety disorder, and he gives practical and understanding counsel. Chapters cover the role of prayer, marriage, and exercise in living faithfully with an anxiety disorder, which he distinguishes from the occasional anxiety everyone feels when times get hard. Hibbs uses Scripture carefully and writes compellingly to remind Christians with anxiety disorders that God uses their weakness to make them useful to His kingdom.
Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa B. Kruger: Kruger encourages mature Christian women to reach out to younger women and invite them along for ordinary tasks like shopping, folding laundry, or watching children’s sports games. She instructs the older women to share their struggles with the younger believers, and she tells younger women to commit to do any homework the mentor recommends and find ways to serve and bless her in return. Kruger suggests topics they can discuss together, everything from church involvement, to serving, to contentment. Manageable in length and a pleasant read, Growing Together, available June 9, could be a great guide for someone mentoring for the first time.
Created to Draw Near by Edward T. Welch: Longtime Biblical counselor Edward Welch takes readers on a tour of the Biblical storyline, highlighting the theme of drawing near: God created man to have a relationship with Him, and God made ways for man to draw near even after man sinned. The book expands from the Garden of Eden, to the old covenant priesthood, to Christ as the ultimate priest. But there’s more: God’s people are a holy priesthood, meant to draw near to Him. Though this book is not as specifically counseling-focused as many of Welch’s others, it is immensely comforting and practical, and it displays with clear, poetic writing his characteristic thoughtfulness about Scripture.
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