Nouwen, Henri J.M. Anything, but in particular…
- The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry. Harper One, 1981. A brief introduction to the witness of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The keys to authentic spirituality: Solitude, Silence and Unceasing Prayer.
- Creative Ministry. Image Doubleday, 1991. Nouwen considers five primary tasks of the minister: teaching, preaching, counseling, organizing and celebrating.
- The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Image Doubleday, 2010. Nouwen works from his own life to show how our journey into our own woundedness becomes the path toward healing for us and ministry with others
- Reaching Out: the Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. Image Doubleday, 1986. From Loneliness to Solitude; From Hostility to Hospitality: and From Illusion to Prayer.
Merton, Thomas. Anything, but in particular…
- Contemplative Prayer. Image Doubleday, 1996. A brief introduction to contemplative prayer.
- New Seeds of Contemplation. Abbey of Gesthemane, 1961. Teaching us to receive each moment of life as an invitation into deeper prayer and communion with God.
- The Seven Story Mountain. Harcourt Brace, 1976. Merton’s Biography.
The Monks of New Skete. In the Spirit of Happiness. 1999. Begins by relating a brief visit by an elderly monk who was convinced that life is, “necessarily a bed of suffering and pain, happiness is out of the question.”(ix) In contrast, the Monks of New Skete, “understand happiness as a deep and lasting interior peace….one that comes only with the struggle to search out and accept the will of God in our lives, one that demands of us a faith, hope and love upon which and through which we strive to elevate the quality of all human life.”(xi)
The Way of a Pilgrim, and The Pilgrim Continues His Way. New Sarov Press, 1997. This classic of Russian Orthodox spirituality presents the story of a pilgrim in search of the meaning of Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” What he received, in his journey, were words that moved from his lips to his mind and took up residence in his heart, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” the Jesus prayer.
Foster, Richard. Foster and others formed a resource ministry called Renovare’ which is a great source for texts supporting spiritual formation and renewal.
- Celebration of Discipline: The path to spiritual growth. Harper, 1988. The Inward Disciplines: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study; The Outward Disciplines: Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service; The Corporate Disciplines: Confession, Worship, Guidance, Celebration.
- Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines. Harper, 2000. Four readings per discipline from classic texts of the Christian spiritual tradition, together with a brief discussion and come exercises and questions for reflection.
And for me, the work of the Jesuits.
- Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits. Loyola Press, 2005. A small volume of prayers and poems.
- Ignatius Loyola: Spiritual Exercises. Crossroads Publishing, 1992. A guidebook for spiritual directors and those who guide others in the spiritual life. This book by Ignatius provides helpful insight into maturity in Christ, but is best received in conversation with others who have made the journey – not for beginners. Multiple other translations with commentary are also available. Tetlow resides in Dallas at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House.
- Making Choices in Christ: The Foundations of Ignatian Spirituality. Loyola Press, 2008. One key emphasis of the Spiritual Exercises is the process of discernment, or what Ignatius calls making an election – an important choice about one’s activity or direction in life and relationships. This book explores how the Exercises guide us in centering our prayerful decision making in Christ.
- Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke. How to Think Theologically. Fortress, 2006. A primer for leaders and groups on the art of the practice of theological reflection, which can and should be learned by any who seek a deeper encounter with God and a more impactful life bringing hope, peace and love into the world, bringing light into dark places. Also available is a groups study guide: http://store.fortresspress.com/media/downloads/0800638182_studyguide.doc.
- Killen, Patricia O’Connell and John deBeer. The Art of Theological Reflection. Crossroad Pub, 2004. A handbook that includes tools and techniques for individual and group theological reflection.
- Kinast, Robert L. Let the Ministry Teach: A Guide to Theological Reflection. Liturgical Press, 1996. Reflecting specifically on the practice of ministry as a context and a primary source for theological reflection, and the necessity of this practice for vital ministry.
- — What Are They Saying About Theological Reflection? Paulist Press, 2000. An overview of new perspectives through 5 ‘styles’: Ministerial, Spiritual Wisdom, Feminist, Inculturation, Practical.
PERSONAL GROWTH – EMOTIONAL AND RELATIONAL
For me, in addition to the insights available through scripture, prayer and theological reflection, the schools of Systems Thinking and Family Systems Theory provide a wealth of resources. Systems theory, as originated by Murray Bowen and later articulated primarily by Roberta Gilbert and Edwin Friedman, offers a way of thinking about our lives that is not immediately obvious or intuitive, yet once we hear it, we think perhaps we have known it all along. I do not work from Bowen’s texts, but rather from those of Gilbert and Friedman.
- Gilbert, Roberta M, M.D. The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory: A New Way of Thinking About the Individual and the Group. Center for the Study of Human Systems, 2006.
- Gilbert, Roberta M, M.D. Extraordinary Leadership: Thinking Systems, Making A Difference. Center for the Study of Human Systems, 1992.
- Gilbert, Roberta M, M.D. Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking about Human Relationships. Center for the Study of Human Systems, 2006.
- Friedman, Edwin H. Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue. Guilford Press, 1985. Friedman applies the work of Bowen, a secular theorist in psychology, to congregational life systems and their leadership through the lens of the Judeo-Christian Traditions.
FORMATION AND REFORMATION OF THE PASTORAL SELF
- Richardson, Ronald W. Becoming a Healthier Pastor: Family Systems Theory and the Pastor’s Own Family. Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
- Richardson, Ronald W. Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life. Augsburg Fortress, 1996.
- Herrington, Jim, R. Robert Creech, Trisha Taylor. The Leader’s Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation. Leadership Network, 2003. This text is a guidebook for personal transformation through honestly facing our limitations and embracing who God has created, called and is recreating us to be. A compassionate companion and guide for the journey. Herrington et.al. have several other resources that are similarly valuable.
- Wuellner, Flora Slosson. Feed My Shepherds: Spiritual Healing and Renewal for Those in Christian Leadership. The Upper Room, 1998. A resource for those in lay or clerical ministry who are down and discouraged, defeated and desolate, or anywhere in between.
COACHING AND MENTORING
- Miller, Linda J. and Chad W. Hall. Coaching for Christian Leaders: A practical guide. Chalice Press, 2007.
- Williams, Brian A. The Potter’s Rib: Mentoring for Pastoral Formation. Regent College Pub, 2005.
- Crane, Thomas G. The Heart of Coaching: Using Transformational Coaching to Create a High-Performance Coaching Culture. FTA Press, 2010.
- Moots, Paul. Becoming Barnabas: The Ministry of Encouragement. Alban Inst, 2004.
- Cresswell, Jane. Christ-Centered Coaching: 7 Benefits for Ministry Leaders. Chalice Press, 2006.