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Here is what I have been reading this last month:

Fables Vol 13. The Great Fables Crossover

When Jack discovers the existence of The Literals and their leader, he must leave his own adventures behind to warn Fabletown.

This installment of Fables crossovers with the parallel series of Jack the Giant Slayer. Jack is a regular character in the Fables universe but I haven’t read any of his spin off adventures. It is a bit tricky reading a crossover episode when you only know one half of the story. Like the crossover Buffy/Angel episodes I always felt like I was missing out on some of the info because I didn’t follow the Angel series.

In this crossover the threat, villain and hero all come from the Jack series and as the concept of the Literals, who can rewrite the universe at any whim, was also new to me I felt like I spent a lot of the time playing catch up to understand what is going on.

That being said this installment had some great moments. I loved the literary Genre’s battling it out and laughed a lot at their antics. It was also very amusing to see Bigby as a little girl and still owning the battlefield.

I just need Rose Red to stop moping about and to learn a bit more about Mr Dark. I am looking forward to seeing how the Fables story progresses, and for Jack to return to his own misadventures.

Breakout Churches by Thom S. Rainer

Breakout Churches- what does it take for your church to break out of mediocrity? In search of answers, Thom Rainer and his research team conducted a landmark study on the church. Unfolding the findings of that study, Breakout Churches furnishes both principles and examples to show how you as a pastor or church leader can help your church break out of the status quo into unprecedented fruitfulness. Of the thousands of churches examined in the study, thirteen met the criteria for a breakout church. All of them experienced both a period of struggle and a time of sustained breakout growth under the same pastor s leadership. Transitioning from mediocrity to excellence over several years, they grew to have an impact on the entire community. Breakout Churches tells the story of these churches and their pastors. And, using a statistical approach, it identifies key patterns and characteristics common to churches that experienced turnarounds.

As you can see, I am continuing with my goal of reading one piece of non-fiction for every two fiction books. This month I read another book by Thom S. Rainer and it was another challenging read. The trouble is that a lot of what he says makes sense and seems reasonably clear, so much so that you get that itchy feeling of ‘I am going to have to do something about this’.

The book is all about how churches can recover and move on from a period of decline into a period of growth and it’s very closely based on the Business book; from Good to Great. It is interesting to see how far ideas from the business world can be applied to church organisations. There is more overlap than you would think!

Mostly, what I love about this book is it’s heart and honesty. The author obviously cares about local churches of all sizes and he wants to lift up it’s leaders, not beat them up. Also he is frank and open about the troubles that breakout churches experience. He offers a very realistic and at the same time, faith-filled, picture of the journey churches take to break out of decline.

Definitely one to read if you are involved in churches!

My Reading List:

Next on my reading list:

  • Off to the Lakes – Jessica Lofthouse
  • Babies in waiting – Rosie Fiore
  • Stay – Sophia Barrett