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  • Writer's pictureBarry Peters

There's No Way

Back in April 2018, I blogged about some challenges that I had laid out for myself. To be honest, I was a little nervous in posting for two reasons - 1) Pride - I didn't want the "look at me" point of view to come across. 2) Failure - what if I didn't follow through with the challenges I had set.

One of the challenges I set for myself was reading. Here were my thoughts in April:

My first challenge was given to me indirectly through someone I’ve met briefly on a couple of occasions. Jenni Catron ( has been an executive director at 2 mega-churches (Tennessee and California). She has been leading churches for years as well as speaking at conferences across America. I’ve always appreciated her passion for ministry. On December 30, 2017, Jenni posted on her Instagram the following, “Reading goal for 2017 was 52 books. I will finish 40 books… a little shy of my goal but nevertheless I read some great stuff that challenged and stretched me.” After my wife Laura read this post to me, I was challenged myself. I’ve never been a reader and have always read a book here and there. After being challenged from a few of my mentors in 2017 (and an article I read), I decided as a “New Year’s Resolution” to read a book a month. Then Jenni’s post hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately thought that if Jenni could direct a mega-church, begin a consulting group, writes books, speak at conferences, etc., what was my excuse? So, thanks, Jenni. The challenge is accepted. May God continue to challenge me to grow in my reading. It’s 93 days in and I’ve read 13 books. It’s been life changing.

I have never been a reader. Matter of fact, I had said publicly that there are two things that determine who you become - the books you read and the people you meet. However, I always joked that I just doubled up on the people I meet to make up for my lack of reading. Well, after challenging myself and then saying, "there's no way" many times, I set the goal of 52 in 52. Yep, 52 books in 52 weeks. Now, I must admit that there were a few struggles, but overall, it has changed my way of thinking (as well as my life). I feel more like a student than ever before. I am learning more about me, my family, my leadership, and my relationships. I am thankful for what God is constantly showing me.

A couple of things have really helped me in my 52 in 52 journey - 1) Get in a routine. Don't wait until the final day or two of the week to begin a book. Start early if you can and give yourself a few days off. 2) Take notes (highlight or paste) on what you're reading. 3) Keep a log of all your books. It is a great reflection as well as resource to provide to others. 4) Seek accountability. I am privileged to have a good friend in ministry who joined me on this journey. We were able to ask how our reading was going at any point.

So, to encourage you on a book reading journey, here is my list of books that I read in 2018:

1. Jan 1-7 Kelso - Steve Haskin

2. Jan 8-14 The Build - Paul Teutul Jr.

3. Jan 15-21 5 Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lenciono

4. Jan 22-28 Pastors Are People Too - Jimmy Dodd

5. Jan 29-Feb 4 How To Lead When You’re Not in Charge - Clay Scroggins

6. Feb 5-11 Never Forsaken - Juan Ortiz

7. Feb 12-18 Prayer Life - Paul Miller

8. Feb 19-25 2 Chairs - Bob Beaudine

9. Feb 26-Mar 4 Habits for Holiness - Philip Nation

10. Mar 5-11 Becoming a welcoming church/We want you here - Thom Rainer

11. Mar 12-18 The MOO Factor - Dennis Schone

12. March 19-25 Leadership and Self-Deception - Arbinger Institute

13. March 26-April 1 Whisper - Mark Batterson

14. April 2-8 Christian Beliefs - Wayne Grudem & Elliot Grudem

15. April 9-15 Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller

16. April 16-22 The Tale of Three Kings - Gene Edwards

17. April 23-29 Your Best Year Ever - Michael Hyatt

18. April 30-May 6 Take the Lid Off Your Church - Tony Morgan

19. May 7-13 Let Hope In - Pete Wilson

20. May 14-20 Leading Small Groups with Purpose - Steve Gladen

21. May 21-27 Sidelined - Chuck Pagano

22. May 28-June 3 Greater - Steven Furtick

23. June 4-10 The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense - Mark Mittelberg

24. June 11-17 Judges - Warren Wiersbe

25. June 18-24 Living Forward - Michael Hyatt

26. June 25-July 1 Everybody Always - Bob Goff

27. July 2-8 Cracking Your Church’s Culture - Frand Chand

28. July 9-15 It’s Not What You Think - Jefferson Bethke

29. July 16-22 One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven - Mark Cahill

30. July 23-29 Not God Enough - JD Greear

31. July 30-August 5 Vision: Lost And Found - Tim Stevens

32. August 6-12 The Synergist - Les McKeown

33. August 13-19 I Will - Thom Rainer

34. August 20-26 Fresh Eyes in Jesus’ Miracles - Doug Newton

35. August 27-September 2 Sermon Crunch - Caleb Breakey

36. September 3-9 The Red Sea Rules - Robert Morgan

37. September 10-16 Letters To The Church - Francis Chan

38. September 17-23 The Treasure Principle - Randy Alcorn

39. September 24-30 The Needs of the Heart - Chip Dodd

40. October 1-7 The Case for Miracles - Lee Strobel

41. October 8-14 Be Alive - Get to Know the Living Savior - Warren Wiersbe

42. October 15-21 Didn’t See It Coming - Carey Nieuwhof

43. October 22-28 Scrappy Church - Thom Rainer

44. October 29-November 4 Church Growth Flywheel - Rich Birch

45. November 5-11 Next - Vanderbloemen and Bird

46. November 12-18 But God - Jim Sylvester

47. November 19-25 Faith in the Shadows - Austin Fischer

48. November 26-December 2 Irresistible - Andy Stanley

49. December 3-9 Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations - Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright

50. December 10-16 Divine Direction - Craig Groeschel

51. December 17-23 Be Strong - Warren Wiersbe

52. December 24-30 The Will of God is the Word of God - James MacDonald

* I have bolded my top 7 reads.

Well, I trust this encourages you to pick up a book and read. It's life changing!

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