Yes, yes. I realize that summer break is roughly 1/3 over. But I’m just now getting around to some vacation reading, which means I’m just now getting around to my sort of annual suggested reading list.

“Why should we pay any attention to your book suggestions?!?” You shriek. Because Oprah is busy running a network and she doesn’t have time to oversee a book club, that’s why. Somebody has to step in, and I’m glad to do it.

So without further adieu, here are the top seven books I’ve read over the last few months. I highly recommend ’em for your beach reads…

Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus, Jonathan Leeman. Leeman gives a great view-from-the-pew perspective on why covenant membership is important. This is a required read for all of our Connections team this year.

Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers, Nelson Searcy. Searcy is the king of church systems. He gives a great play-by-play of how to identify, invite, and retain the most important people in ministry: volunteer servants.

Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, Paul David Tripp. Perhaps the most spiritually challenging book I’ve ever read, Tripp squares off against the pastor’s common enemies of pride and self-sufficiency.

The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting, Bunmi Laditan. I finished this book a couple of days ago and was literally sore from laughing. I think I LOLed on all but about five pages. Seriously, if you’re a parent you have to buy this one. Funniest book I’ve ever read. Ever.

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles. If you serve retail customers or church guests, this book is a quick, easily-implemented read to change the way you look at both.

Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds, Tom Davis. Davis’ Fields of the Fatherless was a game changer for me a few years back when Merriem and I were praying through adoption. He challenges the American church’s apathy towards the worldwide AIDS epidemic.

Sent: How One Ordinary Family Traded the American Dream for God’s Greater Purpose, Hilary Alan. This could be one of the most impactful “calling” books I’ve ever encountered. Hilary and her family are personal friends. I’ve had the privilege of observing them from God’s call on their family to their time overseas to their re-entry into stateside life. If you’ve never read a page-turning disciple-making story, this one’ll get you started.

What am I missing? What have you read lately that should be on my list? Comment below.