Jeff's 2017 Reads

Every year I post the books that  I hope to read in the new year. I try to have a number of books that vary in topic. I include books I read for family growth, leadership, history, theology, fun, and some for growth in a particular book of the Bible. Here is a look at the books I plan on reading in 2017. 

Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

Psalms (Geneva Series of Commentaries) by  William S. Plummer


Fun/Personal Growth

This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry

Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso

All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning with John Blase


What are you reading over the next year? How is it going so far? 

Pat Aldridge's 2017 Reading Plan

This is my reading plan for 2017 ... at least as far as I know it at this time

Soul Care

I'm reading this because I'm doing a lot more counseling than I ever thought I would. My hope is that this will help me do it better.




As a pastor, I lead. This book (written by friends) has the potential to grow my understanding of my calling.





Every year I read a least one book on discipleship. I do this because this is what believers are called to do.




Children's / Youth / Family Ministry

This is where my heart beats faster as far as ministry is concerned. I'm reading this a little selfishly because my kids are about to enter their teen years, I need wisdom in how to parent them.




I also read a least one book a year on marriage. Marriages need to be encouraged and strengthened. My hope is that this book will do both.




My daughter, who knows me all to well, bought me this for Christmas. Suffice to say, I'll enjoy working my way through this.




What are you reading this year? Leave a recommendation in the comment section.

This post originally appeared on

Follow Up with Ron Hunter

A few weeks ago, I (Pat) posted a review of The DNA of D6 by Ron Hunter. I tagged Ron Hunter on Twitter, but I didn't think he'd see it... let alone respond. Imagine my surprise (... and shock ... and fear) when he contacted us about wanting to follow up.

So, after a little confusion on my part (overthinking time zones), there I was on the phone with THE Ron Hunter. I felt a little (and by that I mean A LOT) intimidated. I felt like I was in the principal's office ... not that I know what that feels like. So, what did I do? I started apologizing for my perceived misrepresentation of the book. As we continued to talk, the more relaxed he made me feel and the more I began to see the heart and passion that was behind this man and his ministry.

We talked about my review, and I quickly came to the understanding that I read a lot of my preconceived notions into the book and thus missed its message. Without really realizing it, I was looking for a reason to not like it. As I read the title I was looking for something the book couldn't provide. I was looking for surface level answers that I could implement right away to make my ministry better. What the book actually offered was high level principles through questions that would lead the reader to what it would like in their specific context. On my first read through, I read the questions at the end of each chapter without actually answering them and allowing that to information into lead me into the next chapter.

Ron and I talked through several of the chapter, and I asked a lot of questions. I took a lot of notes as he patiently answered my questions (and by "answered my questions" I mean ministered to my small town, small church soul). By the end of the conversation, I was reminded about the reason I continue to return to the D6 conference ... I still have a lot to learn.

My biggest takeaway from our half hour conversation? Help parents have regular conversations with their kids. Sounds funny, right? Almost too simple. Hunter broke it down very simply for me by stating that that is through regular conversations that we are building deeper relationships with our kids. As the relationship deepens so will the conversations. He warned me, and all parents, that if the only deep conversations parents have with their kids is during correction and discipline, the probably won't be open and honest when facing tough decisions.

So what am I going to do as a result? A couple things:

  1. Re-read the book. Slowly. Not moving on to the next chapter until I've dealt with current chapter's information.
  2. Be more careful with the reviews I write, making sure I can capture the essence of what the author is actually trying to communicate, rather than my preconceived notion.
  3. Continue to be open, teachable, and willing to be corrected.

Mr. Hunter, thank you for your time and your gentle correction. Thanks for your passion for the next generation and discipleship across the generations.

Book Review: The DNA of D6 by Ron Hunter

At last year's D6 Conference, I picked up Ron Hunter's book The DNA of D6: Building Blocks of Generational Discipleship. A lot of what Hunter has written resonates with me. The book is a battle cry not just for the next generation, but for every generation (pg. 6-7).

What I Liked

This book does a great job identifying the problem: If we are going to truly disciple the next generation, we have to start at home with mom and dad then supplement discipling them with the resources of the church. For so long the church has had this the other way around. We need parents to the primary disciple-makers of their children. In order for that to happen most effectively, the church and its leaders need to train them.

What I Struggled With

While the book did identify the problem, I struggled with the lack of solution. I understand that this book was written to wide audience, from different backgrounds, with different challenges. While I wasn't truly expecting a, "go do this" solution, the book left me with more questions.

The one answer Hunter offers is to have every ministry on the same page through the use of the D6 curriculum. While that may work in certain situations, it may not in all. It also seems a little limiting to both lead/senior pastors and ministry leaders.

As I continue to pray about the problem identified, my hope is that God will show my how to put together a solution for my context.

Best Quotes

"From the earliest of moments, kids take their cues from their parents. They are later influenced by others, but never to the same degree as the core values taught by dads and moms." (pg. 10)

"... rules should not trump relationships." (pg. 45)

"For the most part, a staff member's time is better spent developing people, not curriculum. Staff members find the greatest return on investment when they intentionally build into other people." (pg. 75)

"... there is no earthly expiration date on the Great Commission. While outreach programs have changed and will continue to do so, the one constant ingredient is relationships." (pg. 82)

"You can fail as a pastor, as a leader, but there is no greater fight than for your home." (pg. 117)

All quotes taken from The DNA of D6 by Ron Hunter Jr. ©2015 by Randall House.