My ‘Must-Read’ Books

By Contributing Editors

This week we publish ideas from leaders who are readers. Below are recommendations of “must-read” books from our contributing editors. Many of them had a difficult time limiting their recommendations to the few we allowed them. How many of their choices have you read?

Meanwhile, Publishing Committee member Eddie Lowen wrote an essay this week about three books he recommends. In it, he weaves in examples and principles to describe how reading can change a local ministry. And don’t miss the essay by Contributing Editor Arron Chambers in which he describes how and why he’s written several books. Additionally, Contributing Editor/Publishing Committee member LeRoy Lawson offers recommendations of three books that offer practical advice in his monthly “From My Bookshelf” column.

Becky Ahlberg, Minister of Worship and Neighborhood Engagement

First Christian Church, Anaheim, California

What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty, Bill Ehlig and Ruby K. Payne (aha! Process, 1999)

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (original copyright 1942)

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel, Ronald Allen and Gordon Borror (Wipf & Stock, 2001)

Real Worship: Playground, Battle Ground, or Holy Ground? Warren W. Wiersbe (Baker Books, 2000)

Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Harold M. Best (HarperOne, 1993)

Arron Chambers, Minister

Journey Christian Church, Greeley, Colorado

The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonheoffer (Touchstone, 1995; first published in German, 1937)

The Table of Inwardness: Nurturing Our Inner Life in Christ, Calvin Miller (InterVarsity, 1984)

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas A. Kempis (Filiquarian, 2007; originally published in Latin, 1418)

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence (Wilder, 2008; a collection of writings from the 17th century)

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning (Multnomah, 2005)

Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell (Penguin, 2002)

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Donald Miller (Thomas Nelson, 2003)

Early Christians Speak: Faith and Life in the First Three Centuries (Vol. 2), Everett Ferguson (ACU Press, 2002)

Jeff Faull, Senior Minister

Mount Gilead Church, Mooresville, Indiana

Tom Sawyer Abroad and Pudd’nhead Wilson, both by Mark Twain (various publishers/dates)

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing (Basic Books, 1999)

Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, Antony DeStefano (Image, 2009)

Seeing the Unseen, Joe Beam (Howard, 2002)

Too Small to Ignore, Wess Stafford (WaterBrook Press, 2007)

Ride the Wild Horses! Christian Use of Our Untamed Impulses, J. Wallace Hamilton (Fleming H. Revell, 1952; in fact, anything by J. Wallace Hamilton)

Can Man Live Without God? Ravi Zacharias (Thomas Nelson, 2004)



Randy Gariss, Preaching Minister

College Heights Christian Church, Joplin, Missouri

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (original copyright 1942)

The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Touchstone, 1995)

The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey (Marshall Pickering, 2000)

How Should We Then Live?, Francis Schaeffer (Crossway, 2005)

Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message, Ravi Zacharias (W Publishing, 2002)

The Reason for God, Timothy Keller (Riverhead, 2009)

Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2002)

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, Os Guinness (Thomas Nelson, 2003)

Knowing God, J.I. Packard (InterVarsity, 1979)

Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot (Hendrickson, 2008)

The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard (HarperOne, 1998)

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning (Multnomah, 2005)

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring the Sabbath, Mark Buchanan (Thomas Nelson, 2007)

The Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster (HarperSanFrancisco, 1988)

Jennifer Taylor, Freelance writer, speaker, and consultant

Antioch, Tennessee

Boundaries, Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan, 2001)

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (original copyright 1942)

Anything by Elisabeth Elliot

Disappointment with God, Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 1997)

Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo (Vintage, 1995)

Ben Cachiaras, Senior Pastor

Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, Maryland

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, Dallas Willard (HarperOne, 1990)

The Life God Blesses, Gordon MacDonald (Thomas Nelson, 1997)

A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, Helmut Thielicke (Eerdmanns, 1980)

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church, William Robinson (Wipf & Stock, 1997)

The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, Henri J. M. Nouwen (Image, 1979)

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, N.T. Wright (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006)

Glen Elliott, Lead Pastor

Pantano Christian Church, Tucson, Arizona

In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, Henri J. M. Nouwen (Crossroad Publishing, 1992)

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, Rob Bell (Zondervan, 2006)

The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense, John Bevere (Charisma House, 2004)

Anything by Leo Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Resurrection, etc.)

A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey, Brian D. McLaren (Jossey-Bass, 2008)

Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World, David Garrison (Wigtake Resources, 2003)

E. LeRoy Lawson, International Consultant, Christian Missionary Fellowship

Payson, Arizona

The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, Judith Harris (Free Press, 2009 [revised/updated])

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, M. Scott Peck (Touchstone, 1998)

The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors, John Gribbin (Random House, 2004)

Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict between Faith and Reason, Russell Shorto (Vintage, 2009)

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing (Basic Books, 1999)

Doug Priest, Executive Director, Christian Missionary Fellowship

Indianapolis, Indiana

Jesus in Beijing, David Aikman (Regnery, 2006)

Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed, Paul D. Stanley and Robert Clinton (NAVPress, 1992)

The Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster (HarperSanFrancisco, 1988)

The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Philip Jenkins (Oxford University Press, 2007)

Customs and Culture: Anthropology for Christian Missions, Eugene A. Nida (William Carey Library, 1975)

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity, Ronald Sider (Thomas Nelson, 2005)

Serve God, Save the Planet, J. Matthew Sleeth (Zondervan, 2007)

Phyllis Fox, Director of Church Relations and Youth in Ministry

Milligan College, Tennessee

The Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster (HarperSanFrancisco, 1988)

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard J. Foster (HarperOne, 1992)

Let Prayer Change Your Life, Becky Tirabassi, (Thomas Nelson, 1999 [revised])

Spiritual Discipline’s Handbook, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (InterVarsity, 2005)

The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg (Zondervan; 2002)

Caring for Aging Parents, Richard P. Johnson (Concordia, 1995)

Under the Unpredictable Plant, Eugene Peterson (Eerdmans, 1994)

Joshua (the entire series), Joseph Girzone (various publishers, dates)

Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers (Multnomah, 2005)

Chuck Sackett, Minister, Madison Park Christian Church

Quincy, Illinois

Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today, John R.W. Stott (Eerdmans, 1994)

In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, Henri J. M. Nouwen (Crossroad Publishing, 1992)

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence (Wilder, 2008; a collection of writings from the 17th century)

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart (Zondervan, 2003)

Integrity, Stephen L. Carter (Harper Perennial, 1996)

C. Robert Wetzel, Retired President, Emmanuel School of Religion

Johnson City, Tennessee

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (first published in Russian, 1881)

Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton (Scribner, 2003; original copyright 1948)

Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope (Oxford University Press, 2009; first published in 1857)

Original Sin, P.D. James (Knopf, 1995)

That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis (Scribner, 2003; original copyright 1945)

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