We asked 35 Christian leaders, “Who is the influencer with the biggest impact on your life and ministry?” Most of these leaders listed several influential thinkers, writers, innovators, and leaders more of us should get to know. This response is from Sean Palmer, lead minister of The Vine Church, Temple, Texas.
If N.T. Wright isn’t the world’s greatest living theologian, he’s certainly the one influencing my life and work the most. In fact, among my pastor and theologian friends, I’ve begun to call Wright “Q” because he is the source of a great deal of what is now being preached and taught among churches I know.
At root, Wright’s books—most of which are dense and deep—reexamine the received notions about the ministry of the apostle Paul. The most important aspect is Paul is best understood as a pastor who loves and serves the church. If you can fight your way through it, reading Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God will deepen your heart and love for both Paul and the church.
Second to N.T. Wright (and much easier to read) is my friend Scot McKnight. Scot hosts the Jesus Creed blog, and his book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible should be required reading for every Christian. Scot’s latest book, A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together, is just the medicine the contemporary church needs.