By Mark A. Taylor
Here’s one more indication that Christian churches and their leaders are having an impact on America: many today are sought-after book authors.
I remember a conversation with a Standard Publishing salesman two or three decades ago who said this would never happen. Christian church preachers and professors just would not be accepted in the general Evangelical world, he explained.
I don’t remember all his reasons, but I thought of him when I skimmed through the latest edition of a little catalog called Pastor Resources. The 62-page digest-size booklet contains ads for everything from Christian camps to chairs for church buildings—and books, lots of books. And among them were four books by leaders of Christian churches today.
The inside front cover featured The Power of Together, the new book by Jim Putman, senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho (published by Baker Books). A little later is a full page describing The Neighboring Church, the new book by Brian Mavis and Rick Rusaw (published by Thomas Nelson; Mavis is founder and president of America’s Kids Belong, and Rusaw is lead pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church, Longmont, Colorado).
Bob Russell’s After 50 Years of Ministry, 7 Things I’d Do Differently was a part of a Moody Publishers ad. (Russell retired 10 years ago as senior minister with Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky.)
Another page showed Kyle Idleman, teaching minister with Southeast, smiling behind copies of his latest title, The End of Me, published by David C. Cook and featuring a whole kit of pastor and small group resources developed by City on a Hill.
And these books are only the beginning. My list is likely not complete, but this lineup of recently (or soon-to-be published) books by leaders in the Christian churches shows the widespread influence coming from leaders we know. (Several of these authors have written several books; I’m listing only the most recent here.)
God for the Rest of Us, by Vince Antonucci, lead pastor at Verve, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Tyndale)
Jesus Speaks, by Mike Baker, senior pastor at Eastview Christian Church, Normal, Illinois, J.K. Jones (pastor of spiritual formation), and Jim Probst (pastor of small groups). (IVP Books)
Devoted, by Arron Chambers, lead minister with Journey Christian Church, Greeley, Colorado. (NavPress/Tyndale House)
Finding Your Way Back to God, by Dave Ferguson, lead pastor with Community Christian Church, Naperville, Illinois, and Jon Ferguson, New Thing Network church planter, Chicago, Illinois. (Multnomah)
Life on Mission, by Tim Harlow, senior pastor with Parkview Christian Church, Orland Park, Illinois. (Pastors.com)
When You, Then God; Let Us (2017) by Rusty George, lead pastor with Real Life Church, Valencia, California. (Tyndale Momentum)
Grace is Greater (2017), by Idleman. (Baker Books)
Out of the Bunkers (2017), by Brian Jennings, lead minister with Highland Park Christian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma. (NavPress/Tyndale)
Redeeming Pleasure, by Jeremy Jernigan, executive pastor of creative arts/students at Central Christian Church, Phoenix, Arizona. (Worthy)
Favor (2017), by Brian Jones, senior pastor with Christ’s Church of the Valley, Royersford, Pennsylvania. (IVP Books)
Messy Grace; God of Tomorrow (2017), by Caleb Kaltenbach, lead pastor with Discovery Church, Simi Valley, California. (Waterbrook)
Why Church History Matters, by Robert Rea, professor of church history at Lincoln (Illinois) Christian University. (IVP Books)
Walls Fall Down, by Dudley Rutherford, senior pastor with Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, California. (Nelson Books)
Everyone Loves Sex (2017), by Bryan Sands, director of Campus Ministries with Hope International University, Fullerton, California. (Leafwood)
Like Jesus, by Jamie Snyder, lead pastor with Lakeside Christian Church, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. (David C. Cook)
Becoming a Curious Christian, by Casey Tygrett, spiritual formation pastor with Parkview Christian Church, Orland Park, Illinois. (IVP Books)
Me Too, by Jon Weece, lead follower at Southland Christian Church, Lexington, Kentucky. (Thomas Nelson)
Don Gates, founder and principal with the Gates Group, a literary agency based in Louisville, Kentucky, has represented many of these authors. And perhaps no one is more enthused than he about their impact for good. “Today, like never before,” he said, “the written words of Christian church pastors . . . are having an impact on millions of Christian readers far and wide by partnering with the best Evangelical publishers in the nation.”