The Six Most Influential Books I’ve Read Within the Last Decade

Books, Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

I’m a book geek. I won’t hide it, nor will I apologize for it.

Over the last few years, reading has played an indispensable role in helping me discover a richer, deeper, more satisfying life with Christ.

But it’s not just reading, per se. It’s learning what to read and who to read. Like digging for gold, you’ve got to know where to look.

So I figured I’d share some of the books and authors that have impacted me the most. There are many, many really good books that I could recommend, to be sure. But for me, these are in a separate category.

So here goes, in no particular order…

What I’ve Been Reading in 2018 (first batch)

Books

My goal going into this year was to read 52 books. So far, I’m halfway to that goal – a bit ahead of pace. But I already know I won’t be doing this again next year. Every so often I find myself pushing forward too quickly rather than slowly absorbing what I’m learning.

Anyhow, I thought I’d go ahead and share a brief snippet about the 26 books I have read so far in 2018. For space reasons, I will only include the first thirteen of them in this post, and then wrap it up in a couple weeks. As you’ll see, I tend to read a lot of theological books, however, there is a little variety sprinkled in.

Reflections From a Young, Naive, But Growing Pastor…

Books, Christian history, Church Leadership, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

When I first began pastoring, I had a pretty defined philosophy on how to lead a church. It was a philosophy that had been formed and shaped in large part by the current cultural trends of modern American church leadership. The components were as follows:

  • Do everything (short of sin) that you can do to attract people to your Sunday morning gatherings.
  • Your “wins” must be measurable (e.g. “How many were in attendance?” “How many were newcomers?” “How many got baptized?” “How many went through the Growth Track?” “How many people served at the last outreach?” “How many…?”).
  • The biggest “win” of the Sunday morning gathering is getting people “saved.”
  • You must get people constantly moving to the “next step” (“Now that you said ‘Yes’ to Jesus, have you registered for water baptism?” “Now that you’ve been baptized, have you joined a small group?” “Now that you’ve joined a small group, have you thought about helping to lead a group next semester?” Et cetera.).

There are other components as well, but you get the drift. Now, I hope I don’t come across as being cynical or dismissive. Because any healthy pastor wants people moving forward, and indeed, there are times when tangible, measurable steps are involved. I am not categorically against any of these things at all. My church certainly utilizes several of these components. But…