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I recently asked other pastors …
in our Facebook group and on my Twitter account what must-read books they would recommend other pastors/preachers to read this year. These books are not necessarily newbooks in 2018, but they are recommended books this year.
These books for preachers aren’t all preaching books, but books that other preachers and church leaders find to be important for us to read.
Books are vital for our development as leaders and preachers. If we aren’t reading, we likely aren’t growing. But when we regularly expose ourselves to new ideas, new angles, and new thought processes, we open the door to growth.
So here is the list of must-read books for preachers in 2018 as recommended by other preachers and church leaders.
Must-Read Books for Preachers in 2018 (Recommended by Preachers and Church Leaders)
Power in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix
“I would not be who I am and I would not be doing what I do if it were not for God’s grace toward me through the reading and applying of this book.” —David Platt.
It’s still used in Bible schools and seminaries today, and it shows no signs of slowing down: Power in the Pulpit is an ideal introduction to preaching.
Dr. Jerry Vines and Dr. Jim Shaddix have achieved a balanced approach to sermon preparation in Power in the Pulpit. This primer combines the perspective of a pastor of forty years with that of someone who devotes daily time to training pastors in the context of theological education. It offers practical preaching instruction from a tradition that sees biblical exposition as a paramount and frequent event in the life of the local church.
Progress in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix
“Progress in the Pulpit is a master class in preaching, written by two most-qualified authors. Dr. Jerry Vines is truly a Prince of the Pulpit.” — Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., from the foreword
Like musical instruments, preachers get better over time—unless, of course, they neglect maintenance. Progress in the Pulpit is for seasoned preachers looking to refresh their craft and receive guidance for contemporary challenges to preaching.
Small Church Essentials by Karl Vaters
Do you lead a small church?
Big churches get all the love. Articles, books, conferences—they mostly feature leaders of large congregations. Yet big churches are a small part of the ecclesial landscape. In fact, more than 90 percent of churches have fewer than 200 people. That means small churches play a big part in what God is doing.
Small Church Essentials is for leaders of these smaller congregations. It encourages them to steward their role well, debunking myths about small churches while offering principles for leading a dynamic, healthy small church.
Secrets of a Secret Shopper by Greg Atkinson
Secrets of a Secret Shopper is a book on the ministry of hospitality, first impressions, and guest services for the local church written by Greg Atkinson for pastors and church leaders. The book covers ten areas of focus including online presence, parking, signage, children’s ministry, security, and others.
Don’t Quit Before You Finish by Jimmy Draper
This book addresses the key elements of Christian leadership. The more than 70 principles included could well apply to anyone in a leadership position in an organization today. The focus is on knowing that God has designed for you to be in a position of leadership and identifying the role of a leader, addressing the principles of change and other challenges leaders face.
There is a crisis in Christian leadership today that is widespread. Many begin in ministry and then fail in their leadership roles. Why does that happen? How do you resolve the issues that are pitfalls for ministry leaders? What are the keys to developing the kind of relationships that will ensure success in leadership? How do you deal with the monumental and systemic changes we face in the world today? Everything in our world is changing faster today than ever before and the changes are such that we will never be the same again. Morals, ethics, religious attitudes, and convictions are in flux. How can one navigate the turmoil in every aspect of our culture today successfully? That is what this book is about.
Most of the failures in leadership are self-inflicted. Failing is rarely the fault of those we serve. This book is designed to help every leader examine their own lives and implement the tools presented in this book, with the character to sustain them.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity. Now updated and revised to equip a new generation of readers, this anniversary edition features in-depth discussions on each of the key disciplines.
Ultimate Intention by DeVern Fromke
From the back cover: “The author considers these critical questions: *In the beginning, before God created Adam (mankind), what was His original purpose and plan for him? *What could have happened in the Garden of Eden if Adam had not sinned and God’s redemptive plan had not become necessary? *We know that when God created Adam he received natural life, but how did God plan for Adam to receive Divine (uncreated life)? *What is the difference between God’s creating and begetting work? *It is evident that God has given the Cross a central place in His redemptive working; what is the difference between the WORK of the Cross and the WAY of the Cross? *Since God in the fullness of time, will put on display His Divine masterpiece before all the universe, how can we fully cooperate with him if we do not understand His Ultimate Intention?”
Insurgence by Frank Viola
Why does the allegiance that radical terrorists give to their false cause exceed the allegiance that most Christians today give to Jesus Christ?
In Insurgence, bestselling author Frank Viola presents a radical proposal for Christians. Namely, that we have lost the explosive, earthshaking gospel of the kingdom that Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles preached. Viola argues that we’ve lost this dynamic, titanic, living gospel and exchanged it for a gospel of religious duty or permissiveness and “easy believism.”
In today’s politically charged era, Christians on the progressive left as well as the conservative right both equate their particular viewpoints with the kingdom of God. Viola challenges and dismantles these perspectives, offering a fresh and revolutionary look at the gospel of the kingdom.
Paul: A Biography by N.T. Wright
Paul is a compelling modern biography that reveals the apostle’s greater role in Christian history—as an inventor of new paradigms for how we understand Jesus and what he accomplished—and celebrates his stature as one of the most effective and influential intellectuals in human history.
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande
In The Peacemaker, Ken Sande presents a comprehensive and practical theology for conflict resolution designed to bring about not only a cease-fire but also unity and harmony. Sande takes readers beyond resolving conflicts to true, life-changing reconciliation with family members, coworkers, and fellow believers.
Biblically based, The Peacemaker is full of godly wisdom and useful suggestions that are easily applied to any relationship needing reconciliation. Sande’s years of experience as an attorney and as president of Peacemaker Ministries will strengthen readers’ confidence as they stand in the gap as peacemakers.
Get The Peacemaker
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt
What does it look like to live for Jesus in the everyday stuff of life?
Many Christians have unwittingly embraced the idea that “church” is a once-a-week event rather than a community of Spirit-empowered people; that “ministry” is what pastors do on Sundays rather than the 24/7 calling of all believers; and that “discipleship” is a program rather than the normal state of every follower of Jesus.
Drawing on his experience as a pastor and church planter, Jeff Vanderstelt wants us to see that there’s more—much more—to the Christian life than sitting in a pew once a week. God has called his people to something bigger: a view of the Christian life that encompasses the ordinary, the extraordinary, and everything in between.
Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt
flu·en·cy / noun
:the ability to speak a language easily and effectively
Even if they want to, many Christians find it hard to talk to others about Jesus. Is it possible this difficulty is because we’re trying to speak a language we haven’t actually spent time practicing?
To become fluent in a new language, you must immerse yourself in it until you actually start to think about life through it. Becoming fluent in the gospel happens the same way—after believing it, we have to intentionally rehearse it (to ourselves and to others) and immerse ourselves in its truths. Only then will we start to see how everything in our lives, from the mundane to the magnificent, is transformed by the hope of the gospel.
Get Gospel Fluency
How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman
How can we move forward amid such political strife and cultural contention?
We live in a time of division. It shows up not just between political parties and ethnic groups and churches but also inside of them. As Christians, we’ve felt pushed to the outskirts of national public life, yet even then we are divided about how to respond. Some want to strengthen the evangelical voting bloc. Others focus on social-justice causes, and still others would abandon the public square altogether. What do we do when brothers and sisters in Christ sit next to each other in the pews but feel divided and angry? Is there a way forward?
Everybody Always by Bob Goff
What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it?
In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.
Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Always reveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.
Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
For more than forty years this classic study has shown Christians how to minister to the people God brings into their lives. Instead of drawing on the latest popular fad or the newest selling technique, Dr. Robert E. Coleman looks to the Bible to find the answer to the question: What was Christ’s strategy for evangelism? This convenient, portable format has an updated look for a new generation of readers.
No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry by Daniel Im
This book explores five micro-shifts that have the potential to produce macro-changes in your church. As you read, you will discover how to integrate these micro-shifts into the life of your church, starting with the way you disciple. You will finish by developing a plan to structure, communicate, and evaluate these changes to ensure that they take root and pave the way for lasting change and kingdom impact.
Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards
When you understand the laws of human behavior, your influence, impact, and income will increase significantly. What’s more, you will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, and build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation—negotiations, interviews, parties, and pitches. You’ll never interact the same way again.
The Art of Pastoring by David Hansen
Named one of the Top Ten Books of 1994 by the Academy of Parish Clergy! Hundreds of books, tapes, workshops and seminars promise to answer these impossible questions. Some offer a set of practical guidelines; others suggest a system or pattern to follow. Some stress various ministry functions; others feature case studies as models of success or failure. Some are helpful. Others are not. But in The Art of Pastoring, David Hansen turns pastoral self-help programs on their heads. He tackles the perennial questions from within his own experience.
How Your Church Family Works by Peter Steinke
Drawing on the work of Bowen, Friedman, and his own many years’ counseling experience, Peter Steinke shows how to recognize and deal with the emotional roots of such issues as church conflict, leadership roles, congregational change, irresponsible behavior, and the effect of family of origin on current relationships. Discover why working relationships may be “stuck” in certain behaviors. Psychologically sound, theologically grounded, and practically illustrated with case studies, How Your Church Family Works will help you better understand how your congregation works and how to keep it healthy. Featuring a new preface and a fresh redesign, the book is a classic work by one of the most respected names in congregational consulting.
The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Readers discover how brief experiences can change lives, such as the experiment in which two strangers meet in a room, and forty-five minutes later, they leave as best friends. (What happens in that time?) Or the tale of the world’s youngest female billionaire, who credits her resilience to something her father asked the family at the dinner table. (What was that simple question?)
Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck—but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.
In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”
Get Ego is the Enemy
Preaching Killer Sermons by Lane Sebring
“Lane provides practical tools to help pastors deliver engaging messages. Anyone who preaches or teaches will benefit from this book.” -Mark Batterson, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Circle Maker, Lead Pastor of National Community Church.
Today’s audiences are more distracted than ever, but sermons can only be effective if people are listening. You have to capture people’s attention. But how? In Preaching Killer Sermons, author and pastor Lane Sebring reveals practical preparation and delivery techniques that will enable you to better connect with your listeners.
Preaching Sticky Sermons by Brandon Kelley and Joe Hoagland
Preaching remains relevant even as America becomes less Christian. Preaching Sticky Sermons is a practical and accessible book for pastors young and old. Kelley and Hoagland reveal how to make your sermons stick. They focus on four main areas of creating a sermon: Preparation, writing, delivery, and evaluation. This book will help you write sermons that stick not only on Sunday but also throughout the week.
What About You?
So there we have it. These were all recommended by preachers and church leaders. What would you recommend as must-read books for preachers in 2018? Let us know by joining our Facebook group or send us a Tweet.