My 2018 reading list was heavily weighted toward books on church structure, mainly that which focused on discipleship and community. Here are 5 of the books I enjoyed the most.
Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
This wasn’t just one of the best books I’ve read this year - It was one of the best books I’ve read, period. For years I’ve been wrestling with the question, “Shouldn’t church be more?” This book answered, “Yes, and here’s how.” Chester and Timmis show a whole different way of thinking about church, a way that I believe is far more biblical than we often see today.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer’s classic work on the interdependent life of the church is one that should be on every Christian’s reading list. A relatively brief read, I found myself underlining points on every page as Bonhoeffer walks the reader through the balance of a personal walk with God and the communal blessings of discipleship and fellowship.
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
Francis Chan’s high views of God and His mission has been clear in all of his books. Applying those principles to the church made for a needed critique of modern church culture. Though not quite as practical as Total Church, a book in the same vein, I’d recommend Letters first as it repeatedly drives home that point that yes, church should be more than what it generally is today.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
Rosaria Butterfield makes a strong case for the kitchen table being where the work of the church really happens. She shares the who, what, why, and how of biblical hospitality and gives real-world examples of how it has strengthened the church and won the lost - including her own powerful story of conversion from a radically anti-Christian homosexual. What Butterfield calls for will challenge you in radical ways… but taking up radical challenges for Christ is always the first step in changing the world.
Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney
Short, to the point, practical, and instantly convicting, I highly recommend spending the hour or two it takes to read this book. Whitney walks you through biblical evidence for the importance of family worship, then its prominent place in the history of the church, and finally the practical tips for how to start today. I had long been aimless and undisciplined about family Bible time, but this book changed that in a hurry.
On deck for 2019:
All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas