(List Updated: November 2009)

Below you will find a list of books that I have found very helpful as I work as a pastor and as a web designer. I hope you find this list helpful. I have tried to organize it so that its most helpful. I’ll be updating and adding to this last as time goes on.

Paradigm Shifters

These are the books that were worldview changing for me. I’d recommend them to almost anyone, anywhere.

  • Transforming Mission – David Bosch – Top 3 book of all time. This is a review of how mission has been done in the gospels through today – mostly from a Western Church perspective.  This should be required reading for anyone who calls themselves “Missional”.
  • The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin – I love this guy and this book is him at his best. If you haven’t read this. Do it. His chapter on leadership is worth the price of the book.
  • The Continuing Conversation of the Church – Darrell Guder – Top 10 book of all time.  Hands down. This book really helped me begin thinking about how the church needs to constantly be aware of its context and its mission.
  • A Failure of Nerve – Edwin Friedman – I’d put this in the list of my top 5 favorite books. Tim Keel, the one who recommended this book to me told me to get it and, “hold onto my hat.” He was right. This book just blew me away. Friedman basically writes that our leadership has become scared and fear driven and we need to get some “nerve” when it comes to leadership. This is a prophetic book for my generation and our culture. I wrote a short blog post about part of this book here.
  • Church Dogmatics Vol. 4.3.2 – Karl Barth – In my mind this is some of the most important missional theology stuff ever written.  If you read Newbigin and Bosch, you’ll see that they quote Barth quite often, and especially this volume.  It’s a pricy book, but totally worth every penny.  Of course, its a hard read, but again, worth wading through.
  • The Missional Church – Darrell Guder – Top 5 book of all time. This book blew my mind when I first read it. I blogged about this in a five part summary. You can get to each part in the final post.
  • Resident Aliens – Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon – This book isn’t perfect but its close. This book doesn’t encapsulate my entire ecclesiology, but its close. I would never call myself a “Hauerwasian” but I the kind of church life they describe in here is much like I am searching for when I write posts like this.  I blogged about this book a bit here.
  • The Shaping of Things to Come – Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost – This book shaped the me to come! This has been a very, very formative book for me as I have sought to lead our church.  I gave this book out to our leadership team and they have really enjoyed it.
  • The New Conspirators – Tom Sine – I read this book right after I returned from Zambia in 2008 and it really struck a good nerve with me.  Tom really addresses some of the major problems (and solutions) to some of the big questions I am asking about our culture and how it infects (negatively) our faith and witness.  I blogged about this book a bit here.
  • Beyond Foundationalism – John Franke – This book helped me a lot as the worldview I grew up with was breaking down. It gave me a good framework with which to approach the scriptures and theology.  John is also one of my professors at Biblical where I attend so its been great to get this stuff first hand.
  • The Search to Belong – Joe Myers – This book really, really helped reshape how i viewed community and small groups.  I personally think Joe’s thoughts have played a big role in making The Well what it is today.
  • Giving and Stewardship in an Effective Church – Kennon Callahan – This book has completly changed my view of giving, offering and finances in the church.  Despite its old school title, its really, really amazing. I can’t recommend it enough.  In a world where money and budgets are becoming big issues I think Ken has some important things to say to us. Blogged here.
  • Effective Church Leadership – Kennon Callahan – One of the most practically helpful books I have ever read on church leadership and organization.  I reference this book on a monthly basis.
  • A Walk Through the Bible – Lesslie Newbigin – This book is awesome.  It’s an 80 page summary of the bible by one of my favorite authors.  I’ve bought about 15 of these books and given them out to people who wanted to learn more about the story of the bible.
  • Change or Die – Alan Deutschman – This book take a look at what motivates people to change.  Guess what, its not guilt.  It’s hope in the context of community.  Hmm.. sounds like the gospel.  Fantastic book from a Fast Company Magazine author.
  • Countdown to Sunday – Chris Eardman – In my humble opinion, this is the best book on preaching that I have ever read.  Really helped affirm and reshape my preparation process.

Pastoral Leadership

  • The Monkey and the Fish – David Gibbons – This book talks about become 3rd culture and calls us to deal with the global shifts that we are seeing in our world. I blogged about this book here and here.
  • Working the Angles – Eugene Peterson – This is is so challenging, I read this at least once a year.
  • Organic Community – Joe Myers – A great book on organicially growing an authentic community. Highly recommended.  Here Joe expands on some of his thoughts from Search to Belong.  I posted a review of this book here.
  • Organic Church – Neil Cole – This book was an easy read and really had some great examples of stepping out and inviting God to work through you.  If nothing else, it gets your imagination running wild and was helpful in reigniting my passion for seeing the church get into places it currently is not.
  • Intuitive Leadership – Tim Keel – Tim is one of my favorite pastors. He loves his church.  This book is a great (and helpful) introduction to the Emerging Church stuff from a pastoral perspective – which is a rare find.
  • Communicating for a Change – Andy Stanley – I found this a really, really helpful book as I have continued to develop my own preaching style.  Its more about prep and mechanics and that’s a good thing.  In fact, I use a few principles from this book each and every time that I step up to communicate.

General Leadership

  • The Five Disfunctions of Team – Patrick Lencioni – This book is really, really helpful if you work in a team environment.  It’s one of those “smack yourself on the forehead” kind of books.
  • Death by Meeting – Patrick Lencion – You wouldn’t think that a book about meetings would be that great but this book was helpful for us at The Well as we’ve tried to figure out this team leadership thing. I blogged about this book here.
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins  – A classic study in Leadership. I don’t need to say much more about it.
  • The Leadership Challenge – This book has some great ah-ha moments.  Very worth having around if you are a leader in some way, shape or form.

Missional Theology

  • Proper Confidence – Lesslie Newbigin – This book has been helpful to me as I have struggled with the balance of doubt, faith, science.   Again, Newbigin is amazing and I want to read everything he has ever written (though, that seems doubtful).
  • Foolishness to the Greeks – Lesslie Newbigin – This book is a fantastic treatment on the topic of mission in Western Culture by one of the great missionary theologians of the 20th century.
  • The Open Secret – Lesslie Newbigin – As you can tell I love the works of Newbign. This book serves as a very comprehensive and helpful introduction to missional theology. You can find my review of this book here.
  • Believing in the Future – David Bosch – This book is just downright fantastic. This is a great treatment of the all important subject of theology and mission in western culture. At the end, he gives his five ingredients of a missional theology in this culture. This section alone is worth the price of this little book.
  • The Forgotten Ways – Alan Hirsch – Really solid follow-up to Shaping of Things to Come. Hirsch looks at the ways that Christianity has spread and finds some parallels in these movements.
  • Exiles – Michael Frost – This book was really good and I don’t know what else to say about it.


  • Embracing GraceScot McKnight – McKnight is fast becoing one of my favorite authors and people.  This book is perhaps the best short accounting of the Gospel that I have ever read. Blogged about this here.
  • The Jesus Creed – Scot McKnight – This is a great book to read in a group setting as it highly readable and creates some great conversation around loving God and loving others. I used this in a men’s group that I was part of and it was one of the better groups that I have been a part of.
  • The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible – Scot McKnight – Great book on how we read the Bible.
  • Simply Christian – N.T Wright – This book is great for a group study.  I did a short summary of this book here.
  • Faith Thinking – Trevor Hart – Along with John Frake’s book, this book helped give me a fresh approach to my faith.
  • Everything Must Change – Brian McLaren – A good, mind bending book.  Worth your time.

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