Ask Pastor Mike: What books are you reading?

I’ve shared before that I didn’t grow up as a reader. The patience and mental focus that it takes to read was always a bit overwhelming to me, but as I began serving in ministry years ago I realized that reading was key to growing and becoming a better leader. So for the past 20 years, my love of reading has only increased. Now, I even read with a highlighter and pen as I underline, circle, draw arrows, and make notes in the books that I read. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the books that I read, but I do find that I am always learning new perspectives and gaining understanding about how others think.

A couple of years ago, I started recording the books that I read each month so that I could recall what God was teaching me and when I learned certain things. Although I don’t know the specific reason behind your question, maybe you are looking for a new book to pick up, or you’re just curious as to what I’m reading. 

Of all the books I read in 2023, here are a few of my favorites (not in any particular order):

  • Trellis & The Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne – Helps church leaders and members consider how church structures support the relational and spiritual ministry of the church.
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero – Considers how emotional health is a vital aspect of spiritual growth and how to pursue it.
  • Strong & Weak by Andy Crouch – Addresses the relationship between love, risk, vulnerability, and flourishing in society.
  • Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne – Confronts some of the manners in which Christians tend to live more like the 1st century Pharisees than people of the way of Christ.
  • Find Your People by Jennie Allen – One of the best books about developing genuine, authentic community that I’ve read!
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever – Communicates the essentials and purposes of a true, biblical church.
  • The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John Frame – A study of the Lordship and epistemology of God.
  • The Secular Creed by Rebecca McLaughlin – Helps believers think wisely and biblically about how to address modern cultural issues, such as racism, sexuality, and gender.
  • How to Reach the West Again by Tim Keller – Short book that causes readers to ponder how we can effectively reach the lost in our modern world.
  • Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by David VanDrunen – A modern read of the ‘two-kingdom theology,’ which Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and others held and which helps explain how we should view and engage the world around us.
  • You’re Not Crazy by Ray Ortlund & Sam Allberry – Written to pastors, this book ultimately offers a compelling vision for the unification of gospel doctrine and gospel culture in the church.
  • Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp – This may be an important book for anyone serving in ministry, but it is a must read for pastors and elders because it head-on tackles the primary causes of unhealthy ministry among church leaders.
  • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges – This book acknowledges the seemingly surface-level conflict between grace and works in the Christian life, while offering biblical explanations, illustrations, and applications for how grace and works actually unite to produce lasting spiritual sanctification.