Books of Note for 2015
In 2015, I read about as many books as I’ve read in any year. Plus, I completed my own manuscript for Habits for Our Holiness that will release in March 2016. As I moved through work for LifeWay, The Fellowship, and Houston Baptist University, here is a list of the books that I found deserve our attention.
Awakening: How God’s Next Great Move Inspires and Influences Our Lives Today by Matt Brown – Stories and principles that remind us that God is working powerfully in the church throughout the world. Matt is a good thinker, a powerhouse in social media, and, most of all, a godly man.
The High-Definition Leader: Building multiethnic churches in a multiethnic world by Derwin Gray – A book that every church leader needs so we can better understand and be captured by God’s heart toward all people and our communities. Derwin is a stand-up guy who has navigated his journey from the NFL to being a church planter. I hope we see more leaders like him in the coming years.
Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail by Larry Osborne – Great wisdom from a veteran leader who has found a code-cracking formula for managing forward-thinking change. If you lead, get this book.
Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership by Phil Newton and Matt Schmucker – We have used this book in my church to orient our leaders to ministry. It is a solid treatment of the polity system that calls for plurality of leaders with elders and pastors working together.
Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller – Keller is a pastor who does fine work in the arenas of exposition and defending the faith. Every pastor and Bible study group leader will benefit from reading this book. It will sharpen your ability to teach the Word in a way that meets people at the point of their needs and doubts.
A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter – Knowing the difference between needs that demand immediate solutions and urgency about what is truly important often evades most people and organizations. Kotter is a well-respected leader in the business community and there is a good deal from him.
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell and Live the Best Stories Will Rule the Future by Jonah Sachs – Stories are powerful tools in the marketing world. But this marketing book has a great deal to teach anyone who is a leader. As a church leader, I found this to be an important read for me.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – A great story with haunting character development centered on a little girl named Melanie. It is a dystopian novel about diseases, zombie-like creatures, and what we would do to save humanity. A fun read with an unexpected ending.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – A movie is already in the works for this novel but I suggest you read it first. It is the perfect story of escapism for children of the 1980s (like me) who are looking for a quality story about how video game geeks really do rule the world.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark – I’m cheating a bit with this one as the read is not finished yet. But it is wonderful. Written in an older British literary style, this book reminds me to hold literature to a high standard. In centuries from now, it may be considered a classic piece of literature.
Galatians: New American Commentary by Timothy George – This summer, I preached through the book of Galatians. I normally find volumes of the NAC helpful but believe that George’s volume on Galatians might be the best of the entire series.
Introduction to Global Missions by Zane Pratt, M. David Sills, and Jeff K. Walters – Not everyone is going to sit down to plow through a book on missiology. However, this book is accessible and helpful on so many levels. If I were teaching a class on missions, I’d use this book.
Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith by Barnabas Piper – We need more books like this one that better define the experience of faith. Barnabas is both a skilled writer and has a keen mind. You should read everything he writes but start here.
Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions by Jeremiah J. Johnston – We need a 21st century model for defending the faith and answering today’s questions. With this book, you get both. With several publications over the last year and more coming in 2016, Jeremiah is a leader to watch.