There are a lot of books that I have read that have shaped me and that have helped me in ministry as well as in my faith in general. The full list could be every book that I have ever read because I believe we are all shaped by what we ingest, even if we are not aware of it. So instead of having a long list I thought I would put together a list of the 5 books that are continuing to shape me (in a way that I am conscious of). I am also going to omit the Bible because it is not a book but a collection of books. Naming the Bible among a list of most impactful books would be like trying to list my top 5 favorite albums of all time and include “music” as one.
“The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
“The One Thing: The Surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.” Is the most recent book on that I have read on this list and it has really stuck with me. The advice found here is probably the most practical when it comes to getting things done and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of their profession. This book has literally changed the way the way I view each day and all for the better.
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
“Free thought has exhausted it’s own freedom.” I owe my discovery of Chesterton to the next author on my list. I never thought that my theology would be so greatly influenced by a Catholic but Chesterton is a voice that you can’t help but listen to. This book (from what I can tell) must of had a big impact on C.S.Lewis because the logic and reasoning is superb and if you read Lewis you can hear echoes of Chesterton. Chesterton’s wit and charm continues to fuel my love for word play and my fascination with saying a lot, by saying very little.
Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson
There a lot of books about Fatherhood and I have found all of the ones that I have read to be about as helpful as a bucket of sand in the dessert. Towards the end of the book Wilson acknowledges how daunting the task of changing can be and offers this encouragement. “God picks us up where we are and not where we should be. It is never too late for you to be the first in a long line of faithful Fathers.” Amen
The Servant as Leader by Robert K. Greenleaf
A short survival guide for those of us who are constantly tempted to exercise position and authority for personal gain and comfort. I keep this book close by because there is always a need to drink from it.
Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones
This book has influenced my approach to public speaking and preaching in a way no other book has. It is no secret of mine that I believe Andy Stanley is probably the best communicator on the planet. His approach has helped me to develop my own voice and style but his impact is unmistakable. If you want to be a better communicator, this book is the best.