The Church Leaders “Best Books” series is our way of helping leaders find, read, and recommend books on a variety of important topics related to ministry and the Christian life. Check out the rest of our best books lists.
I grew up in a Christian home, where my parents both exemplified genuine love for Christ, and diligent service to the local Church. I attended Christian school in elementary, and later studied spiritual growth intensively in Bible College. I aspire to walk closely with Christ, but even after all of those faith-building experiences, I know from experience that there is a need to “die daily,” and to continually surrender my heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No believer is exempt in the great need to consistently surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ. As DL Moody has said, “We are leaky vessels, we have to keep right under the fountain all the time to keep full of Christ.”
The reality is, our spiritual leadership will rise only to the level of our personal holiness. So there is no greater need in our leadership than growing in our character and Christlikeness. It is foundational, and everything else follows suite
Here are the top books that have greatly encouraged me in the daily journey of spiritual growth towards maturity in Christ. The list could be much, much longer, but if I had to choose only a handful – here they are:
1. God is the Gospel by John Piper
Foundational for our understanding of the gospel, and the character and process God has set forth before us. Tozer said, “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It is most important, because it deeply affects every other aspect and response of our lives. Piper sets forth a clear picture.
2. The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
Bridges clarifies the need for both the Spirit of God working in us, and the Spirit-empowered effort of the believer to obey. This book walks the line needed, avoiding the ditches, to help us grow in holiness.
3. The Incredible Patience of God by Lane Adams
This classic addresses the fact that it takes time to grow into maturity in Christ, and there is a biblical difference between infancy in Christ and maturity in Christ.
4. Not by Sight & Things Not Seen by Jon Bloom
Bloom uses practical Biblical stories, with masterful storytelling to paint a picture for us of what a life of faith truly looks like. Deeply encouraging and faith building, which is what all of us need more of.
5. The Saving Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas
Founder of the Torchbearers, Major Thomas sets forth the process whereby we become more like Christ, and how faith in God working in us and through us helps us reach our goal.
In his newest book, and my personal favorite by Ortberg, he shares about his friendship with the late Dallas Willard, and what he learned from his life of devotion to the Lord. A picture of what it looks like to grow in the Lord.