I am always looking for resources that will help me fulfill my purpose in life. My purpose is to glorify God the Father by making disciples of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why I exist on this earth. If glorifying God through disciplemaking is my purpose, then I want to take advantage of every resource that will make me a better disciple-maker. So, here are five books that I am currently reading to help me become a better disciple-maker:
- Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, Charles Anderson, and Michael Sleasman – I started this book last week, and I am yet to be disappointed. Vanhoozer’s leading essay on a methodology for reading cultural texts is worth double the price of the book. Effective disciple-makers understand the contexts of their ministry. This book equips the disciple-maker with the tools to read the trends and discern various opportunities for engaging others with the gospel of Christ.
- Becoming a Pastor Theologian: New Possibilities for Church Leadership edited by Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand – I have been following the work of the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT) for quite a while, and I am delighted to begin this work. CPT seeks to overcome the divide that often exists between the work of the pastor and the work of the theologian. If you are looking for a compelling vision of pastoral ministry that makes disciples by “teaching others to obey all that Christ has commanded,” then you need to check out this book. Disciplemaking cannot be devoid of theology. Theology in the context of the church is what differentiates disciplemaking from other activities. The minimalization of robust theology always leads to the marginalization of mature discipleship in the church.
- Power through Prayer by E. M. Bounds – I have been “currently reading” this book for almost six years. God has used Bounds to stir my heart to prayer on numerous occasions. If “your eyes are dry and your faith is old,” if “your “heart is hard and your prayers are cold,” then take a fresh dip into this classic work on prayer. You may be thinking, “But shouldn’t I just open my Bible and start praying instead of reading a book on prayer?” I am not saying that you shouldn’t open your Bible and start praying instead of reading Bounds. I am just saying that when you find it hard to open your Bible and pray, let Bounds help you. He has been helping me for years, which has resulted in strength for disciplemaking.
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson – Like the book by E. M. Bounds, I find myself reading Peterson frequently. This particular book walks through the Psalms of Ascents, paying attention to how each psalm speaks to an essential aspect of Christian discipleship. This book has been teaching me to pray the psalms, though that is not the book’s primary intention. Furthermore, Peterson has helped me read the psalms in a fresh light. When I get discouraged about the progress that I am making as a disciple, Peterson reminds me of the “long obedience.” As a sower and waterer of Gospel seeds, I need this reminder.
- Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark – If you have read this far into the post, you are probably surprised to see a book on writing on my list. You are thinking to yourself, “What hath Clark to do with Christ? I thought this was about making disciples.” Well, the reason Clark makes my list is because I am a writer. Part of the way that I am “teaching others to obey all that Christ has commanded” is through my writing. If there is a resource that will help me fulfill my purpose better, then I am going to read it. Writing Tools is just such a resource. I want to be clear and articulate as a disciple-maker. I do not want to distract from the glory of God through poor writing and speaking. If God is worthy, then he is worthy of my best. Therefore, I am reading Writing Tools so that others might read and understand the truths that I am writing about the gospel of Christ.
While I wish I could give more details about the others books that are on my nightstand and my desk, I fear that you would grow bored and disinterested. Most of my other reading is somewhat technical and oriented around dissertation research and other writing projects. I would, however, love to hear from you. What books are you currently reading? Leave a comment and let me know!