20 Summer Book Recommendations for Pastors, Church Leaders, and Curious Christians
Looking for a great book? Here are 20 book recommendations for pastors, church leaders, and christians for you to read!
June 4, 2018
The summer months are a great time to recharge your batteries. One of the most affordable, rewarding, and beneficial things you can do to refuel yourself this summer is to read more books. Not to think about the summer slump.
But here’s the thing about books:
There are a gazillion books to choose from.
In 2013, there were nearly 1.5 million books (new titles and non-traditional) published. What is more, these numbers don't include the millions of books already in circulation. Needless to say, that’s a lot of books you don’t have time to read—even if you can read a 240-page book in two hours.
To help you cut through the clutter this summer, we have a list of old and new book recommendations for pastors, church leaders, and curious Christians to read this summer.
1. The Bible
This recommendation isn’t a Jesus Juke, and I’m not suggesting this in a tongue-in-cheek way, either.
This summer, you’ll have a better opportunity to read more books than you can throughout the year. Activities in your church have winded down. You probably have a vacation scheduled. And there’s a good chance your pastoral duties have reduced since a lot of your congregation is on vacation, too.
Regardless of how much or little spare time you have, this summer is an excellent opportunity to read the Bible more often than you usually do. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”
2. The Gift and the Giver
The Gift and the Giver by Peter Greer and David Weekly is a short and accessible primer on fundraising that packs an encouraging punch. Even though the focus of this book is on fundraising for non-profits, the advice the authors share will give you a fresh Kingdom perspective on unleashing generosity in your congregation.
3. Crazy Busy
Life is busy in the church.
According to polls, the median workweek for pastors is 50 hours. In other words, among pastors polled, 50% of them worked more than 50 hours per week.
Talking about busyness in pastoral ministry, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture was written especially for pastors and men to help them overcome the unique challenges they face in pastoral ministry. There’s no better time to hit a reset than the summer!
5. The Pastor
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson is his reflection on life, calling, and pastoring for more than 30 years. After reflecting on his ministry, one of the key takeaways Eugene shares is that ministry is really about connecting with and caring for people, which sounds like a great idea this summer!
I don’t intend to discourage you from swimming this summer, butIn the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex will take you on a journey of ambition, desperation, and survival. In case you didn’t know, this true story of the destruction of the Whaleship Essex was an inspirational source behind Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
Whether it’s time to read this classic for the first time, or to dust off your old copy to read for the second, third, or fourth time, this summer is ideal to join Pilgrim on his journey through the Christian life.
Talking about Charles Spurgeon, his book,Lectures to My Students, is a compilation of talks Charles gave to pastors and pastors in training in his church’s college. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom you can glean from this entire book, but several sections merit reading if you’re really pressed for time, such as "The Minister’s Self-Watch," "The Call to The Ministry,"and "The Preacher’s Private Prayer."
Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson is a story about a pastor from a small mid-western town, John Ames, who’s at the end of his life and desires to pass on a legacy of faith to his son. As you read through this fictional account, you’ll be led to recapture the joy of ministry as you peer through the eyes of a dying man who loved his life, his church, and his family.
Here’s an unfortunate reality for every person (Christians included): You have suffered, or you will go through a period of suffering (Acts 14:22).
Alright, after that encouraging public announcement, Tim Keller’sWalking with God Through Pain and Suffering is a well-rounded book on this topic you can read. From providing a biblical foundation for suffering to giving practical advice, this is a helpful book to have in your library as a resource to refer to for personal and pastoral guidance.
17. Building a Storybrand
Reaching people with the gospel is easier said than done. From text messages, emails, social media, and advertisements, people are bombarded with a slew of messages every day.
You probably know John Newton as the songwriter of "Amazing Grace” who was redeemed from a life in the slave trade, but did you he left behind a rich history of pastoral letters on the Christian life? InNewton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ, Tony Reinke highlights key themes from Newton’s writing that will be like drinking a cold glass of water on a hot summer day for your soul.
20. The Invention of Hugo Cabret
I asked my ten-year-old son, Jude, what book he’d recommend parents to read with their kids, and the first one he shouted out wasThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik. This book is an enchanting, heart-warming, and enjoyable read you can enjoy by yourself or with your family.
What book do you recommend for pastors, church leaders, and curious Christians to read this summer? Share your suggestions in the comments below!