This is the week in the blogosphere where all bloggers release those awful list posts, humbly bragging about what they read this year. It’s an easy post to write, tickles the ego, and promotes faux intelligence. It also makes you feel bad for not achieving your own reading goals, and a reminder of all those other goals you failed to complete this year.
Well, here’s another.
For me, 2016 was a horrendous reading year. I only finished 11 books. I won’t give you my excuses but will put reading back into its rightful position in 2017.
So for the third year in a row, and in no particular order, here are my top books of 2016:
Do More Better: A Practical Guide To Productivity by Tim Challies
Here’s a little gem, at just over 100 pages, which helps you think through your own productivity system. Much of the advice given can be applied to the different spheres in which you find yourself – work, family, personal, recreation etc. It just helps having a good system and the one by Challies’ outlined here is a good fit for me.
Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by Cameron Cole and Jon Nielson
If you want a good primer on youth ministry, giving theological grounding and practical outworking of that theology, then this is a good book. Every Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor should read this. If you’re in youth ministry as a volunteer it will give you a good idea of the foundational thinking your Youth Pastor should be thinking through, as well as providing you with excellent training in the process.
Each chapter is about a particular topic: making disciples in youth ministry, teaching the Bible, building relationships, forming a gospel-community, partnering with parents, how to make youth ministry inter-generational, small groups, leadership training, music and worship, retreats and events, evangelism, serving the poor, and short-term missions. There’s a lot there and it’s all very solid.
This book would now make my Top 3 Books for Youth Ministry.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life And Relevance For The 21st Century by Christopher Catherwood
There is something about Martyn Lloyd-Jones that draws me to read about his life and ministry. His own writings and sermons are invaluable themselves, but so are the reflections of others about his life. In this book Lloyd-Jones’s eldest grandson gives a brief precis about his life before delving into topics missed by other biographers. There are the chapters to expect, one on preaching and another on the centrality of Scripture. But, there are also chapters on home life, and how he is relevant and appealing to Millennials and the 21st century.
It’s not a long book and is easy to digest. It’s worth the read.
Luther on The Christian Life: Cross & Freedom by Carl R. Trueman
The ‘On The Christian Life‘ series is a terrific series for those of us that enjoy biography and historical theology. Bringing this together with Martin Luther, one of the most significant figures in Christian history, Carl Trueman does an exceptional job. Albeit I’m a bit of a Trueman fanboy, but he does do a great job in outlining Luther’s life and theological growth, centred on his theology of the cross.
Chapters cover Luther’s life, the Word, liturgy, baptism and mass, righteousness, and living and dying in the world.
Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies To Help Young People Discover And Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin.
I can’t really go through this list without mentioning Growing Young. This is the book I’ve spent the most time in this year, thinking it through and reflecting upon it. To get a better idea of the book you can read all nine reflection posts on this blog if you’re so inclined!
The main premise of this volume is what keeps young people in church. Much has been written about why young people are leaving the church, but this is a piece of research summarised into six core reasons why young people stay.
This is a book for anyone who works with young people in churches. From senior leadership to volunteer leaders to parents and grandparents, this is a good resource to help you think through how to integrate young people in your church.
Well, that’s the top 5 for 2016. If you’d like to read 2014 and 2015 then go ahead and do so.
I hope you’re 2016 reading was better than mine, but if it wasn’t then why not try this awesome reading challenge for 2017?