Thursday, May 17, 2007

Books that I have read in the last year

I was recently asked what books I have read in the past year. I thought about this, going through my books, and I came up with the following list. It mainly covers missional church, postmodernism and culture, and evangelism.

It came to 41 books, nearly a book a week. That was a little higher than I thought it would be, but I do like to keep up with what is most current. On the other hand, my wife reminds me that my pleasure reading has taken a big dip, and she is right.

Anyway, here is the list. I'll try to go back and add links later. I have highlighted the top five I enjoyed for various reasons. If you have a question about one, let me know. I also have book reviews of many of these on my website,

  1. God's Missionary People: Rethinking the Purpose of the Local Church by Charles Van Engan
  2. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission by David Bosch
  3. Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens by Neil Cole
  4. The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World by Alan Roxburgh, Fred Romanuck, and Eddie Gibbs
  5. The Present-Future by Reggie McNeal
  6. The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church: And the Causes Which Hinder It by Roland Allen
  7. Liquid Church by Pete Ward
  8. The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch
  9. Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders by Earl Creps
  10. Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture by Michael Frost
  11. The Way of Jesus: A Journey of Freedom for Pilgrims and Wanderers by Jonathon S. Campbell with Jennifer Campbell
  12. Emerging Churches: Creating Authentic Community in a Postmodern Context by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger
  13. An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches by Ray S. Anderson
  14. Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World
  15. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  16. Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
  17. A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren
  18. The Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard Sweet
  19. Sprawl: A Compact History by Robert Bruegmann (on surbanization)
  20. The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey
  21. The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
  22. Seeking a Lasting City: The Church’s Journey in the Story of God by Randy Harris, Richard Foster, and Mark Love
  23. Missional Church Planting by Ed Stetzer
  24. Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples by Thom S. Rainer
  25. Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer
  26. Death by Suburb by David L. Goetz
  27. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom
  28. Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church by Mark Driscoll
  29. Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends edited by Kevin Vanhoozer
  30. The Big Idea: Focus the Message—Multiply the Impact by Dave Ferguson, Eric Bramlett, and Jon Ferguson
  31. Revolution by George Barna
  32. Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
  33. Preaching that Speaks to Women
  34. Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon
  35. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell
  36. CrazyBusy: Overbooked, Overstretched, and About to Snap
  37. Culture Shift: Transforming Your Church from the Inside Out
  38. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
  39. Mission in the New Testament, edited by William J. Larkin Jr. and Joel F. Williams
  40. Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views Paul E. Engle, series editor
  41. Contextualization and Syncretism: Navigating Cultural Currents by Gailyn Van Rheenen


alan hirsch said...

Wow, that's a lot of books James. Your head must be sore.

James said...


As one of my teachers, Avon Malone, used to say:

It takes me a long time to get stuff up into here (pointing to my head), but once I get it, I soon forget it. :)

I just got in an order of 15 books this past week, and I'm digging in eagerly. If you ever need a research partner, let me know--I'd be happy to help.

It's always good to have you drop by. By the way, I'll be at Pasadena starting June 18 for two weeks. Hopefully we can get together then.


Terri said...

Wow! That is a lot of books, if you had to make a choice which of all the books you read had the most impact? And are you using the knowledge you gleened (not sure of the spelling is correct)from the books and applying them to your life,honestly? Terri from Lakeside.

James said...


That is a tough question. I put in bold my top five favorites. As to the number one--that depends upon the subject. In the past couple of years, I probably have been most inspired by Alan Hirsh's The Forgotten Ways. It is a book about creating missional movements and setting up missional church environments, structures, and leadership.

As to application in my personal life, I would point towards Michael Frost's book Exiles. In this he gives some missional practices that I seek to live by, such as eating each week with Christians and non-Christians, blessing the lives each week of Christians and non-Christians, etc.

I would say that I really do use most of my reading in various ways. It helps guide my preaching and teaching messages and ways of communication. It is applied in various ministry I seek to design, such as Spiritual gifts discovery and development. And I mentioned some of the personal application above.

If you are alluding to the idea that we need to be about more than just head knowledge, to this I would heartedly concur.

Thanks for the thoughts, and I hope that you will continue to dialogue with us and share any insights or questions that you might have.