9 Books I Wish I’d Read as a Young Pastor

Over the years, I’ve written posts designed to introduce my readers to resources that have been most helpful to me:

Ten Books that Have Shaped My Life

12 Recommended Books on Preaching

10 Recommended Books on Prayer

8 Recommended Books on Spiritual Warfare

Today, I’m adding to these lists a number of books I wish I’d had available and read as a young pastor:

  1. Thom Rainer, Who Moved My Pulpit? I tried to make some changes in my first years of ministry, and the results were at times disappointing—if not disastrous. I sure wish I’d had better sense then.
  2. Danny Akin and Scott Pace, Pastoral Theology. This book is so based on theological underpinnings and so filled with practical suggestions that I would have pastored much differently had I read it then.
  3. Tom Elliff, A Passion for Prayer. I learned about Dr. Elliff then as he spoke at major denominational conferences, and he became a preaching hero from a distance. Now that I know him well and greatly appreciate his prayer life, I sure wish I’d had this book to read.
  4. Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I knew as a young pastor I was supposed to do spiritual disciplines, but I didn’t really know how—so, the only part of my disciplines that was consistent was the guilt I carried for not doing them. Dr. Whitney’s book would have helped me much, I think.
  5. Jonathan Leeman, Church Discipline. Only once in my early years of ministry did my church carry out discipline, and I confess I had no idea what I was doing. Jonathan’s book is concise (which probably would have made it more likely for me to read it then), yet thorough and practical.
  6. Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling. How I wish I’d known then the twin dangers of losing my awe of God and then seeing myself as someone more important than I am! It’s far too easy to think you’ve arrived when your ministry seems “successful.”
  7. Zack Eskwine, Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer with Depression. Not every pastor struggles with depression, but all of us would benefit in the tough days of ministry from knowing that others before us have faced these times.
  8. Robert Plummer, 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible. I know I didn’t interpret the Bible well as a young pastor. This resource would have provided for me some clear, concise guidance to do hermeneutics better.
  9. William Hoyt, Effectiveness by the Numbers. The subtitle of this book helps us to know its intent: “Counting What Counts in the Church.” Actually, this work would have helped me broaden my counting beyond attendance numbers.

What books would you add to this list?   

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