7 Books that Have Been Important to Me as a Pastor

In the past via this blog, I’ve suggested books on prayerspiritual warfare, and preaching.  As I look back over 40 years of pastoral ministry, however, I’m reminded of these books that have been helpful to me in different seasons of life:

  1. Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors (1980), by W.A. Criswell. This book by the long-term pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, is dated now (as am I, I suppose . . .), but it was a helpful tool to a 20-year-old pastor. 
  2. Lectures to My Students (1954), by Charles Spurgeon. There’s so much in this book it’s difficult to state how much I’ve appreciated it over the years. I still turn to it for guidance and inspiration. 
  3. Master Plan of Evangelism (1963), by Robert Coleman. I wish I had read this book at the beginning of my ministry, as it would have changed the way I made disciples in my first church. My strong interest in mentoring today began with a conversation with Dr. Coleman in the middle 1990s. 
  4. They Smell Like Sheep (1997), by Lynn Anderson. This many years later, I have never forgotten the first time I read these words: “A shepherd smells like sheep” (italics in original). I needed then to know I could not lead a flock I didn’t know well. 
  5. Jesus Driven Ministry (2002), by Ajith Fernando. A friend recommended this book for pastors, but I found it challenging and convicting for all Christian leaders. It forced me to ask where I might be neglecting my own spiritual growth and development. 
  6. On Being a Pastor (2004) by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg. I read this book as a resource for students after I began teaching, and I found myself continually challenged by the incredible call to be an under-shepherd. 
  7. Dangerous Calling (2012), by Paul David Tripp. As a student of spiritual warfare, I originally purchased this book because it has a chapter on “war zones” of ministry, but the section on “The Danger of Arrival” forced me to look deeply into myself as a minister. 

Pastors, what books over the years have been helpful to you?  


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