Towards the end of last year, I saw a lot of posts doing the rounds where people shared their favourite books that they had read in 2023. I thought I would flip this concept on its head and share some of the books that I intend to read in 2024.
The Care of Souls (by Harold Senkbeil)
I only came across this a few weeks ago, but it looks like an absolute gem. The book’s subtitle is ‘cultivating a pastor’s heart’, and it seeks to take us back to the essence of what it is to be called into pastoral ministry. The book comes across as a refreshing and different read because this topic has been neglected in recent Christian leadership talk.
Creator (by Peter Leithart)
Leithart is not the easiest author to read, but he is well worth the effort of going slowly enough to get what he is saying. His new book digs into Genesis 1, and looks at creation, man and God through a theological lens.
Embodied (by Preston Sprinkle)
The cultural conversation around gender is moving fast, and I want to add to my reading on the topic. With these kind of issues I am after books that are both Biblical in content and kind in tone, and I find Sprinkle is one of the absolute best at holding these two things together as he explores the topic with thoughtfulness and practical wisdom.
The Evangelical Imagination (by Karen Swallow Prior)
This is a recently released book that I am really excited to read. Prior digs into the evangelical culture and where it has gone astray by looking at the different images and metaphors that we have bought into, and showing how some of those images may be forming us in ways that we cannot even see.
How to Know a Person (by David Brooks)
This is the only book on the list that is not specifically Christian. Brooks has written a book about building relationships and getting to know people well. We know that one of the reasons that first time visitors to our churches do not stick around is when they feel they haven’t got to know anyone. Building healthy, organic relationships is a must for anyone in church ministry, and this book looks like a helpful resource in doing that.
Jesus the Pacifist (by Matthew Fleischer)
This will be the first of a bunch of books that I plan to read on this topic. Recent global events have made me want to get into the non-violence vs just war debate. It seems like the teachings of Jesus lean in a pacifist direction, but there are other parts of Scripture that are more violent in nature. A priority in my thinking in coming months will be to figure out where I land.
The Practice of the Prophetic Imagination (by Walter Brueggemann)
I know I was late to the party, but in 2023 I read Prophetic Imagination and loved it. This is a follow-up from Brueggemann where he has preachers particularly in mind, and is exploring how the ideas in his first book can come through in the way we teach the Word.
Prophet, Priest and King (by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.)
This takes the offices of prophet, priest and king and tracks them through the Old Testament, to Christ, and then to believers today. I will be teaching on this topic in the new year, and Belcher’s book looks like a brilliant starting point for my study.
The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God (by Justin Brierley)
Something is shifting in culture. It has been noticeable for a while that new atheism is on the decline, and the objections people make to Christianity are not the same ones that were being made 15 years ago. There seems to be an upturn in public thinkers engaging positively with God. I want to understand what is happening here, and Brierley’s new book seems like an excellent place to start.
Understanding Spiritual Warfare (by Sam Storms)
A recent talk I heard convicted me about prayer and spiritual warfare. We can be blind to the spiritual battle that is going on, and therefore surprised when things get hard. Sam Storms is an author I value highly on a lot of different topics, and I look forward to engaging with him on this.