Pastors' Reading List

As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from purchases made through these links.

Spiritual/Theological Development


Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World / Edition 10 Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

Initially written for a Jewish friend, Life of the Beloved has become Henri Nouwen’s greatest legacy to Christians around the world. This sincere testimony of the power and invitation of Christ is indeed a great guide to a truly uplifting spiritual life in today’s world.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for ChristianityChristian Behavior, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He MattersSimply Jesus by N.T. Wright

The Renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright breaks down the barriers that prevent us from fully engaging with the story of Jesus in the Bible to reveal a breathtaking vision of Christ that matches the needs and complexities of our time.

Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church's Obsession with YouthfulnessFaith Formation in a Secular Age by Andrew Root

The loss or disaffiliation of young adults is a much-discussed topic in churches today. Many faith-formation programs focus on keeping the young, believing the youthful spirit will save the church. But do these programs have more to do with an obsession with youthfulness than with helping young people encounter the living God?

The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian OutreachThe Mystic Way of Evangelism by Elaine Heath

Elaine Heath brings a fresh perspective to the theory and practice of evangelism by approaching it through contemplative spirituality. This thoroughly revised edition includes a new study guide.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation [With Earbuds] Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose. Telling stories from his own life and the lives of others who have made a difference, he shares insights gained from darkness and depression as well as fulfillment and joy, illuminating a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives.

Other Recommended Titles:

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennen Manning

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxis

Dynamics of Faith by Paul Tillich

Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth

Almost Christian by Kendra Creasy Dean

The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann

Jesus Christ for Today’s World by Jürgen Moltmann

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor



Extraordinary Leadership by Roberta Gilbert

Today’s leaders face increased individual and societal anxiety that affects their organizations. Unfortunately, their training has not provided them with any understanding or guidelines that show how to manage themselves in the emotional chaos and intensity.

 The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In BusinessThe Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

There is a competitive advantage out there, arguably more powerful than any other. Is it superior strategy? Faster innovation? Smarter employees? No, New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides.

 Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted TerritoryCanoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger

Explorers Lewis and Clark had to adapt. While they had prepared to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, instead they found themselves in the Rocky Mountains. You too may feel that you are leading in a cultural context you were not expecting. You may even feel that your training holds you back more often than it carries you along. Drawing from his extensive experience as a pastor and consultant, Tod Bolsinger brings decades of expertise in guiding churches and organizations through uncharted territory. He offers a combination of illuminating insights and practical tools to help you reimagine what effective leadership looks like in our rapidly changing world.

Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in MinistryEmboldened by Tara Beth Leach

Throughout Scripture and church history, women have been central to the mission of God. But all too often women have lacked opportunities to minister fully. Many churches lack visible examples of women in ministry and leadership. Pastor Tara Beth Leach issues a stirring call for a new generation of women in ministry: to teach, to preach, to shepherd, and to lead. Leach provides practical expertise for how women can find their place at the table, escape impostor syndrome, face opposition, mentor others, and much more.

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.H3 Leadership: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick

In H3 Leadership, Lomenick organizes these twenty habits into three distinct filters he calls “the 3 Hs”:• Humble: Who am I?• Hungry: Where do I want to go?• Hustle: How will I get there? These attributes, and the habits it takes to create and nourish them belong to the leader who is willing to work hard, get the task done, and make sure the mission is never about him or her. But becoming an H3 leader goes far beyond learning what all these are.

Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About LeadershipRadical Inclusion by GEN(R) Martin Dempsey

Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership examines today’s leadership landscape and describes the change it demands of leaders. Dempsey and Brafman persuasively explain that today’s leaders are in competition for the trust and confidence of those they lead more than ever before. They assert that the nature of power is changing and should not be measured by degree of control alone. They offer principles for adaptation and bring them to life with examples from business, academia, government, and the military.

 Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about ItSeculosity by David Zahl 

In our striving, we are chasing a sense of enoughness. But it remains ever out of reach, and the effort and anxiety are burning us out. Seculosity takes a thoughtful yet entertaining tour of American “performancism” and its cousins, highlighting both their ingenuity and mercilessness, all while challenging the conventional narrative of religious decline. Zahl unmasks the competing pieties around which so much of our lives revolve, and he does so in a way that’s at points playful, personal, and incisive. Ultimately he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.

Other Recommended Titles:

Lincoln on Leadership by Donald Phillips

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Barton

The Evangelist of the Future by Phyllis Tickle

Thriving in the Second Chair by Mike Bonem

The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown

Team of Teams by GEN(R) Stanley McChrystal

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Fantastic creatures, heroic deeds, epic battles in the war between good and evil, and unforgettable adventures come together in this world where magic meets reality, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. The Chronicles of Narnia has transcended the fantasy genre to become a part of the canon of classic literature.

The Kingkiller Series by Patrick Rothfuss

A tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about the afterlife–and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.

Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say Tell Me More by Kate Corrigan

It’s a crazy idea: trying to name the phrases that make love and connection possible. But that’s just what Kelly Corrigan has set out to do here. In her New York Times bestselling memoirs, Corrigan distilled our core relationships to their essences, showcasing a warm, easy storytelling style. Now, in Tell Me More, she’s back with a deeply personal, unfailingly honest, and often hilarious examination of the essential phrases that turn the wheel of life.



Other Recommended Titles:

The Conqueror Series by Conn Iggulden

The Emperor Series by Conn Iggulden

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

Get These Apps

YouVersion Bible App

Get It Now
Bible Lens App

Get It Now
Parent Cue

Get It Now

Reading Plans

Bible Reading Plan

Download Now

Summer Reading Program

Download Now

Mary P. Kniseley Library

Learn More

Bible App Instructions

Download Now

Prayer Guide

There are as many ways to pray as there are people, and no single method is all encompassing. However, many people find the prospect of prayer unfamiliar or daunting, so we created this Prayer Guide.