Below is my Top 10 Book List for Young Leaders in the Church. A few thoughts about the list.
First, it has young, next generation leaders among the church in mind (people who are usually in their 20’s and early 30’s). These are the best extra-biblical books I could recommend to someone who “desires to be an overseer” (1 Timothy 3.1). I have found that these young leaders come with little to no background with the Bible and even less understanding of the history of the church. Occasionally they have the opposite problem, having been steeped in American church tradition and micro-culture. Young leaders who have been steeped in American church tradition and micro-culture often get locked into rigid, narrow viewpoints that hinder them from having the flexibility to really move out and take new ground with the gospel. On the other hand, I have watched as those with little or no background bounce from one new and exciting fad/movement to the next every few years. In either case, almost every young leader I have had the privilege of investing in has had a need for a foundation that can provide perspective.
Second, this list is fluid. Several of these books have stood the test of time and have been on my short list for 10-15 years. Others are more recent additions that I have come across. If you ask me for this same Top 10 list several years from now, chances are there will be 2-3 new titles that have worked their way in.
Finally, there is a clear distinction in value between the first 5 books on the list and the second 5. I’m pretty confident that the top 5 books will be on my list for years to come.
- The Master Plan of Evangelism, Coleman
- The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, Viola
- The New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content, Metzger
- The Rise of Christianity, Starks
- Paul: In Fresh Perspective, Wright
- The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation, Johnson
- Church History in Plain Language, Shelley
- Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, Keller
- Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph, Collins
- Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, Henrichsen