Friday, September 2, 2011


(Compiled September 2008)

The following is designed as an aid to help recommend some thoughtful books for pastors. We admit it has gaps. In fact we are sure that it will have glaring omissions largely because we have intentionally tried to keep the number of books diverse yet in a manageable quantity (actually we initially tried to keep it at 100 but failed there!). So it isn’t exhaustive, especially because we have tried to mention authors generally, only once.
The intention of this list was simply to help pastors in their professional development and hopefully also stir their imagination. We know of nothing else like it. Most of these books, sadly will not sit on shelves of a Christian bookstore. Generally, they are not the sort of books that are designed to be on popular ‘top ten’ lists.
The books recommended here were sourced from the collaboration of five people: a female and a male local church pastor, a teacher to pastors, a leader and confidant of pastors and a pastor to pastors. All of us are or have been pastors for substantial periods of time. The ages of us five collaborators ranges from 30-something to retired. We have collectively worked and studied in a very diverse range of churches, and settings: large & small; city & country; urban & suburban; ‘Anglo’ & multicultural; Australia & abroad; schools; seminaries; offices; etc.
We hope this is an aid to your professional reading. If you have any further suggestions of something that is a glaring omission please email your suggestion to Andrew Menzies for when this list is revised and updated, sometime in the future.
Rev Dr Rowland Croucher, Founder of John Mark Ministries and formerly Pastor Blackburn (now Crossway) Baptist Church.
Rev Carolyn Francis, Pastor StKilda/Elsternwick Baptist Church.
Rev Alan Marr, Director of Ministries, Baptist Union of Victoria
Rev Andrew Menzies, Pastor Camberwell Baptist Church.
Rev Dr Frank Rees, Principal of Whitley [Baptist] College.


Our Primary Source and Starting Point The Holy Bible.

Bolsinger, Tod. It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2004. Ellis, Christopher. Gathering: a theology and spirituality of worship in the Free Church Tradition. London: SCM Press, 2004.
Fiddes, Paul (ed.). Reflections on the Water: Understanding God and the World Through the Baptism of Believers. Oxford: Regents Park College, 1996.
Fuellenbach, John. Church: Community for the Kingdom. Maryknoll: Orbis Books. 2002.
Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical and Global Perspectives. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002. Russell, L. Church in the round. Feminist interpretation of the church. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.
Van Gelder, Craig. The Essence of the Church: a community created by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000.
Volf, M. After Our Likeness: The church as the image of the Trinity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Wright, N. New Baptists, New Agenda. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2002.

Discipleship and Christian Formation
Augsburger, David. Dissident discipleship: A spirituality of self-surrender, love of God, and love of neighbor. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2006.
Bass, Dorothy C. Practicing our Faith: A way of life for a Searching People. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
Kierkegaard, Soren. For Self-Examination, and Judge For Yourself, Edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H Hong, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Parker, Palmer, J. Let your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000. Pohl, Christine, D. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999. Murphy, Debra Dean. Teaching that Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004. Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our hidden life in God. London: HarperCollins, 1998.
Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972. (See also The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecclesiastical and Ecumenical & Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community before the Watching World.)

Culture, Postmodernity and Sociology
Barber, Benjamin. Jihad v. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping our World. New York: Random, 1995.
Bauman, Zygmunt. In Search of Politics. California: Stanford University Press, 1999. Others to consider include: Community: Seeking Safety in an Insecure World. Globalisation: The Human Consequences. Liquid Community. Liquid Modernity. Liquid Love. The Individualized Society.
Budde, Michael. Magic Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries. Westview Press, 1998. Carroll, John The Wreck of Western Culture: Humanism Revisited. Melbourne: Scribe Publications, 2004.
Cowdell, Scott. God’s Next Big Thing: Discovering the Church of the Future: Mulgrave: John Garratt Publishing, 2004. Edwards, Denis. Jesus the Wisdom of God: An ecological theology. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1995.
Giddens, Anthony. Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives. New York: Routledge, 2002. Grenz, Stanley J. Renewing the Center: Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological Era. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2000.
Grenz, Stanley J & Franke, John R. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping theology in a postmodern context, Louisville: Westminster John Knox. 2001.
Hamilton, Clive. Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 2005.
Kidd, Richard & Sparkes, Graham. God and the Art of Seeing: Visual resources for a journey of faith. Oxford: Regent’s Park College. 2003.
McLaren, Brian. A New Kind of Christian. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. (3 Vol Series).
Roxburgh, Alan J. The Sky is Falling: Leaders Lost in Transition. St. Paul, Minnesota: ACI Publishing, 2005. (See also: Reaching a New Generation: Strategies for Tomorrow’s Church,The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, & The Missionary Congregation, Leadership, and Liminality.)
Tacey, David. The Spirituality Revolution: The emergence of contemporary spirituality. Sydney: HarperCollins, 2003.
Toulmin, Stephen. Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Ministry Practice and Leadership
Augsburger, D. Conflict mediation across cultures. Pathways and patterns. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox. 1992.
Bass, Diana Butler and Joseph Stewert-Sicking (eds). From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations. Washington: Alban Institute: 2005.
Bosch, David J. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991.
Clapp, Rodney. A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996. Cray, Graham et al. The Mission Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Context. London: Church House Publishing, 2004. Friedman. Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue. New York: Guildford, 1985.
Guder, Darrell. and Lois Barrett, eds. Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998. Hauerwas, Stanley and Willimon, William H. A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981. Haugk, Kenneth C. Antagonists in the church; How to identify and deal with destructive conflict, Minneapolis, Augsburg, 1998.
Kaner, Sam. Facilitator’s guide to participatory decision-making. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers. 1996.
Langmead, R (ed.). Re-imagining God and Mission: Perspectives from Australia. Adelaide: ATF Press, 2007.
Linthicum, Robert. Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003. Mann, Alice. The in-between church: Navigating size transition in congregations. Hendon VA: The Alban Institute, 1998.
McCarthy, David. The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for Middle Class. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004. Myers, Joseph. The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups. Michigan: Zondervan, 2003.
Newbigin, Lesslie. Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture. London: SPCK, 1986. (See also: The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of MissionA Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. The Other Side of 1984.)
Noyce, Gaylord. The Minister as Moral Counsellor. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989.
Peterson, E. H. The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.
Peterson, Eugene. The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. Michigan: Eerdmans, 1993.
Rainbow Spirit Elders. Rainbow Spirit Theology. Towards an Australian Aboriginal Theology. Melbourne: Harper Collins: 1997.
Reno, Russell R. In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2002. Richardson, Ronald W. Becoming a Healthier Pastor: Family Systems Theory and the Pastor’s Own Family. Nashville, Augsburg, 2004. (also Becoming a Healthier Church, same author)
Schreiter, Robert. Constructing Local Theologies. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985. Sedmak, Clemmons. Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisans of a New Humanity. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002. Shelley, M. Well-intentioned dragons: Ministering to problem people in the church. MN: Bethany House, 1994.
Sider, Ronald J., et al. Churches that Make a Difference: Reaching your Community with Good News and Good Works. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002. Sperry, Len. Ministry and Community – Recognizing, Healing and Preventing Ministry Impairment. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000.
Vanier, Jean. Community and Growth. Sydney: St Pauls, 1984.

Leadership/ Organizations /Systems
Badaracco, Joseph L. Questions of Character, Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
Calindo, Israel. The Hidden Lives of Congregations -Discerning Church Dynamics. IHerndon, Virginia: The Alban Institute,2004.
Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t. London: Random House, 2001. Friedman, Edwin H. Generation to generation: family process in church and synagogue. NY: The Guilford Press, 1985.
Heifetz, Ronald A. and Marty Linsky. Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading. Harvard: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. Scripture & Discernment: Decision Making in the Church. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983 Johnson, Steven. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Peterson, Eugene. Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987. Richardson, Ronald. Creating a healthier church: Family systems theory, leadership and congregational life. Minneapolis: Fortress Press,1996.
Scharmer, C. Otto. Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Society for Organizational Learning,2007.
Steinke, Peter L. Healthy congregations; A systems approach, The Alban Institute, 1996.
Wheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. Berrett Koehler,1999.

Borg, Marcus The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a life of faith. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
Brueggemann, Walter; Placher, William & Blount, Brian K, Struggling with Scripture, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
Brueggemann, W. The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary (Augsberg Old Testament Studies). Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1984.
Ford, David and Stanton, Graham, (eds) Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology. London: SCM, 2003.
Fowl, Stephen E. & Jones, Gregory L. Reading in Communion: Scripture and ethics in Christian Life. Eugene, Or: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998. Wright, N.T. Christian Origins and the Question of God. (Vols 1-3) Vol 1: The New Testament and the People of God. Vol 2: Jesus and the Victory of God. Vol 3: The Resurrection and the Son of God. SPCK/Fortress. (See also: Evil and the Justice of God, The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a new understanding of the authority of Scripture & Paul, in Fresh Perspective.)

Past and Future
Krieder, Alan. The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom. Christian Mission and Modern Culture, Alan Neely, H. Wayne Pipkin & Wilbert Shenk (eds), Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1999.
Moltmann, Jurgen. Theology of Hope: On the ground and the implications of a Christian Eschatology. ET: London: SCM Press, 1967. (See also (among others): The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the foundation and criticism of Christian Theology, The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God & In the end – The beginning: The Life of Hope.)

Brown Taylor, Barbara. Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. New York: Harper, 2007.
Buechner, Frederick. Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation. (this is the second volume in his 3 part autobiography. Also see The Sacred Journey and Telling Secrets.) New York: Harper, 1991.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed – On not getting by in America. New York, Owl Books 2001.
Elliot, E. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life-adventure, Witness, Testament and Glory of Jim Elliot, One of the Five Martyrs of Ecuador. Hodder & Stoughton, 1969.
Merton, Thomas. The Seven Storey Mountain. Orlando, Harcourt, 1948.
Muller, George. The Autobiography of George Muller. USA: Whitaker House, 1984.
Miller, Basil. George Muller: Man of Faith and Miracles (Men of Faith). Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers.
Miller, Basil. William Carey: The Father of Modern Missions (Men of Faith). Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers.
Spurgeon, S and Harrald, J (compilers). C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography: The Full Harvest 1860-1892 (Charles Haddon Spurgeon – Autobiography). Banner of Truth; Revised edition1973
Smith, George. The life of William Carey, Shoemaker and Missionary. Echo Library, 2006.
Taylor, H. Hudson Taylor (Men of Faith). USA: Bethany House Publishers.

Camara, D H. A thousand reasons for living. Darton, Longman and Todd, 1986.
Claypool, J. Tracks of a Fellow Struggler: Living and Growing through Grief. Morehouse Publishing, 2004.
Foster, R. Celebration of Discipline. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1998.
Foster, R. Streams of Living Water. HarperOne, 2001.
Lamott, Anne. Travelling mercies: Some thoughts on faith. New York: Pantheon Books,2000.
Lamott, Anne. Plan B – Further Thoughts on Faith. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005.
Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New Directions; Reprint edition, 2007.
Nouwen, H. The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Image, 1979. also,Creative Ministry. Image; Rep Sub edition, 1991.
Peterson, E.H. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006. also, Take and Read: Spiritual Reading: An Annotated List. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
Rohr, R. Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality. Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 2008. also, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. Crossroad General Interest; Rev Upd edition, 2003.
Schlink, A. Realities: Miracles of God Experienced Today. USA: Zondervan, 1966. Sangster, W.E. The pure in heart: a study in Christian sanctity (Cato lectures; 1954). Schmul Publishing Co., 1984.
Yancey, Phillip. Soul Survivor: How my faith survived the church. London Sydney Auckland: Hodder and Stoughton,2001

Dostoevsky, F. The Brothers Karamazov. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990.
Hosseinik K. The Kite Runner. Riverhead Trade, 2004.
Monk Kidd, Sue. The secret life of bees. London: Headline, 2004.
Robinson, Marilynne. Gilead: A Novel. London: Virago, 2005.
Winton, Tim. Breath. Melbourne: Penguin, 2008.
Zusak,Marcus. The Book Thief. Sydney: Picador, 2005.

Taylor, Charles. The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. also,A Secular Age.

Brown Taylor, B. God in Pain: Teaching Sermons on Suffering (Teaching Sermon Series). Abingdon Press, 1998. also, The Seeds of Heaven: Sermons on the Gospel of Matthew. Westminster, 2004.
Sangster, W.E. The Craft of the Sermon: Containing the Complete Texts of the Craft of Sermon Construction and the Craft of Sermon Illustration. The Westminster Press, 1951.

Barrow, Simon and Bartley, Jonathan (ed). Consuming Passion – Why the killing of Jesus really matters. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005.
Borg, Marcus. Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time: the historical Jesus and the heart of contemporary faith. New York: Harper SanFrancisco, 1995.
Borg, M & Wright, N. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Plus). HarperOne; 2Rev Ed edition, 2007.
Epp Weaver, Alain and Mast Gerald J. The work of Jesus Christ in Anabaptist perspective; Essays in honor of J. Denny Weaver. Telford, Pennsylvania: Cascade Publishing, 2008.
Evans, C, A. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Inter-Varsity Press, 2007.
Fiddes, Paul. Past event and present salvation. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1989.
Johnson, Elizabeth. Consider Jesus: Waves of renewal in Christology. New York: Crossroad, 1994.
Lorenzen, Thorwald. Resurrection and Discipleship: Interpretive Models, Biblical Reflections, Theological Consequences. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1995.
Moltmann, Jurgen. The way of Jesus Christ: Christology in messianic dimensions. London: SCM, 1989.
Rausch, Thomas. Who is Jesus? An introduction to Christology. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2003.
Schmiechen, Peter. Christ the reconciler; A theology of opposites, differences and enemies. Grand rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans. 1996.
Smail, Tom. Once and for all. A confession of the cross. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1998
Stewart, Robert (ed.). The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N T Wright in Dialogue. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006.
Witherington, B. What Have They Done with Jesus? Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History–Why We Can Trust the Bible. HarperOne; Reprint edition, 2007.

Bosch, David. Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture. Philadelphia: Trinity Press, 1995.
Fuellenbach, John. The Kingdom of God – The Message of Jesus Today, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. 2006.
Goudzwaard, Bob, Mark Vander Vennan and David Van Heemst. Hope for Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2007.
Wallis, J. Seven Ways to Change the World. (2008)

Grenz, S The social God and the relational self: a Trinitarian theology of the imago dei. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
Gunton, C The one, the three and the many: God, creation and the culture of modernity. Cambridge: CUP, 1993.
Hauerwas, Stanely. Why Narrative? Readings in Narrative Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1986.
Johnson, E. She who is. The mystery of God in feminist theological discourse. New York: Crossroad, 1993.
LaCugna , Catherine. God for us: the Trinity and the Christian life. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992.
Loughlin, Gerard. Telling God’s Story: Bible, Church and Narrative Theology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Migliore, Daniel. Faith seeking understanding. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Second ed. 2004
Peters, T. God – the world’s future. Systematic theology for the postmodern era. (Second edition) Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
Placher, W. The domestication of transcendence: How modern thinking about God went wrong, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996.
Placher, William. Narratives of a Vulnerable God: Christ, Theology and Scripture. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994.
Rees, Frank. Wrestling with doubt: Theological reflections on the journey of faith. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2001.
Stroup, George. Before God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2004.
Veling, Terry A. Practical Theology: On earth as it is in heaven. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books. 2005.
Volf, Miroslav. Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

Holy Spirit
Karkkainen, Veli-Matti, Pneumatology: the Holy Spirit in ecumenical, international and contextual perspective. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2002.
Pinnock, Clark. The flame of love. Downers Grove: IVP, 1996.
Moltmann, Jurgen. The source of life: the Holy Spirit and the theology of life. London: SCM, 1997.
Muller-Fahrenholz, Geiko. God’s Spirit: Transforming a world in crisis. New York: Continuum, 1995.
Taylor, John. The Go-between God. London: SCM, 1972.

Peace,Reconciliation and Justice
Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. A human being died that night: A South African woman confronts the legacy of apartheid. Boston,New York: MRINER Books. 2004.
Kimball, Charles. When religion becomes evil; Five warning signs. San Francisco, Harper Collins. 2002.
Kreider, Alan et al. A culture of peace; God’s vision for the church. Intercourse PA, Good Books. 2005. Kurlansky,Mark J. Non-violence: The history of a dangerous Idea. London: Jonathan Cape, 2006.
Minow, Martha. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence. Boston, Beacon Press. 1998.
Wink, W. When the powers fall; Reconciliation in the healing of the nations. Minneapolis, Fortress Press. 1998.

Another list:


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