Prayer, Richard Foster
Ever since publishing Celebration of Discipline in 1978, Foster has been the Godfather of spiritual formation. Over his long and fruitful career, Foster returns again and again to the topic of prayer, so it’s no surprise that Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is among his most useful books for pastors.
“When we pray, genuinely pray, the real condition of our heart is revealed. This is as it should be. This is when God truly begins to work with us. The adventure is just beginning.”
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Tim Keller
Tim Keller’s recent passing has brought forth a flowering of appreciation for his patient, steady work as a church-planter and pastor in New York City (of all places!). The Reason for God shows us Keller in his sweet spot, a pastor who was always prepared to give an answer for the hope of his faith. Every pastor who wants to learn how to present faith in Christ as a reasonable way of life can benefit from The Reason for God.
“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright
Historian and biblical scholar Tom Wright challenges Evangelicals to ask, “what is the point of salvation?” He addresses the vital question of life-after-death by suggesting that most Christians miss the point of “heaven.” Among the manybooks for church planters available, Surprised by Hope has the power to re-invigorate preaching and Christian living.
“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
These excellent books for church planters are merely the beginning. But any pastor who dives into these five has made an excellent investment is a sustained life of prayer, preaching and ministry. Where will you start?