Some time ago, Brian Croft of Practical Shepherding shared a list of top 10 books every pastor should read in two categories: doing and enduring pastoral ministry. Having given it some thought, I offer my initial general ten books every pastor should read.
1. What Every Pastor Should Know by Gary L. McIntosh and Charles Arn
One of the most practical books I have ever read in ministry is this work by Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn. Most books for pastors are simple guides on preaching, pastoring, counseling, funerals, weddings, etc. The authors, however, go much deeper and guide the reader on church growth, how to welcome visitors, how to engage the community, working with staff, etc. This is an invaluable resource for pastors today.
2. The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler
The pastor is a leader and Mohler offers one of the better books on leadership. Though this volume could be applied to other leadership positions, Mohler clearly has ministers in mind. Pastors must lead convictionally for we stand on the rock of the gospel, not our feelings and opinions.
3. The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Although I don't agree with Stott on everything in this book, it remains the best book I have read on the doctrine of the cross. Every pastor should be fluent in the cross and know it well. Stott's work is an important work in that regard.
4. Between Two Worlds by John Stott
A classic work on preaching.
5. Preaching and Preachers by Martin Lloyd-Jones
Another classical work on preaching.
6. Death by Love by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
The book that opened my eyes to gospel-centered and cross-centered ministry was this one by Driscoll and Breshears. I do not agree with every chapter and acknowledge the book (not to mention its primary author) has its weaknesses, the approach of the book should be mimicked in our ministry. Each chapter begins with a real ministry scenario followed by a letter from Driscoll applying the doctrine of the cross to that specific situation.
7. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
Every pastor should grow spiritually and this is the best book I've read on the subject. Learn from it and teach it to your people.
8. Sexual Morality in a Christless World by Matthew Rueger
To say we live in a sexually perverse society is an understatement. There are countless books that seek to guide Christians through the mess of this world. The one that stands out from the rest is this volume from Rueger. The author takes us back to the Roman world which begat Christianity and showed how debauched it was. Yet in spite of its immorality, Christianity expanded. This is an excellent tool that should be devoured by pastors.
9. Preaching with Simplicity by JC Ryle
Preaching is not an academic exercise whereby we prove our intellectual smarts. It is the primary means by which we shepherd our people to greater Christlikeness. Thus we must preach with simplicity. This pamphlet is an excellent tool to guide us in that endeavor.
10. Mere Christianity/Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
One of the most influential writers in my life is Clive Staples Lewis. These two volumes are among his most influential and should be devoured by every believer. Lewis may not be for everyone, but everyone should be exposed to his writings, both fictional and non-fictional.
HT: Practical Shepherding