As 2019 draws to a close, here’s my annual list of books to encourage disciples in 2020. These are books that have helped me, and I know many look forward to seeing this list and choosing books to read in the coming year. Why not also think about buying a book for someone else, to encourage them? After all, reading disciples are normally growing disciples.
(If you like this Discipleship list, also see my Leadership list in my Leadership blog).
So – in no order – here’s my 10.
1. Sheridan Voysey – The Making of Us
I loved reading this book, about Sheridan’s hundred-mile pilgrimage along the North East coast of England from Holy Island to Durham. Sheridan discovers much about himself as well as about life and faith, and invites us to journey with him into uncertainty, joy and fresh identity. It was great having Sheridan speak at The Belfrey a couple of years ago, and I liked this book so much that I included comments on it in my blog Joy in the Journey.
2. John & Carol Arnott – Preparing for the Glory
This book had a powerful effect on me as I read it. Something stirred deep inside as I learned from the vast experience of this remarkable couple. Not only do they share insights from the past – especially from their time leading the Airport Church in Toronto, and the movement that emerged from that – but also they write with great faith and insight, describing their prophetic hope for the future. It raised my expectations and caused me to pray!
3. Ruth Haley-Barton – Invitation to Solitude & Silence
With a Foreword by Dallas Willard, this lovely book is an invitation to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. Wide and refreshing, this wise and practical book will encourage you to give time for rest and reflection, and for making space to prayerfully listen to God and experience his transforming presence.
4. William Porter – The Forerunner Cry
This excellent book by my brother, is subtitled ‘Preparing for Christ’s Return.’ It’s unusual in that William is one of the only Brits presently writing about the Second Coming of Christ. With great reviews by prayer leaders Johannes Hartl and Jane Holloway, this thoughtful and challenging book urges us to go back to the Scriptures and to look at the signs of the times and be forerunners, living our lives in the light of Christ’s coming.
5. Craig Keener & Médine Moussounga Keener – Impossible Love
This is the remarkable and true story of the love between bible scholar Craig Keener and his future wife Médine. It was an honour for me to hear Craig speak in the summer and to briefly meet them, and this book tells of their struggles through personal hardships and civil war in Congo, and how they faced terror, disease and devastating difficulties. Partly romance, part thrilling adventure, it describes a miracle-filled journey of seemingly impossible love. Commended by Heidi Baker and RT Kendall!
6. Cindy McGill – What Your Dreams are Telling You
There are some wacky books out there about dream interpretation! This one is different. It’s from a wise and seasoned dream-interpreter who helps many people – especially people with no faith – get in touch with what their dreams are saying. McGill has a strong faith in Christ although at first you wouldn’t necessarily know she’s a follower of Jesus. That’s intentional, as she wants the book to be useful for a broad range of spiritual seekers. I found it so helpful and highly recommend it.
7. Ian M Cron & Suzanne Stabile – The Road Back to You
This book provides a practical way of accessing the personality-type model called the Enneagram. It explores the Enneagram’s connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of ourselves, compassion for others, and love for God. Witty and filled with stories, it allows you to peek inside each of the nine Enneagram types to learn more about yourself, and to start to see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people might think, feel, and act the way they do.
8. Shawn Bolz – Modern-Day Prophets
If you want to go deeper into prophetic ministry and to learn to hear more from God, then this book is great! Bolz reminds us that one-third of the Bible is framed with stories about people hearing God, which is why he delves into many bible passages and gives much practical wisdom not just on prophecy but also on how to practically live as modern-day prophets in contemporary life.
9. Matthew Porter – A-Z of Prayer
Just yesterday three separate people were telling me how this simple way-in to the practice of prayer has helped them to grow in their conversations with God, so despite my loathing of self-promotion I feel a nudge to recommend my own book! As part of Authentic’s A-Z series, it’s particularly accessible for new Christians, but also a useful resource for anyone who wants to develop a meaningful prayer life.
10. The Bible
As ever, I end with the book of books. This is most important book you will read in the coming year, and the best book-gift you can give anyone. I’ve enjoyed using various translations this year, including the New International Version (NIV) for everyday use, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) for study, The Message (MSG) for inspiration and The Passion Translation (TPT) for fresh insight. Read it every day, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read. You won’t be disappointed.