It’s no secret: our team loves to read.
Our first priority to know God through the pages of Scripture we read each day, and our primary mission is to equip you to be rooted deeply in God’s Word as well. This is the reading that nourishes and fortifies us for each step of life’s journey. These are the very words of life, breathed out by God himself.
We also love to read books by mentors in the faith—men and women who put pen and paper to what God is teaching them, for the good of the church. Reading books like these can stir our affections even more for the Lord and his Word, giving us valuable insight and encouragement. In this era of information overload—social media posts, tweets, news feeds, podcasts, and more—it is a gift (and often a discipline) to sit with a book for a longer period of time and savor its message.
Our team members are in various stages of life—many with young kids, or ministry commitments, or complicated schedules. We know how hard it can be to find time to read! Whether you are resolving to read one new book this year or dozens, we hope this list of twelve books our team members loved this year (and why!) inspires you. Many of us listened to these books in the car or turned pages during naptimes or lunch breaks. Whenever and however you read this year, we pray you will read well and be encouraged by wise brothers and sisters in the faith, for the glory of God.
We’re giving away a copy of all twelve books to one of our readers plus a scripture calendar from Naomi Paper Co. and a set of Mildliners. Just fill in your details at the bottom of this blog to enter to win!
Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp
I’ve had this book on my must-read list for quite some time and was finally able to read through it this year. Paul David Tripp is a wordsmith, and through this book he points the reader back to where true awe comes from: beholding God’s glory in the Word and in the world. –Gretchen
Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers
This book is a timely message to our generation. As progressive Christianity continues to make its way into mainstream media and even into churches, we must be able to identify what the unchanging truth of God’s Word is and anchor our souls in it. Alisa Childers does an excellent job sharing her own story of doubt and reconstructing her faith again. I highly recommend this book to all Christ-followers, along with her podcast and blog. –Gretchen
Crosstalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet by Michael R. Emlet
When studying God’s Word, each step is uniquely challenging. Some passages are tough to understand, gathering context can be time-consuming, and interpreting the meaning is often difficult. Many people think the final step—application—is easiest, but I often get stuck. I want to apply Scripture skillfully and specifically, both to myself and others. This book by Mike Emlet helped me dig in and strengthen that skill so I can become a better student of the Bible! –Lindsay
Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop
I’ve recently discovered the joy of listening to audiobooks, and Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy was exactly what my soul needed to listen to earlier this year. In this book, Mark Vroegop vulnerably shares his own story of loss and learning what it means to lament. I found myself stopping to take notes as I listened, and I plan on purchasing a physical copy of this book as well. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy illuminated the Psalms in a new way and taught me how to pray and seek the Lord in the midst of grief. –Gretchen
The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together by Jared C. Wilson
The subtitle of this book says it all. As someone who grew up loving to follow the rules, but always failing to do so, it spoke to my heart. It is a rare combination of clear truths that helped me understand the gospel better and laugh-out-loud observations. I love the way Jared writes. His unusual metaphors make his theology stick in my brain, and his chapters on Romans 7 and 8 are some of the most hopeful expositions of Scripture I’ve read in years. –Maggie
More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell
I admit, this book has been a part of my collection for about 12 years. A former small group leader gifted it to me in college, but I never took the time to read it. Earlier this year, I wanted to share it as a resource with a Muslim friend, and my husband challenged me to read it before I gave it to her. (Novel idea, huh?) It was such a timely read for me. In this era of “my truth” versus “your truth,” this little book confirmed for me the validity of the Christian faith and walking with Christ. It was incredible to read about the author’s journey to Christ from a place of skepticism. I found myself rejoicing in the beautiful way in which God reveals himself to us in the ways that we need him to in order to bring us to salvation. –Jessica
A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church by Megan Hill
Church gatherings looked very different for most of us in 2020. Through this book, I was reminded of the beautiful way God redeemed me to belong to a collective body of believers and the huge and important role my brothers and sisters play in encouraging, praying, enduring trials, and pointing me to Christ. This book helped me reignite my love for the local church and reminded me of the importance of continuing to persevere in being part of a church body. I pray this book encourages you to gather, love, and build up your local church! –Fernie
Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in Jesus by Robert J. Morgan
If I were to summarize one important lesson God has been teaching me this year, it would be the importance of saturating my mind in the Truth of God’s Word. What we think about dictates how we feel, speak, and act. God’s Word is our foundation that cannot be shaken, but how often do we take time to meditate on its timeless treasures? This book by Robert J. Morgan beautifully breaks down how to meditate on Scripture. To read God’s Word is good, but to hide it in your heart and treasure it above every other word? That is what leads to true peace, contentment, and joy in Christ. –Gretchen
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer
I started listening to the audio version of this book (at 1.5x speed which I realized was ironic, so I slowed down) and was crying by the time he finished reading the introduction. The explanation of Sabbath, rest, and a slower pace sounded so lovely, so inviting, so necessary, I knew I wanted to hear more. This book challenged me to evaluate rhythms I’ve accepted as normal for far too long. It encouraged me to rethink rest, making time with the Lord a priority, and how to say “no” to the pace of hurry and busyness in my life. I hope it encourages you, too! –Rachael
Saints & Scoundrels in the Story of Jesus by Nancy Guthrie
The title of this book ignited my curiosity. I’ve read the parables and the Gospels multiple times, and my focus was always on who Jesus was and what he was doing. I had never stopped to consider the character—well, at least not in-depth—of the individuals, we are presented within these stories. As I started reading, I realized that I am not any different from the rich man, the unbelieving apostles, and the hypocrite Pharisees. This book really challenged me to look into my heart, repent, and ask for God’s grace in my areas of weakness. Just like the characters in the Gospels, I need Jesus desperately. Nancy Guthrie does a great job at helping us understand these people a little better, take a deep look into our own lives, and then look to our marvelous Savior! –Fernie
This book transformed the way I approach conversations, and I still see the fruit of it every time I sit down with someone to talk. Ed Welch is a counselor and teacher and this book is like a “helping people biblically” introductory guide. It is a quick read, is easy to understand, and is both biblically solid and intensely practical. –Lindsay
Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Eric Schumacher
I thought I might have to set goals to make it through this long-ish book, but instead, I read it cover to cover in only two days. Elyse and Eric trace the story of women throughout the Bible and shine a light on God’s heart toward women. I wept multiple times as their gentle prodding unearthed unexpected strongholds of shame and hurt. They lead by example as they treat people with different theological viewpoints with the respect due to fellow image-bearers. This book is also a call to unity that the church desperately needs in our current circumstances. I recommend all women (and men!) read this book! –Maggie
*We love sharing resource recommendations with you! However, when we recommend a resource, please keep in mind that we are not endorsing people or ministries in their entirety. We do our best to recommend solid content, but the only infallible endorsement we offer is of the Word of God!