Written by Kris Vos
January 29, 2024

Reading for Renewal

Here are some books that my friends have recommended to me that I think have important things to say about renewal.

I am always a little intimidated in conversations about how many books one reads in a year. I love to read but I tend to read a bit slower than most people, so the volume of books I get through seems to be lower.

  • It is really not about the volume of books one reads. It is more about the quality of the book, the importance it has, and how well you read it. For more on this see James Emery White’s blog.

Regardless of the volume of books you get through in a year, one thing is true: good leaders read. But what should you read? Since it takes me more time to get through books, I depend on friends who are voracious readers to sift through them and give me their best.

So, here are some books that my friends have recommended to me that I think have important things to say about renewal.

Five Books for Renewal Leaders
Book 1: The Pastor In a Secular Age by Andrew Root
  • I love a good story, and Root recounts stories of great leaders from church history while giving a stunning analysis of our current culture at the same time. Root is a scholar and a compelling communicator. (Recommended to me by Larry Doornbos)
Book 2: Brown Church by Robert Chao Romero
  • The development of the Latino/a church and its profound influence on our culture is a neglected realm of church history. The Brown Church in North and South America is growing by leaps and bounds. If you hope to understand and to connect with Latino/a culture in your neighborhood, this is a must read. (Recommended to me by Eli Munoz)
Book 3: Evangelism in a Skeptical World by Sam Chan
  • Evangelism is one of my spiritual gifts, so I regularly read books on the topic, and this is one of my favorites. Chan is a practitioner with a wealth of examples from his own experience, as well as a medical doctor and biblical scholar who takes deep dives into Scripture and contemporary culture. I keep going back to this book as I train leaders in evangelism. (Recommended to me by Christianity Today’s Book Awards)
Book 4: Becoming a Missionary Chruch by Michael Goheen and Tim Sheridan
  • This examination of contemporary church movements in light of Lesslie Newbigin’s influence was deeply insightful. Having been in ministry for the past 30 years I was regularly saying to myself, “I remember that movement! I was influenced by those leaders!” Goheen and Sheridan help us think critically about the latest innovations in ministry while staying grounded in God’s Word. (Recommended to me by Keith Doornbos)
Book 5: The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  • Sometimes I just love to lose myself in a great story. Be careful if you pick up the first book in this series. It will capture your imagination and reel you in for 14 volumes! Church renewal is about shaping and telling a better story. This series will stir your creative juices, as you navigate your journey of renewal.

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What others have said...
  1. These all look great – that’s my problem. Every book I pick up seems to have something important to say that I should put in my repertoire! I am still working my way through the last 2 books recommended by Church Renewal – Growing Church in Power of Holy Spirit and Canoeing the Mountains. I will have to add a few of these to my list after I finish those 2.

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