Summer Reading List: Pastoral Ministry, Reading the Bible, Meaning in the Ordinary, Paradox

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What books should you put on your summer reading list? We asked Intersect contributors this question, and we’ve been sharing their recommendations in recent weeks.

Today, Intersect contributors recommend books on pastoral ministry, reading the Bible, finding meaning in everyday life, and the paradoxes in the Bible.

Editor’s Note: You can download two Intersect-exclusive ebooks from Bruce Ashford for free. Details>>

The Work of the Pastor
by William Still (Christian Focus, rev. 2010)

Nathaniel Williams

Nathaniel Williams: As a young pastor, I’ve read many books on pastoral ministry. The Work of the Pastor is one of the very best. In this concise, powerful and highly quotable book, Still charges pastors to feed their people the Word of God.

Some of Still’s insights interact with what we discuss here at Intersect. For example, he acknowledges the false sense of complacency wealth can induce: “Do not think that the church is smothered in these countries. She is more likely to be smothered by wealth, ease and complacency.” Most of all, though, Still delivers a punchy, pointed charge to pastors: Feed the flock with the word of God.

Surprised by Paradox: The Promise of “And” in an Either-Or World
by Jen Pollock Michel (IVP, 2019)

Jenn Hesse

Jenn Hesse: Surprised by Paradox invites readers to reckon with the dissonance of “and” interwoven throughout Scripture. Jesus is God and man. God’s kingdom is hidden and revealed. Grace gives life and requires death. Lament questions God and bolsters faith.

Jen Pollock Michel explores these and other paradoxes in her call for Christians to embrace the mystery that is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Reading this challenged me to pause and truly contemplate the wonder of the gospel, deepening my awe of the Lord and His marvelous, inscrutable ways.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
by Tish Harrison Warren (IVP, 2016)

Meredith Cook: If you’re like me, you’re easily consumed by the details and minutiae of everyday life— without even realizing it. In her book, Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren encourages readers to be mindful as we go through the seemingly unremarkable, mundane motions of daily life. So often, we passively fill our days with the routine and habits we’ve formed over a lifetime, without considering how those very things shape us spiritually and remind us of God’s provision and sustaining grace. Through countless forgettable meals, God has provided the fuel we need to get through the day. In the early morning hours, we wake because God has sustained us through the night.

Warren reminds us that we live the majority of our lives in the ordinary. Her book has caused me to rethink my own habits— looking at my phone first thing in the morning or listening to music while walking in circles around the gym track—and consider how I might be more disciplined in these moments to set my mind on things that are above.

Every Word: A Reader’s 90-Day Guide to the Bible
by Susan Goodwin, Jennifer Peterson and Molly Sawyer (Independently published, 2018)

Cas Monaco

Cas Monaco: One of the most important aspects of developing a missional theology is understanding the “True Story of the Whole World” found in the metanarrative of Scripture. What better way to trace the themes of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration than reading through the whole Bible — in 90 days. 

Every Word: A Reader’s 90-Day Guide to the Bible by Molly Sawyer, Susan Goodwin and Jennifer Peterson is an excellent tool that guides you through a 90-day read. The book includes a biblical timeline and simple charts to help the reader wade through Kings and Chronicles. In addition, the authors provide profound but simple explanations of every single book in Scripture and an easy check-list to keep track of your reading-all in less than 150 pages. I highly recommend this tool for individual use, for your small group or even your church. 

What book do you recommend? Comment below and let us know.

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