2024 Pastor Reading Recommendations

One of the best things that we can do as humans is read! Reading imparts knowledge, strengthens our brains, and helps us grow as individuals. What we read matters. Several have asked over the last few weeks if I had some book recommendations for 2024. Below, you’ll find several suggestions with a brief explanation! My prayer is that these books will help you grow in your walk with the Lord individually and provide you with an opportunity possibly to help others along the way.


Pastoral Books:

  1. Preaching For the Rest of Us – Robby Gallaty and Steven Smith
    • This is arguably the best foundational preaching book I’ve read, and, as a result, I recommend it to people starting out in pastoral ministry or those interested in what goes into sermon preparation and sermon delivery.
  2. Christ-Centered Preaching – Bryan Chapell
    • Chapell is one of my all-time favorite preachers to listen to, and this book explores what expository preaching is and what it seeks to accomplish in the life of the Christian and in the life of the local church.
    • Additional Helpful Preaching Resources
        • Expository Exultation – John Piper
        • Preaching and Preachers – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
        • Between Two Worlds – John Stott
        • How to Preach Biblically – John MacArthur
        • Dying to Preach – Steven Smith
        • Planning Your Preaching – Stephen Rummage
        • Doctrine that Dances – Robert Smith
        • Recapturing the Voice of God – Steven Smith


Theology/Christian Life Books:

  1. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life – Donald Whitney
    • No book has impacted my daily walk with the Lord (other than the Bible) more than this book as Whitney shares 12 disciplines that help God’s people grow in sanctification. As he shares, “Godliness is a lifelong pursuit.” I try to re-read this every year and encourage you to do the same!
  2. Prodigal God – Tim Keller
    • Tim Keller’s (short) book on the beloved parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 has helped me better understand the nature of God’s love and the danger of legalism creeping in my own heart as one whose life more closely aligns with the older brother in the story. Highly recommend for those who have been saved for a number of yearsd
  3. Gentle and Lowly – Dane Ortlund
    • This book was a spring of encouragement for me in a season of uncertainty several years ago. Ortlund explores the character of God and how He is “gentle and lowly” at heart and near to sufferers in their time of suffering.
  4. Brave by Faith – Alistair Begg
    • Begg is my favorite preacher to listen to, and his heart for God’s Word is contagious. This short book outlines the book of Daniel and reminds the Christian of the confidence we find in the Lord even when living in “Babylon” and the importance of faithful living as Jesus has won the victory.
  5. Adopted into God’s Family – Trevor Burke
    • This book is a little more meaty than the first few as it explores how Paul uses Adoption in the New Testament to demonstrate our newfound reality as Sons of God. This book is an encouragement to Christians and has led me to rejoice even more at the work of Jesus in seeking and saving lost sinners.
  6. Mere Christianity – CS Lewis
    • This is a classic theological book that helps the reader see what Christians believe, why Christians believe what they believe, and what exactly it means to follow God. While not perfect, this is one of the most influential Christian books of the 20th century.
  7. Strange New World – Carl Trueman
    • Trueman helps explain how the sexual revolution of modernity came to consume our entire world and does a great job describing the roots of this movement that stems from secularism. Knowing how we arrived at where we are as a culture is helpful as we seek as Christians to stand out for God’s glory in this “strange new world.”
  8. Why I Trust the Bible – William Mounce
    • This book provides helpful answers to popular criticisms people give regarding why they don’t believe in the truth of the Bible.
  9. Corporate Worship – Matt Merker
    • This book has encouraged me to see what Jesus expects of His people whenever they gather for corporate worship and the responsibility that each of us has in that setting as believers. This is a short but powerful read.
  10. Uncommon Trust – Erik Reed
    • This is the shortest book on this list, but it might be the most impactful as pastor Erik Reed details how the Lord led him and his family through tragedy and their trust in the Lord increased as they better understood His purposes in suffering.


Children’s Books:

  1. The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross – Carl Laferton
    • This is a book for younger children, and it might be the clearest picture of the Gospel I’ve ever seen for children in an understandable yet “not watered down” manner. I recommend this book to any parent wanting to explain why Jesus had to come and save sinners.
  2. Who Am I and Why Do I Matter? – Chris Morphew
    • This is a book for older pre-teens that addresses many of the identity issues that our world throws at kids. Morphew does a good job of pointing pre-teens (and their parents/Bible study leaders) to Jesus as the answer to these questions and problems concerning identity.
  3. A New Baptist Catechism – Dwayne Milioni
    • The word catechism can cause Baptist ears to perk up, but the concept of teaching children truths directly from the Word is as old as the Torah as the Shema in Deuteronomy 6 commands parents to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord wherever they go. This book contains 150 questions that are targeted to help children understand basic and complex teachings found in God’s Word.


In addition to sermon preparation, much of my reading each year is for my PhD program in Preaching at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and that reading largely focuses on… you guessed it… preaching! In addition to those preaching and ministry related books, here’s my list that I’m looking forward to reading this year:

  1. The Lord of Psalm 23: Jesus Our Shepherd, Companion, and Host – David Gibson
  2. Friendship with the Friend of Sinners – Jared Wilson
  3. Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture – Brent Parker
  4. Predestination and Free Will: Four Views on Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom – David and Randall Basinger
  5. Rejoice and Tremble – Michael Reeves
  6. Bully Pulpit – Michael Kruger
  7. The Warrior Savior – Owen Strachan
  8. The Compelling Community – Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop
  9. Shepherding the Pastor – Phil Newton and Rich Shadden

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