The Best Ministry Books of the Year

The Vulnerable Pastor: How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry by Mandy Smith (IVP)

Vulnerability in ministry is a too often ignored topic. It doesn’t need to be. Smith helps readers see that talking about our limitations isn't just a good idea, it's absolutely essential for healthy kingdom leaders, and what people in the pew so desperately long to see. – J.R. Briggs

The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus by Zack Eswine (Crossway)

Eswine describes the life of ministry in a way that unshackles the minister from impossible demands. This book is full of mercy and encouragement. —Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson (Zondervan)

In our age, pastoral ministry is haunted by the specter of technique—the pressure to get things done. Hiestand and Wilson offer a different vision … that pastoral ministry and the work of theology should not be mutually exclusive.” —C. Christopher Smith

The Givenness of Things: Essays by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A breath of fresh air. It is thoughtful, philosophical, and surprisingly political. Robinson has a gift for conveying orthodox theology in a fresh way. – Chris Nye

Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller (Viking)

Keller allows preachers to take a peek behind his pulpit and preparation process. This book is about more the how-to's of good preaching. Keller spends a good amount of the book addressing important presuppositions and foundational assumptions we must bring in to our preaching to make it simultaneously biblical and culturally engaging. – J.R. Briggs

Subterranean: Why the Future of the Church Is Rootedness by Dan White, Jr. (Wipf and Stock)

White makes the uncomfortable prophetic point that many of our current church models rely on speed and visibility rather than the slow and hidden way of yeast and mustard seed. – Kevin Miller

We Believe: Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms for Worship by Mathew B. Sims (Grace for Sinners)

Sims compiles many of the historical church’s essential documents into a single 350-page volume. While it’s a great reference tool, I recommend reading it devotionally; it walks systematically through our faith's most essential teachings and connects us with the "great cloud of witnesses" that have worshiped and served the Savior before us. – Chris Poblete

Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life by Ed Shaw (IVP)

Shaw unpacks nine missteps the church needs to correct to convey the plausibility of the faithful and celibate lifestyle. This is the best book available on helping the church minister more intentionally to those among us who struggle with same-sex attraction. – David Dunham

The Presence of God: Its Place in the Storyline of Scripture and Our Lives by J. Ryan Lister (Crossway)

Provides a biblical theology of the presence of God in a comprehensive, concise fashion. – Chris Nye

The New Pastors Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry by Jason Helopoulous (Baker)

Helopolous has a heart for new and young pastors, and it shines in this book, written to help new pastors navigate those tumultuous first years in ministry. – Chris Poblete

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