It’s a new year, and a new opportunity awaits to dig in to some books to grow your faith walk. We asked some of First Pres’ leaders what would be on their 2021 must-read list. We got 12 recommendations, and hey, that’s enough for one each month. So, let’s go!

Billy Craig

Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art by Peyton Jones

This book provides numerous ways and strategies to help the church reach the unreached. My prayer is that those who read it at First Pres can read it with a lens of what it would look like to reach those who don’t know Christ in our own context.

Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless by C. John Miller

“The Church (at large) needs a good kick in the pants to get out there and share our faith on a regular basis,” Billy says. “This book provides the biblical grounding and motives to get us fired up to do just that!”

X-Plan Parenting by Bert Fulks

Written by a high-school friend of Billy’s, this book challenges you to become your child’s ally in a challenging world. “He challenged me to be mindful of the potential hurt and wounds we as parents could be inflicting on our children and that grace is always available,” Billy says.

Gender Ideology by Sharon James

The Gospel Coalition used this book as past of its conference this year. It shares what Christians need to know about the way society sees gender as fluid. It will show you we love our neighbor, be informative and guide our children with a biblical worldview in light of that cultural shift.

Betsy Dishman

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger

Last year certainly included “uncharted territory,” and as we continue on that journey, this book examins leading in unexpected contexts. “Drawing from his extensive experience as a pastor and consultant, Tod Bolsinger brings decades of expertise in guiding churches and organizations through uncharted territory,” the publisher says.

Jim Dye

The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer

No book written in the past century will challenge your view of God and your dedication to know Him better as will this very readable book,” Jim says.

The Search for the Twelve Apostles by William Steuart McBirnie

This book will give you insight into what probably happened to the 12 as they left the pages of the New Testament and will definitely challenge your own commitment,” Jim says.

A Diary of Private Prayer by Dr. John Baillie

“I have yet to find anyone whose command of the language and depth of perception surpasses Dr. Baillie,” Jim says. “I come back to him almost daily and find new refreshment and insight in a way no other writer has ever done.”

Brad Jenkins

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Jesus for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortland

“This is the best book I read in 2020, and perhaps the one that has had the greatest effect on my spirit ever,” Brad says. “The author drew me in to Christ’s true heart for me. Jesus’ love is truly astonishing. I sometimes wonder if Jesus tires of my brokenness and my sin, and yet the Bible shows us it’s in those moments he is most drawn to us. Amazing!”

42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story by Ed Henry

Jackie Robinson was a great baseball player, and he broke the color barrier in the sport. But Ed Henry shows how the faith of both Robinson and Branch Rickey, the man who recruited him, we vital to the history-making story. “The author takes the reader into the awful circumstances Robinson faced from those who opposed his integration of baseball, but he also shows how Robinson and Rickey’s faith in God kept them going.

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan

This Francis Chan book takes readers back to the days of the early church, and it takes the 21st century church back to the foundational blocks of what it means to be a church. It can be an uncomfortable read at turns because Chan has strong words about ways we in America in particular have strayed from what God designed for the Church. “The book was a good reminder of the foundation of the church and of our primary purpose to make disciples who make disciples,” Brad says.

Carl Larsson

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

“I’m in my 30s reading these books for the first time,” Carl says. “I’ve really enjoyed reading the stories and seeing how C.S. Lewis uses them to point us to important biblical truths. Definitely a classic, must-read for all ages!”

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