Books on my Nightstand

August 20, 2010 — 3 Comments

Books on my nightstand that the Amazon fairy recently brought me and some first impressions:

Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller

  • My credibility may be a little thin on this one (since I love all-things-Keller) but: You have to get this book. If our primary sin is worshipping idols then I, for one, want to understand how to attack them in a Christ-centered way.

God Space: Naturally Creating Room for Spiritual Conversations – Doug Pollock

  • A little cheesy but very practical and short (but I have a strong aversion to all things cheesy.  It’s why I don’t like CCM.  Or country music.  Or Jay Leno. Or certain pastors.  Turn of phrase just doesn’t do it for me, like a pastor saying: “I’d rather have one ‘God idea’ than 100 ‘good ideas’.”  OK, I am a bit of a cynic).
  • I like it.  And it helps that he speaks my language – being on Crusade staff and all.  So when he says “I’ve begun to realize that in most of our conversations, people aren’t ready for our testimonies” I don’t get my feathers all ruffled up.  Yes, he is attacking a sacred Crusade cow.  But at least he knows and loves the cow.  In case you wonder, instead of testimonies he proposes preparing shorter “gospel snacks” (which I agree with) – see, a bit cheesy but very practical and good.

Imaginary Jesus – Matt Mikalatos

  • I think the #1 obstacle in evangelism (at least for us here in the South) is convincing students they don’t know the real Jesus.  This book does that in a very funny, yet clear way.  I’m halfway thru so the verdict is still out but this could be a great tool.

In This Generation – Todd Ahrend

  • A look at what we can learn from the Student Volunteer Movement as we seek to mobilize students.  Really great insights from one of the leading experts on mobilizing college students to go to the world.

Just Walk Across the Room – Bill Hybels

  • Great stories and illustrations re: Relational Evangelism.  Bill (whatever you may think of his church philosophy) is extremely passionate about sharing Christ and I NEED to be around people like that.  We will be using these ideas heavily with our students this fall as we seek to become experts in relational evangelism

The Forgotten Ways – Alan Hirsch

  • Really long with tiny print (Call me lazy but I like short and to the point.  I prefer the term “efficient”) AND Brian McLaren recommends it.  2 strikes.  But it looks intriguing – especially the idea of building Communitas – Small group communities with a purpose

Questioning Evangelism – Randy Newman

  • Haven’t started this one yet but comes highly recommended as THE best book on relational evangelism.  I’m trying to figure out how to better train students in this area (as you can tell from my stack of books on the topic).

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the GospelJ. Mack Stiles

  • Short and to the point but a little dry so far.  Not a methods books.  More of a theological look at the gospel and evangelism (Polar opposite from Hybels’ book).  Some good insights so far.

photo courtesy of radiospike photography via Flickr


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  • “I’d rather have one ‘God idea’ than 100 ‘good ideas’.”

    …that’s amazing. I totally have never heard that 🙂

    Stephanie Nannan pointed me your way last week. Look forward to tracking your thoughts moving forward

  • Tim,
    Hey I read “Imaginary Jesus” a couple months ago. I think this is a great book for giving to students to helping students see they don’t know the ‘real Jesus.’ He has a good story that he weaves through out the book too. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts when you are done. I think Matt is speaking at Winter Conference this year too. He’s a great guy, I know him from my NW days.
    Aside from that, all the books I read this summer were text books (IBS) so I can’t recommend anything specific… I’ve heard good things about Questioning Evangelism too!

    Actually one book that Alan Scholes told us about in our class this summer is called The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again, by George G. Hunter. Link:

    He talks about the way that Patrick did evangelism to reach the Celts versus the Roman way of doing ev (which is similar to the way the way we’ve done it for a while, linear/modern style). Sounds really good especially in our post-modern context.

    Catch ya later…
    DT <

  • timcasteel

    Brian – you have my permission to work the “God idea” lingo into as many staff meetings as possible.

    David – good to hear from someone who’s finished Imaginary Jesus. And the Hunter book sounds intriguing. Why don’t you read it for us and report back!