Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine
Pohl (Eerdmans). The definitive work on both the history and theology
of offering care to others and opening our homes and churches to include
strangers. Very important.
Good News & Good Works: A Theology for the Whole Gospel
by Ronald J. Sider (Baker). One of our favorite books! This is a serious
call and a helpful guide to thinking about wholistic outreach, evangelism
with words and deeds, all seen as a joyous witness to the Kingdom of God.
Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next
Door by Tom Clegg & Warren Bird (Group). This is one of the
clearest and most compelling books on evangelism I’ve read in years!
With suggested movies to watch, tons of striking stories and examples,
it is a delight to read. Three sections explore changes, choices and challenges.
Excellent & highly recom-mended for individuals, small groups or church
committees. You won’t put it down unchanged.
Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World by Becky Pippert (IVP).
Perhaps my favorite book on evangelism, Becky insists on a “friendship”
approach. This is a true classic, with great Bible study, breath-taking
stories and delightfully humane care. A must-read! Make sure your church
library has it (and that folks know about it!).
Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren (Servant). The
author invites churches to ministries of kindness–free car washes
and the like–done simply in the name of Christ. No guilt, low stress,
low risk and high grace. Great stories (this stuff really works!) that
are truly inspiring.
How to Reach Secular People by George Hunter (Abingdon). An
excellent study of cultural shifts, how secularization has influenced
us all and creative ways to share the gospel effectively in our current
context. A very, very insightful little book. Jam-packed with information,
ideas, and very practical suggestions. Highly regarded.
The Heart of Evangelism by Jerram Barrs (Crossway). What
a resource! Just about the best biblical and theological study, as well
as immensely helpful advice about honest, faith-sharing efforts amongst
our secularized neighbors. Thoughtful and wise.
More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern
Matrix by Brian McLaren (Zondervan). Largely an extended dialogue
with a non-Christian e-mail partner, this is one of the very best books
which takes postmodern seekers seriously. McLaren eventually crafts a
gospel presentation to relate to his friend’s deep longings and serious
questions, sharing Christ honestly, creatively and forthrightly. Brilliant,
sincere and exciting. Wow!
The Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels (Zondervan). With
Hybel’s typical clarity, innovation, biblical faithfulness and passion,
he guides readers towards greater motivation and offers practical help
in being a relationally-sensitive friend willing to share the good news
of God’s love. One of the best–quite clear and useful.
Speaking of Jesus by Mack Stiles (IVP). Loaded with stories,
lessons learned, biblical insights and practical tips, this maybe the
best handbook for those seriously engaged in faith-sharing. A fun read,
this really provides very concrete and detailed ideas.
Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied
Universe by Walter Brueggemann (Abingdon). This deeply nuanced
and often ponderous biblical scholar is always worth reading…slowly.
So read him here on evangelism, but be prepared to be immersed in a close
and yet open reading of Scripture. He suggests that evangelism includes
inviting outsiders in; calling jaded members of the faith community back
to fidelity; and passing faith on to a new generation of the young.
Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach
Them by Thom Rainers (Zondervan). The author, Dean of the Billy
Graham School of Evangelism, has done considerable research among the
“previously unchurched” and here presents his extraordinary
findings. Shows what drew people to church. One reviewer has written,
“It’s pastoral malpractice to ignore this book!”
Building a Contagious Church: Revolutionizing the Way We Do and
View Evangelism by Mark Mittelberg (Zondervan). Who wouldn’t
want a church to be passionate about effective evangelism? This is a marvelous
invitation to–and a practical guide for training in–new ways
to share God’s great news. Get it for your outreach committee!
The Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending Church in North
America edited by Darrell Gruder (Eerdmans). Although the most
scholarly book on this list, it is one of the most significant. Edited
by a professor of evangelism at a Presbyterian seminary, this is a brilliant,
serious and deeply theological work inviting new perspectives on the calling
of the church in our own secularized culture. This is nearly brilliant
and has been called pioneering. It is surely worth a careful study.
Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community With Good
News and Good Works by Ron Sider, Phil Olson & Heidi Rolland (Baker).
This is a call to wholistic mission and a wonderful, wonderful presentation
of the best examples of such outreach (mostly in the Philadelphia area).
It documents those churches doing the very best job of evangelism and
social outreach and describes principles nearly any church can apply.
Few churches really combine effective ministry in this wholistic way and
this book will help us bring immense credibility and integrity to our
God for the World–Church for the World: The Mission of the
Church in Today’s World by Shirley Guthrie (Witherspoon Press).
A great, six-session, interactive study guide prepared by the PC(USA),
discussing Reformed views of mission and evangelization.