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Discipleship and Witness Team's Picks!


Discipleship and Evangelism Resources 

Discipleship: Comprehensive 

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich  Life Together 1954 Harper Collins 

-The Cost of Discipleship 1959 SCM Press 

You must read these!   Classics on what it means to be in discipleship and follow Jesus.  


Butler- Bass, Diana The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church  2004 Alban 

-Christianity for the Rest of Us 2009 Harper Collins 

These books help show how mainline faith communities are growing by embracing centrist faith and classic Christian practice 

-Practicing Our Faith:  A Way of Life for a Searching People, 2010 Jossey Bass.

Chapters on a variety of faith practices with a mainline Protestant perspective.

-Receiving the Day:  Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time.


Chan, Francis Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples 2012 David C Cook

The text of this book, videos and  lots of  free resources available at

Plain language, easy to understand, and practical help for helping a congregation engage in disciple making.  Heavy emphasis on being actively engaged in the Bible.  From a centrist Evangelical perspective. 


Foss, Michael  Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church  2000 Fortress 

-Real Faith for Real Life: Living the Six Marks of Discipleship 2004 Augsburg Fortress 

-From Members to Disciples: Leadership Lessons from the Book of Acts 2007 Abington

-The Disciples’ Joy 2007 Augsburg Fortress 

These books provide practical teaching for congregations to build a well-rounded life of discipleship for the community. 


Idleman, Kyle  Not a Fan:  Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, 2011 Zondervan.

Asks the tough question – Are you a fan or follower of Jesus?


Platt, David  Radical Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream 2010 Multnomah 

-Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God  2011 Multnomah 

A call to be active disciples in a culture that may not always value or respect it.   From a Conservative Evangelical Perspective


Discipleship: Practice 

Grieg, Pete & Dave Roberts Red Moon Rising; How 24-7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation 2003 Relevant Books 

a book about how intensive prayer can help people and communities engage their cultures.  From the interdenominational 24-7 prayer movement 


Foster, Richard J.  Celebration of Discipline:  The Path to Spiritual Growth, 1998 Harper Collins.

-Freedom of Simplicity:  Finding Harmony in a Complex World, 1981 Harper Collins.

-Streams of Living Water:  Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith, 1998 Harper Collins

Renovare website

Examines classic Christian practices, such as prayer, fasting and worship as ways we live out being followers of Jesus.


Heschel, Abraham Joshua.  The Sabbath, 1951 Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

Brilliant, classic exploration of Jewish theology of Sabbath.


+ Hicks, Douglas A.  Money Enough:  Everyday Practices for Living Faithfully in the Global Economy.


*Honeycutt, Frank G.  Sanctified Living:  More than Grace and Forgiveness, 2008 Augsburg Fortress.

Part of the Lutheran Voices series.  A Lutheran pastor takes on the difficult and contentious (for Lutherans) topic of sanctification – “growth in the Holy Spirit, actual progress and maturity in the Christian life.”


Huston, Paula.  Simplifying the Soul:  Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit. 2011 Ave Maria Press.

Daily meditations and practices to help simplify various aspects of life.


Keating, Thomas Manifesting God.  2005, Lantern 

One of many books on Centering Prayer by Father Thomas Keating,  who has worked ecumenically and interdenominationally  to lead and teach this very practical prayer method.


+Long, Thomas G.  Testimony:  Talking Ourselves into Being Christian


+ Miller-McLemore, Bonnie.  In the Midst of Chaos:  Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice.


+ Paulsell, Stephanie.  Honoring the Body:  Meditations on a Christian Practice


Peterson, Eugene The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction 1989 Eerdmans 

A great book about how prayer practice matters for church leaders. 


+ Saliers, Donald and Emily Saliers.  A Song to Sing, A Life to Live:  Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice.


Wangerin, Walter Jr.  Whole Prayer:  Speaking and Listening to God. 1998 Zondervan.

Accessible discussion of the basics of prayer.


+ Wolfteich, Claire E.  Lord, Have Mercy:  Praying for Justice with Conviction and Humility. -From the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, a project of Lilly Endowment based at Valparaiso University.


Discipleship: Bible 

Jacobson, Diane, Mark Allen Powell and Stanley N. Olson,  Opening the Book of Faith:  Lutheran Insights for Bible Study, 2008 Augsburg Fortress.

Basic primer on how Lutherans understand the Bible with some sample studies.


Jacobson, Rolf A., Karl N. Jacobson and Hans H. Wiersma, Crazy Book:  A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Biblical Terms, 2009 Augsburg Books.

Informative, fun and occasionally snarky descriptions of Biblical terms and people.


Lucado, Max and Randy Frazee, The Story:  The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People, 2011 Zondervan.

Selections from the Bible with summary transitions in 31 chapters, designed to avoid repetition and tedium.  Includes discussion questions.


Enter the Bible website ---Great resource from Luther Seminary with summaries, outlines, background information, issues, and themes for every book of the Bible.


The  Bible Gateway -A searchable site with over 100 bible translations- you can always have a bible around.  


Olive Tree Bible-  A Powerful Bible Application for IOS, Android and Windows that allows uses to search and download purchased and selected free content to any electronic device 


Mission and Evangelism

Campolo, Tony & Mary Albert Darling Connecting Like Jesus 2010 Jossey Bass 

contains a large section on sacred listening and storytelling. 


Frost, Michael & Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church 

A book about contextualization,  perhaps the source for all those churches and bible groups meeting in pubs around the world. 


*Fryer, Kelly A.  Reclaiming the “C” Word:  Daring to be Church Again. 2006 Augsburg Fortress.

From the Lutheran Voices series.  Thoughtful and challenging discussion of what it means to be church in a changing world.


Howard Merrit,  Carol Tribal Church Ministering to the Next Generation 2007 Alban 

How we can minister to the generations by engaging their culture  


Keller, Timothy J. Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City 2012 Zondervan 

A book about being clear about your congregation’s mission while being open to the community around you 


Niehbuhr Richard, Christ and Culture 1951 Harper and Row 

You must read this!  How Christian communities relate to their world, and how this can affect ministry and theology. - a blog on what marketing means for churches -  A great blog about church in the digital Age from a SEPA Synod pastor - Articles by Pastor Dave Knecht and other mission minded pastors of the NJ Synod. 


Our Lutheran Witness 

*Fryer, Kelly.  Reclaiming the “L” Word:  Renewing the Church from Its Lutheran Core, 2003 Augsburg Fortress.

From the Lutheran Voices series.  Clear, concise basics of Lutheran theology.


Jacobson, Rolf. A.  Crazy Talk:  A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2008 Augsburg Books.

Accessible and funny explanations of all those big words pastors throw around from “Absolution” to “YHWH.”


The Lutheran Handbook, 2005 Augsburg Fortress.

Practical and fun instruction on basic Lutheran church stuff.  Includes “How to Memorize a Bible Verse” and “How to Avoid Getting Burned at the Stake.”


Emergent Church Perspectives 

Bell, Rob. Love Wins:  A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person who Ever Lived. 2011 Harper One.

-Sex God:  Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality. 2007 Zondervan.

-What We Talk About When We Talk About God. 2013 Harper One.

-Velvet Elvis:  Repainting the Christian Faith, 2005 Zondervan.


Belcher, Jim Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional 2009 Intervarsity 

A prominent orthodox Calvinist pastor wrestles with the emergent church movement in a thoughtful way 


Chalke, Stephen A Matter of Integrity-The Church  Sexuality and Inclusion an Open Conversation -  2013 Amazon Digital Services 

- Restoring Confidence in the Bible: Can we use the Bible as a reliable moral and spiritual guide in our twenty-first century globalised world? 2014 Amazon Digital Services 

-The Lost Message of Jesus 2004 Zondervan 

A leading voice of the emergent church in the UK his latest two books are available as a pdf for free at


Claiborne, Shane  & Jim Wallis The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical 2008 Harper Collins 

Living an active faith in our contemporary culture 


Claiborne, Shane  &Tony Campolo Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?  2012 Harper Collins

Just what the title says 


*Frambach, Nathan Emerging Ministry: Being Church Today 2007 Augsburg Fortress

From Lutheran Voices- how the emergent church and Lutheranism intersect 


 McLaren Brian D. A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith 2010 Harper One 

How our Faith is being transformed in the postmodern era 

-A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, ... emergent, unfinished Christian 2006 Zondervan 


 Sarcastic Lutheran Blog - Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber

a diverse blog about living out a Jesus centered Faith from Tony Campollo, Shane Claiborne  and others. 



*Bennethum, D. Michael,  Listen! God is Calling!:  Luther Speaks of Vocation, Faith and Work 2003 Augsburg Fortress.

From the Lutheran Voices series.  A concise discussion of Lutheran understanding of vocation with practical suggestions for supporting faith in daily life.


*Daubert, Dave and Tana Kjos.  Reclaiming the “V” Word:  Renewing Life at Its Vocational Core, 2009, Augsburg Fortress.

From the Lutheran Voices series.  Practical ways to explore your individual sense of vocation in a Lutheran context.


Peterson Eugene, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity 1987 Eerdmans

A classic book about how the vocation of the pastor and the call of discipleship come together 



*Lutheran Voices – 

Great series of short books (less than 100 pages) with short chapters, including questions for discussion and reflection, with scripture readings and prayers.  Great for small group study or Council devotions.

+ The Practices of Faith Series

This series was developed by the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, a project of Lilly Endowment based at Valparaiso University.  Both books and website explore twelve time-honored practice s shaped by the Christian community over the centuries and still richly relevant to contemporary experience.  These Christian practices are shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, when woven together, form a way of life that is faithful and has integrity.

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