My Top 5 Books of 2018

Some of these books are not new books or they came out late in 2017, but in any case, here are five that I would recommend to you if you are looking for some good reads.

The New Copernicans by John Seel. Jr.

This is probably my personal favorite book of the year. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up, as there are a ton of resources out there about the state of the church and how to connect with millennials. Uniquely, Seel does a great job speaking to the strengths of the millennials and then uses those to explore the best ways to reach them, involve them in the church, and, wait for it…..learn from them on how to be the church. One of the things I loved about this book is how Seel makes accessible the 3 Definitions of “Secular” that Charles Taylor would write about, and how modern secularism is actually deeply spiritual. He thoughtfully dismantles the caricatures that exist surrounding millennials; he speaks graciously to the weakness and pervasive longing of young people; and he charts a way forward for churches who truly want to connect with millennials. In my opinion, chapter 12 titled “Haunted Doubters” is worth the full price ($11.00) of the book.

Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community by James C. Wilhoit.

This book is a bit older (2008) but I read it this year and it profoundly challenged the way I think about, teach on, and participate in spiritual formation at our church. In our culture, discipleship has often been reduced to going to coffee once a week and discussing doctrine or the latest book by a mega-church pastor. Wilhoit brings depth and thought into the picture that is nearly prophetic in speaking to our culture moment today. Every person who is passionate about discipleship, spiritual formation, or mentoring should read this.

The Apostles’ Creed by Ben Myers.

There has been a lot talk in the last couple of years around the ancient creeds of Christianity. I am about to take our church through The Apostles’ Creed as sort of a “What We Believe…” series. This book has been a great source for making the high theology accessible. In this little book, Myers brings both simplicity and theological depth as he unpacks the foundational creed. This book would make for an excellent devotional or group study. If you are looking for a more in-depth reading on the Apostles’ Creed, see Michael F. Bird’s What Christians Ought to Believe.

Immeasurable by Skye Jethani.

I had the privilege of being on the launch team for this book and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In many ways, the Church has become too institutionalized and inwardly focused. It is often the case that churches are consumed with their own individual mission and vision, which becomes the way they measure the overall health of their churches instead of allowing Scripture to form and inform the true health their church. Skye would refer to this (along with some other helpful descriptors) as Church, Inc.With humility, grace, and truth, Skye does a great job of offering some helpful ways forward in reorienting our focus and rediscovering our roots in the Church. I have served in churches that would reflect Church, Inc. and Immeasurable is a timely and prophetic book that I believe will start a new conversation about the health and direction of the church.

The Book of Amazing Stories by Robert Petterson.

When I am teaching, I love to use stories. Good stories grip our hearts, make us think, and recapture our imagination. This year, many of the stories I used during my teachings came from this little book. It is a daily devotional book that tells a story, connects its wisdom to everyday life, and provides a single verse or passage for personal reflection. I am typically not a fan of daily devotionals, but one that is based on the stories of others throughout history made for a really intriguing read. Granted, there are a few “fluff” stories in this book, but Petterson writes in a way that creates an anticipation and excitement as you read these short stories. You never know who the story is about until about halfway through and then you say to yourself, “Oh! That’s him (or her)!!!?”

These runners are excellent as well. Just wanted to keep this on the shorter side.

Runners up: How to Think by Alan Jacobs, Subversive Sabbath by A.J. Swaboda, Prayer by Ron Rolheiser.



Husband to Christie. Father to Cove and Maggie. Teaching Pastor for The Table. Commenting on theology, culture, biblical studies, the Church, and life.

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Cody Whittington

Husband to Christie. Father to Cove and Maggie. Teaching Pastor for The Table. Commenting on theology, culture, biblical studies, the Church, and life.