Confession: I’m a book nerd. Big time. And I’ve read a lot of Christian books in my day. A lot. So I decided to make a list of the essentials. A simple curriculum of discipleship. Sure, there’s a lot of good books you could read, but these are the dozen or so great ones you should start with. At least, these are the ones I would start with to talk about the daily practice of discipleship with Jesus. Not the definitive list, but the starter kit. After the first two, there’s really no particular order of importance.
A little obvious? Maybe. But you shouldn’t be reading anything if you’re not reading this first.
The Divine Hours (three volumes) by Phyllis Tickle.
This follows the ancient Christian practice of fixed-hour prayer. It’s a structured way of praying the Psalms and reading Scripture.
Sermons of John Wesley
These 52 sermons were the standard for the first Methodist preachers and provide the basis of Methodist theology.
Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
The classic 15th century devotional.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Provides the classic “exercises” that make Christians into Christians.
Rule of St. Benedict
Standard of living for Benedictine monastic life.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Written to a group of seminary students who wanted to live in community in Germany before WWII.
Community and Growth by Jean Vanier.
Vanier founded the l’Arche communities around the world for the handicapped.
Celtic Way of Evangelism:How Christianity Can Reach the West… Again by George Hunter.
Tells of the story of how St. Patrick and others shared the Gospel to the Irish on the margins of the Roman Empire, and what means for evangelism today.
Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl
Proof that Christian hospitality is more than coffee and donuts and door-greeters.
Epic of Eden by Sandy Richter
Extremely helpful in organizing and synthesizing the the story of the Old Testament and just how Jesus fits in that context.
Challenge of Jesus by NT Wright.
Provides the historical context of Jesus, while also offering what that means to a postmodern world.