What I Read in 2019

I know that I’m a couple weeks late to the party with my list of what I read in 2019, but my reading list from this past year is below.  Before that, however, couple of notes.

First, you’ll see that there are many churchworld books included in this list, be they instructional-type books or commentaries. This is one benefit of my work in vocational ministry: I get to read deeply and widely on theological and scriptural topics.

Second, one of my goals for 2019 was to read more fiction, so I categorized those reading separately. In recent years, I had found myself reading only a couple works of fiction a year, so my 2019 reading in this area stands as a significant improvement, one that I hope to continue in 2020.

Third, note a couple of special categories: books followed by a [re-read] designation are books that I’d read before but re-read for whatever reason. Additionally, books followed by an * (and also hyperlinked) are what I view as the best-of-the-best, reading that really stood out. I won’t choose a “top book” or anything like that, but if I did, I would come from these selections.

Finally, as a big proponent of holding oneself accountable for goals, I note that I aimed to read 150 books in 2019. This list contains 165. And so, without further ado, what I read in 2019 (presented in chronological order by category):


  • Life Together, Bonhoeffer*
  • The Case for Christmas, Strobel
  • 7 Practices for Effective Ministry, Stanley, Joiner, Jones
  • Multisite Church Pitfalls, D’Angelo and Stigile
  • The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Butterfield*
  • More than Multisite, ed. Barna Group
  • Growing God’s Church, McIntosh
  • Theology and the Kingdom of God, Pannenberg
  • Pipeline: Creating and Curating a Recruiting Culture, ed. Lifeway
  • Irresistible, Stanley
  • Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow, Stetzer and Im
  • Vertical Church, MacDonald
  • A Dairy of Private Prayer, Baillie [re-read]
  • Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids, Williamson
  • Multichurch: Exploring the Future of Multisite, House and Allison
  • Romans for Everyone, Wright
  • The Epistle to the Romans, Barrett
  • Romans 8-16 For You, Keller
  • The Message of Romans, Stott
  • Romans (BECNT), Schreiner
  • Multi-Site Churches, McConnell
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Ratey
  • Deepest Differences: A Christian-Atheist Dialogue, Sire and Peraino
  • Evangelicals and Catholics together at Twenty, ed. George and Guarino
  • The Seven Faith Tribes, Barna
  • Introducing the Apocrypha, deSilva
  • Hinduism, Richard
  • Aqua Church 2.0, Sweet
  • How to Increase Giving in Your Church, Barna
  • Center Church, Keller
  • Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch, Searcy and Thomas
  • How Do I Know If I’m Really Saved?, Ortberg
  • Analyzing the Distribution of Organizational Responsibilities among Pastoral Staff Developing Shared Leadership Structures, Neese
  • The Shaping of Things to Come, Frost and Hirsch
  • Jesus Never Said to Plant Churches, Jordan
  • Talk Like TED, Gallo
  • Enemies of the Heart, Stanley*
  • God Dreams, Mancini and Bird
  • The Family You’ve Always Wanted, Chapman
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat
  • Church Unique, Mancini
  • The Road Back to You: Study Guide, Cron and Stabile
  • Fathered by God, Eldredge
  • Kids Ministry that Nourishes, Magruder
  • Rethink Communication, Bowdle
  • Marriage Counseling, Worthington
  • Jesus: Experiencing His Touch (Mark 1-6), Arthur and Arthur
  • Jesus: Listening for His Voice (Mark 7-13), Arthur and Arthur
  • Jesus: Understanding His Death and Resurrection (Mark 14-16), Arthur and Arthur
  • The Triumph of Faith, Stark
  • The Creed: What You Believe and Why, Bauman*
  • Becoming a Welcoming Church, Rainer
  • Mere Christianity, Lewis [re-read]
  • 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, Cartmell
  • Pilgrim Theology, Bauman [re-read]
  • Visioneering, Stanley*
  • Paul, Women, and Wives, Keener
  • Gospel Fluency, Vanderstelt
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman
  • Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture, Stanley and Willits
  • An Introduction to New Testament Christology, Brown [re-read]
  • Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life, ed. Bobo
  • The Magnificent Obsession, Lotz
  • Conscience and Its Enemies, George
  • Two Views on Women in Ministry (Rev. Ed.), Beck
  • Female Eldership: The Contemporary Debate Over 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and What It Means for One Local Church, Herndon
  • The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, McKnight [re-read]
  • Discipleship with Monday in Mind, Jethani and Bobo
  • Living by the Book, Hendricks and Hendricks
  • Designed to Lead, Geiger and Peck
  • Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Tripp
  • On Gender and the Soul: An Exploration of Sex/Gender and its Relation to the Soul According to the Church Fathers, Cabe
  • God’s Plan…My Part, Calvert
  • Gathering Place: Empowering Your Community through Urban Church Education, Love
  • I Can Do That! 100+ Ways to Be on Mission, Butler
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Payne
  • Planting Churches Cross-Culturally, Hesselgrave
  • God’s Heart, God’s Hands: Reaching Out to Hurting Women, George
  • Jesus, Entrepreneur, Jones
  • The Complete Handbook for Recovery Ministry in the Church, Morris
  • 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, Sjogren
  • New City Catechism Devotional, Keller
  • The Gospel Driven Church, Wilson*
  • The New Copernicans: Millennials and the Survival of the Church, Seel
  • David and Goliath, Gladwell
  • The Porn Circuit, Covenant Eyes
  • unChristian, Kinnaman and Lyons
  • The Tipping Point, Gladwell
  • Interpretation and Application: The Preacher’s Toolbox, Larson
  • James: Revised Edition (TNTC), Moo
  • Hebrews and James (Holman NT Commentary), Lea
  • Salvation by Allegiance Alone, Bates*
  • Leading Change, Kotter
  • Sermon Preparation: The Preacher’s Toolbox, ed. Larson
  • Inspirational Preaching: The Preacher’s Toolbox, ed. Larson
  • Prophetic Preaching: The Preacher’s Toolbox, ed. Larson
  • Be Our Guest, Disney Institute
  • A Couple’s Guide to a Growing Marriage, Chapman
  • Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Keller
  • Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away, Chapman
  • As We Forgive Those, Finck [re-read]
  • The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, Maxwell
  • The Love List, Parrott and Parrott
  • Psalms for Healing, Person [re-read]
  • Galatians: Freedom through God’s Grace, Long
  • Discipleshift, Putman, Harrington, Coleman
  • On Christian Doctrine, Augustine [re-read]
  • Your Mind Matters, Stott [re-read]
  • Long Walk Home, Bauman
  • Foolproof Presentations, Walker
  • The Five Marks of a Man, Tome
  • I Hate Presentations, Caplin
  • Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Gallo
  • The Truth about God, Hauerwas and Willimon
  • The Exceptional Presenter, Koegel
  • On Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross
  • Crucial Conversations, Patterson et al
  • The Power of God’s Names, Evans
  • Go: Returning Discipleship to the Front Lines of Faith, Sprinkle
  • The Imperfect Disciple, Wilson
  • Apostles’ Creed, McGrath
  • Natural Church Development, Schwarz
  • Praise of Folly, Erasmus
  • Letters to the Church, Chan*
  • Letters to the Church Study Guide, Chan
  • How People Grow, Cloud and Townsend
  • Becoming a Person of Influence, Maxwell
  • Becoming a Great Church Board, ed. Christianity Today
  • Luke: NIV Application Commentary, Bock
  • The Grand Design, Hawking
  • Luke: New American Commentary, Stein
  • A Guide to Christian Ambition, Hewitt [re-read]
  • Luke for Everyone, Wright
  • The Bible Made Impossible (Second Edition), Smith*
  • Thinking for a Change, Maxwell
  • Midnight in Chernobyl, Higginbotham
  • Listening to Your Life, Buechner
  • Dare to Lead, Brown*
  • Networking Kills: Success through Serving, Maxwell
  • When God Goes to Starbucks, Copan
  • Be a People Person, Maxwell
  • In the Name of Jesus, Nouwen*
  • The Only Plane in the Sky, Graff


  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee
  • House, Peretti and Dekker
  • Monster, Peretti [re-read]
  • Ready Player One, Cline
  • Armada, Cline
  • Memory Man, Baldacci
  • The Martian, Weir
  • Starship Troopers, Heinlein
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams
  • The Last Mile, Baldacci
  • Artemis, Weir
  • I, Robot, Asimov
  • Ender’s Game, Card
  • Sphere, Crichton
  • The 100, Morgan
  • The Andromeda Strain, Crichton
  • Day 21, Morgan
  • Song of Fire and Ice: A Game of Thrones, Martin
  • The Zombie Survival Guide, Brooks
  • Catch-22, Heller
  • The Things They Carried, O’Brien
  • Thrawn, Zahn

What did you read in 2019? What were some of your favorite books? Is there anything that *has* to be on my list for 2020?


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

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