10 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Summer is often a slower season for many churches when leaders have a bit more time in their schedules, which makes it a great time to do some intentional reading. 

Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” 

It’s important as a leader to expose ourselves to authors and thinkers who will stretch and grow us. If you are a bit of a bookworm like me, you more than likely already have a long list of books you would like to someday get around to reading. However, I love hearing what other people are reading, especially other leaders I respect.

So just in case you need some help choosing a book to read this summer, I’ve compiled a list of 10 books I recommend. Some are fiction, non-fiction, self-help, spiritual growth, or leadership, but all of them I have read and highly recommend. 

1. Margins: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, MD

As leaders, we often overschedule, overbook, and overfill our calendars. We forget the importance and necessity of margin in our lives and schedules. This book causes you to evaluate how you spend your time and what is most important. It’s one I try to get around to reading at least every other year.

2. Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald

I read this book in college, and it was foundational for me in helping establish what is most important in my inner world. I try to reread it often to help me create an internal order. Such an impactful read.

3. Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg

Leaders, in general, unfortunately, do a lousy job of taking care of their own souls. We tend to work so hard at producing results that we forget the importance of caring for our souls. This book does a great job of reminding us of the “why” and “how” of soul care.

4. Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult 

This book is fiction but is a stirring story that pulls you in and causes you to look around, look inside, and evaluate the impacts of racism and the hidden places of your own heart. A very timely and poignant story for all leaders to read.

5. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron 

If you haven’t heard of the enneagram, then you really should read this book. The enneagram is a way to better understand yourself and those around you. Very interesting read filled with stories and examples that are both insightful and humorous.

6. I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends and One Wheelchair by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck

This is a fascinating true story of two lifelong friends who refuse to let the limitations of a debilitating disease steal their joy or zeal for life. It’s an amazing story of friendship and faith and also of spiritual awakening and growth. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The authors also wrote a very inspiring children’s book as well.

7. Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids by Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark

As leaders in the church, we would all agree that our youth are the future of the church. Powell and Clark do an incredible job of explaining where many of our young people stand and the struggles they face. This book is full of ideas and ways to pull youth back toward their faith and challenge them to dig in and grow. It was inspiring and convicting at the same time.

8. Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power by Levi Lusko

Levi Lusko and his wife suffered the sudden and unimaginable loss of their young daughter. This story chronicles not just this tragic event and the aftermath but the journey of faith they traveled as a result of their loss.

9. Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf

This is the true story of Katherine and Jay Wolf’s beautiful romance and the destruction that followed when Katherine suffered a massive brainstem stroke. Their painful journey of learning to cope as a couple, as parents to an infant during this time, and as Christ-followers is a faith invoking story. Their faith journey tremendously impacted mine.

10. Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors

Katie Majors moved to Uganda as a teenager fresh out of high school and fell in love with the country. This is her amazing story of starting Amazima Ministries and eventually adopting 13 young girls. She is faith-filled and inspiring, but this book is about more than the story of creating their family. It is about the intense faith struggle she went through during the process. She writes with tremendous passion and insight. A very inspiring read.

Take advantage of some extra time this summer to enjoy some great reading! 

Which one of these 10 interests you most? If you are an avid reader, what is your favorite book you have read in 2019 so far?

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