Here are the three best spiritual formation books I read in 2017. All of them heartily recommended to help you in following Jesus more closely in 2018.
This is the latest book from Pete Greig that charts the continued growth of the 24-7 Prayer movement, and acts as a form of sequel to God on Mute. That book detailed Pete’s struggles with unanswered prayer, and what to do when God seems distant or silent. This by book contrast updates the 24-7 narrative with more stories of answered prayers and the miraculous instances where God has clearly stepped in. Really good as an inspirational reminder that God is still in the business of answering prayers, and that so often we don’t have because we don’t ask (James 4:2).
Very challenging, and like Marmite when I read the reviews of it on Good Reads; few books seem to have polarised the Christian community like this one. If you can get through it, Frank Viola deconstructs many of the practices of 21st century Christianity, claiming that the concepts of church buildings, a professional clergy, and even Sunday sermons and altar calls are all unbiblical techniques, many picked up from Greco-Roman culture. I don’t agree with all of it, but I do have sympathy with much of it. And we should always be challenging our church practice to ask why we do what we do, and whether it corresponds with God’s plan for the church in scripture or not.
This last book is written by a friend, James Poch, from his experiences of leading a church plant in east London. He started the Regen community with his wife over a decade ago, and this is the story plus the lessons they’ve learned in reaching out to and especially discipling unchurched young people into mature followers of Jesus. Reams of wisdom and practical advice, especially about the importance of one to one conversations in helping people develop a real faith.
So those are the three best spiritual formation books I read in 2017, that have inspired and helped me in following Jesus and drawing closer to God. What are yours?
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.