Have you ever wondered what the most influential books your pastors have read and why?  Then follow this blog series as the elders of Rock Hill share with you the 3 most influential books they have read outside of the bible.

This is Pastor Kyle’s list.

1. The Pleasures of God by John Piper

This book absolutely wrecked me with how little I knew about the God I claimed to worship.  The premise of the book is taken from a phrase of Henry Scougal’s book, The Life of God is the Soul of man (see Luke Olson’s summary of this) which says, “the worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of it’s love.”  His premise then is simply, “what does God love or take pleasure in above all else?

The answer shocks many of us: himself.  God’s ultimate delight is in himself, and that truly is the best possible news for us.  Want to know why that it good news?  Pick up this book and be prepared to be blown away by the beauty, majesty, happiness, and pleasure of God.  To this day, I don’t think there is a book that has impacted me as much as this one.

2. Center Church by Timothy Keller

I’ll be completely honest.  I pretty much love everything that Tim Keller writes, so I just picked my favorite.  He is a brilliant servant of our Lord.  He has also done the church a great service by waiting until later in life to write books.  So, he has not only a lifetime of learning to draw from, but also a lifetime of ministry and wisdom from which to draw.  Center Church is probably his magnum opus.  He reflects on his years of study and pastoral ministry and puts together an incredible resource of practical theology for those who care deeply for both theological convictions and practical contextualization.  I think this will become a must read for every pastor and pastor in training for years to come.  He forces you to think deeply on every area of ministry by showing how every area of ministry stems from our understanding of the gospel.  He writes with such balance, refusing to make ministry a simple act of “just do this.” (because it never is).  I wish that this book had been out 10 years earlier.

3. The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

This book, though short, opened up my eyes to the joy of giving.  It showed me so clearly the connection that exists between my heart and how I spend my money.  In a profound way, I learned that I needed to put my money where my mouth is.  This truth isn’t a drudgery to submit to, but rather the pursuit of greater joy.  When I understand what the bible has to say about money and possessions, I would be stupid to not be generous.  The reason I like this book so much, is that he winsomely helped me to see that I was missing out on such greater joy.  I love what he has to say in his larger book, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, but the brevity, accessibility, and tone of this book, is something everyone can grasp.

Honorable Mention

Death by Love by Mark Driscoll

This book opened my eyes to the multi-faceted application of the cross of Jesus in counseling real people.  The heart wrenching stories of the real people in his letters make the truth and beauty of the cross land emotionally.  This book also filled me with a tender boldness that should characterize all pastors.

Total Church by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester

This book opened my eyes up to what the church is, and how the church should function.  If you want to know the philosophy of ministry that Porterbrook is based upon, this book is the cliff notes.

The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman

This book is super practical and an easy read.  But the line that pays for the book many times over is these lines about the heart of a leader: “There is a cost to leadership.  It costs you yourself.  Someone always pays for leadership.  Either the leader takes on the cost himself (or herself) or those in their care will pay it.”  I try to read this short book about once a year, and everytime I go to it, I am challenged.