Pastor Zack’s Top 10 Books Every Christian Should Read

In the “10 Books” series, our pastors share reading recommendations for every Christian’s bookshelf.


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Zack Thurman

Youth Pastor


Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr

One resounding call throughout God’s Word is to care for the least of these. James reiterates this call when he describes true religion as taking care of widows and orphans and keeping oneself unstained by the world. Johnny Carr hits upon the believer’s responsibility to the orphan in the world. He addresses adoption, but also elaborates upon the myriad of other ways that the church can care of the orphan in America and the rest of the world. His book is easy to read and conversational. It doesn’t just describe the problem, but each chapter offers practical, specific ways that an individual or a group or an entire church can be involved in the issues facing the fatherless in the world. It is by and far the BEST book available on orphan care for the believer.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

Piper’s brief book addressing the Christian life is one of his easier reads. Oftentimes, we find ourselves sidetracked or derailed by the American dream or the American, secular view of life. Piper draws the Christian back to the our true purpose, glorifying God in all that we do, in his book. This is a book for the young and the old, the just started working or nearing retirement. It causes the reader to ask the tough questions of what am I doing with my life? Am I using it to the best of my ability for the glory of God.

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

Piper’s profound book on marriage is the number one book I recommend to young couples on the cusp of marriage. Though Piper is a heady writer, this book is a quick read as he draws you into the truth about Christ and the institution of marriage. As our country is embittered in an ugly culture war over what marriage is and who should or should not get married, this book stands as a true explanation of God’s view of marriage and the great importance of maintaining, fighting for, and continuing marriage as God intended. It is a book for the single person, the newly married, the engaged, or those who’ve been married for decades.

 Radical by David Platt

Many Americans, believing or un-believing are snared in the pursuit of the American Dream. Platt addresses Americans’ establishment of this concept and our pursuit of it. He demonstrates how this secular view and idea has permeated the church, causing believers to greatly ignore the poor throughout the world and the Gospel. Platt uses personal experience, giving voice to his own struggles and the ways in which the Holy Spirit revealed his apathy towards those suffering to him. Platt’s book is a call to every believer to fully evaluate his or her own life for excess and to make the changes necessary to not only meet the basic needs of those less fortunate, but to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

 Adopted for Life by Dr. Russell Moore

Adoption is one critical and prevalent method of answering Jesus’ call to care for the orphan. Dr. Moore presents a scriptural picture of adoption and explicitly details the Christians responsibility to adopt if called on by God. By narrating the story of his and his wife’s adoption of two of their sons, he creates a practical view of adoption and the reasons for doing so. Adopted for Life is a profound book that is a great tool to help those thinking about or contemplating adoption.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is by far one of the greatest writers, Christian or secular to live in this world. His works address Christian issues in a practical, blunt, deeply theological way. His book The Screwtape Letters is a profound and eye-opening look at the spiritual world of Christianity. God’s Word presents the believer with the tools necessary to overcome the temptations set before us by Lucifer and his demons, but C.S. Lewis touches upon the main issues that keep Christians enslaved to satan and his demons—our failure to recognize them. Lewis’ book is a series of letters written from an older, “wiser” demon to a younger demon. Through this reverse psychology of sorts, the reader can emerge with a sense of the activity of satan and his demons and the need to be ready and deeply immersed in the Word.

Follow Me by David Platt

In Platt’s third book he addresses the idea of what it truly looks like to follow Jesus. He calls into question the traditional practices of “leading someone to the Lord” and examines what a life looks like that is totally surrendered to the Lord. This book, like his others, is a call to action. It is a call to examine our own lives for false religion or practices that glorify ourselves rather than glorifying the Father. It is a great look at what it takes to be a follower of Jesus and how one can be sure that he/she is truly a follower of Jesus.

Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Many books discuss marriage and the roles of men and women, but few leave the reader with practical steps to take to achieve the desired outcome. Dr. Eggerichs’ book presents practical steps that will lead a husband and wife towards a God -glorifying marriage. This book is divided into sections geared specifically for the wife and sections geared specifically for the husband. It is presented in practical language that allows readers to easily apply the concepts to his or her life. It does not paint of picture of marriage as an easy experience, but gives the reader the necessary steps to move toward a marriage that is more enjoyable and desirable and one that truly glorifies the Lord.

Generous Justice by Tim Keller

Mercy ministry is a ministry not easily undertaken. It is also one that is overlooked by the American church. Tim Keller uses scripture and his own experience to demonstrate the Christian’s calling to mercy ministry. Through stories of his own church’s development of mercy ministry, Keller outlines ways for the church to meet the needs of those less fortunate and to bring them into the fold. His book outlines his own methods and describes the many obstacles that a church may or many not face. He also addresses the attitudes and beliefs held my many people which in turn are really just prejudices that need to be snuffed out.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft

Oftentimes the perseverance of leaders today is short lived. Dave Kraft addresses many of the issues that leaders face and endure today and also offers real solutions to those issues. This book is one to read every year as a reminder of the necessity to persevere in this fight. Dave Kraft draws upon three decades of ministry to offer insights and practical ways to stay the course and continue the fight. Kraft who is in his seventies is still persevering and ministering today. His words encourage others to do the same.