Reading Guides

Important Discipleship and Formation Books – A Reading Guide – Fall 2020

Discipleship and Formation Books

It’s back-to-school time, and despite all the chaos this year imposed on us by the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s a good time to remember that as disciples of Jesus our schooling never ends.

We are always learning and being formed by our choices and by circumstances thrust upon us. Regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, what are the practices that help keep us focused on the compassionate and just way of Jesus? These 40 recent books on discipleship and formation (published within the last three years or so) help us to wrestle with this question that lies at the heart of our Christian identity. Not all of these books will be relevant to every reader, but hopefully you will find one or two good books here to read or re-read as you (and the sisters and brothers of your church) press deeper in the coming year into the abundant life of Christ.

[ TOP 10 – Part 1 ]   [ Top 10 – Part 2 ] [ Slowing Down ]  [ Prayer ] [ Formed Together in Church ] [ Renewing Our Minds ] [ Other Practices ] [ Staying Focused ]

Page 3: Slowing Down

(In Alphabetical Order by Author’s Last Name)

Discipleship and Formation Books

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World

John Mark Comer

Too often we treat the symptoms of toxicity in our modern world instead of trying to pinpoint the cause. A growing number of voices are pointing at hurry, or busyness, as a root of much evil. Within the pages of this book, you’ll find a fascinating roadmap to staying emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world.

Discipleship and Formation Books

Forbearance: A Theological Ethic for a Disagreeable Church

James Calvin Davis

In this book James Calvin Davis reclaims the biblical concept of forbearance to develop a theological ethic for faithful disagreement. Pointing to Ephesians and Colossians, in which Paul challenged his readers to “bear with each other” in spite of differences, Davis draws out a theologically grounded practice in which Christians work hard to maintain unity while still taking seriously matters on which they disagree.

Discipleship and Formation Books

Sacred Endurance: Finding Grace and Strength for a Lasting Faith

Trillia Newbell

While life may be full of challenges, we have a true and real hope in Jesus, who provides us with what we need to endure through pain and doubt. Newbell shares theological insights and practical disciplines to train us for faithful, godly living over the long haul. The race is hard, but you are not running it alone. Find strength and courage here to endure and finish well.


A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society

Eugene Peterson

It’s a bit of a cheat to include this classic on our list of recent books, but since it was released last year in a new commemorative edition, it is well-worth including here. As a society, we are still obsessed with the immediate; new technologies have only intensified our quest for the quick fix. But Peterson’s time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same―a long obedience in the same direction. Following Jesus in this way requires a deepening life of prayer, and throughout history Christians have learned to pray from the Psalms.


Discipleship and Formation Books

Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World

A.J. Swoboda

This book pioneers a creative path to an alternative way of existing. Combining creative storytelling, pastoral sensitivity, practical insight, and relevant academic research, Subversive Sabbath offers a unique invitation to personal Sabbath-keeping that leads to fuller and more joyful lives. A. J. Swoboda demonstrates that Sabbath is both a spiritual discipline and a form of social justice, connects Sabbath-keeping to local communities, and explains how God may actually do more when we do less. 


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