It has become our custom to ask our blog authors for the top books from their reading lists at the start of each new year. This year, as in years past, we received many great recommendations! Here is a selection of favorites (in no particular order), along with a few words on why our authors enjoyed them:

Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer (2015, The Kent State University Press / Black Squirrel Books)—“Glyer explores the relationships among that unique group of British authors located in and around Oxford, including Tolkien, Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. The story is a powerful study of the way that true friendship refines, molds, and shapes us into something better than we once were.”

Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace by John Mark Comer (2021, WaterBrook)—“‘The problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc on our souls.’ John Mark shares Jesus’s vision of a flourishing life by examining the three enemies of our soul (the devil, the flesh, and the world) and takes us on a journey to find that our deepest happiness is found in God alone.”

Diary of a Pastor’s Soul: The Holy Moments in a Life of Ministry by M. Craig Barnes (2020, Brazos Press)—“Craig Barnes shares the last year of a pastor’s ministry as he prepares for retirement. Over the course of a year, we walk with the pastor—meeting his family and parishioners, hearing his reflections and deepest desires, and his growing appreciation of the holy moments spiritual leaders experience in the day-to-day calling of ministry.

Christian School Educators Must Read Books New Year 2022

Flourishing Together: A Christian Vision for Students, Educators, and Schools by Lynn E. Swaner and Andy Wolfe (2021, Eerdmans)—“A Christian vision for education is one that equips young people to live the abundant life Christ promises, to be and make disciples. But how can Christian schools be places that actually promote this vision for flourishing? Building on the groundbreaking Flourishing Schools research, Lynn Swaner and Andy Wolfe vividly detail a practical model and framework for what makes a Christian school truly educate Christianly, in such a manner that it is itself an act of worship.”

Find Rest: A Women’s Devotional For Lasting Peace In A Busy Life by Shaunti Feldhahn (2018, iDisciple Publishing)—“This book has been a great reminder that Jesus wants me to come and give my burdens to Him. He in turn fills me with peace and joy overflowing.”

Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change by Tod Bolsinger (2020, IVP)—“Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains, explores adaptive leadership in contexts ranging from churches to nonprofit organizations. Bolsinger writes: ‘To temper describes the process of heating, holding, hammering, cooling, and reheating that adds stress to raw iron’ so it becomes strong enough for service. Especially during this challenging time, Bolsinger’s focus on developing reflection and relationships in a life of deliberate practice helps leaders to become both stronger and more flexible in seasons of change.”

Disability and the Church: A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion by Lamar Hardwick (2021, IVP)—“Hardwick brings together his experience leading a faith community and his experience as a pastor diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as an adult. He brings a huge amount of empathy and understanding to the different ways people of all abilities can experience faith journeys and be a part of our faith communities.”

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl R. Trueman (2020, Crossway)—“In this book, Carl Trueman, professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College, establishes the decades-long sexual revolution in the historical context of broader societal change to understand self-identity. It is a helpful read for any Christian seeking to understand underlying reasons for changing social mores and to engage with issues of identity.”

The Wonderful Works of God by Herman Bavinck (2020, Westminster Seminary Press)—“Over a hundred years after its original publication, this translation of Bavinck’s Magnalia Dei delightfully explains how the Christian faith is not merely a matter of doctrine, but a recognition that God’s works continue to bear fruit in the present.”

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland (2019, Basic Books)—“British historian of antiquity Tom Holland takes us on a whirlwind tour of the history of Christianity, from 500 B.C. to 2015. Although not a Christian, Holland reaches the conclusion that, as Westerners, we are far more Christian in how we view the world around us than Greco-Roman. A great encouragement of the consistent hand of God doing His work through His people throughout history.”

My Tech-Wise Life: Growing Up and Making Choices in a World of Devices by Andy and Amy Crouch (2020, Baker Books)—“Navigating technology in our family continues to be a challenge as a dad. Written by a father-daughter duo, this book provides concrete ideas on how to help put technology in its proper place in our lives.”

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1998, Tor Classics)—“A return to a classic for pure enjoyment—such amazing characters. I regularly find myself thinking while reading, ‘This is amazing writing.’ I guess that is why he is Dickens!”

Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope by Esau McCauley (2020, IVP Academic)—“He changed the way I thought about the Israelites as oppressed people through an insightful mix of theology and McCauley’s lived experience. Reading and hearing others’ perspectives on the scriptures enriches all of our understanding and faith.”

On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity by Daniel Bowman, Jr. (2021, Brazos Press)—“This is a creative and beautifully written book about living with autism and what that has meant for Bowman’s Christian faith. His poet’s voice is a joy to read, and he helps the reader to understand and experience a point of view that may be very different from our own—or in many ways, very similar.”

Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life by Jonathan M. Seidl (2021, Kregel Publications)—“Reading this book is like sitting across the table from a dear friend as Seidl openly and honestly shares his own mental health journey with humility, humor, and hope. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll walk away feeling seen, known, and encouraged. If you struggle with anxiety, or know and love someone who does, you must read this book.”

Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton (2012, IVP Books)—“In her book, Barton takes on one of the most common questions in faith-based circles today: What is God’s will? She gives leadership teams a practical guide for following the Spirit’s leading in making decisions—inviting us all into deeper community as we seek His will together.”

Leading Insights: Special Education and Inclusion edited by Lynn Swaner (2021, ACSI)—“Dr. Swaner brings together a mix of voices in Christian education to provide a holistic picture of the calling and possibility for Christian schools in serving students of all abilities. Filled with research, theology, and real-life examples, this book will inspire you to serve all students in your community, and to use the practical tools and ideas it provides.”

Peace Talks: The Good News of Jesus in a Donkey Elephant War by David Drum (2020, J17 Ministries)—“As the United States grows increasingly polarized, pastor David Drum offers a wise and thoughtful approach toward Christ-centered unity.”

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry and Richard Blackaby (2021, B&H Books)—“In the midst of busyness and divisions as we have never experienced before, this book has brought me back to foundational concepts of Christianity that keep me deeply rooted in Him. Being able to know and do God’s will first begins with us responding to His invitation, hearing His voice, and joining His work.”


About the Author

Becki Rust - ACSI AuthorBecki Rust is the Thought Leadership Project Coordinator at the Association of Christian Schools International, where she leads project management for a wide variety of innovative and timely initiatives, programs, and events. She also serves as editor for the ACSI Blog and the WLCE Blog. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York City.

Questions to Consider:

Have you read any of the books on this list? If so, what new learning did you take from them? If not, which book are you most looking forward to reading?


What books would you include on your own must-read list?

Interested in discussing this post?

Join the dialogue happening in the ACSI member community.

Sign In

Not a member?

Join the discussion with a guest account.

Sign Up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *