The Bible is the most important book ever written. Nothing else is in the same category. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read other books. We should. We must. It’s about accountability as well as being open to what God is doing in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ in other contexts. Reading a book or an article is no different than listening to a sermon — it may or may not be accurate, but it’s simply one Christian sharing with another Christian what God is teaching them. Everything needs to be tested by the Word of God, but we need to read. Here are some articles and books we recommend:
From Disciple to Doctor (BILD International). This brochure will give you a good introduction to BILD International, with whom we are partnering on the national and global levels. Available for free on-line.
The BILD International Paradigm Papers, written by Jeff Reed. These are not light reading, but they will give you an excellent foundation for understanding the changes in our world and the opportunities before us. If you are training for ministry, you owe it to yourself to read these papers. Available for free on-line.
- Church-Based Theological Education: Creating a New Paradigm
- Church-Based Missions: Creating a New Paradigm
- Church-Based Education: Creating a New Paradigm, Part 1: Childhood and Adolescence
- Church-Based Education: Creating a New Paradigm, Part 2: Adulthood
- Church-Based Theology: Creating a New Paradigm
- Church-Based Hermeneutics: Creating a New Paradigm
- Church-Based Ministry Training Which is Truly Church-Based
The BILD International Encyclicals, written by Jeff Reed. These explain in some detail why we have embraced the vision of developing a 21st-century expression of the 1st-century methods and forms. If you are training for ministry, you owe it to yourself to read these papers. Available for free on-line.
- From Jesus to the Gospels
- The Churches of the First Century
- Women and the Spontaneous Expansion of the Early Church
- Kerygmatic Communities: Evangelism and the Early Church
- Funding Spontaneous Expansion: Four Critical Success Factors of the Complex Networks of the Early Churches
- Shepherding, Counseling and Sustainability: The Importance of a Well-Trained Eldership
Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? by Roland Allen. This study of Paul’s missionary work focuses not on the apostle’s doctrine or character but on the method by which he accomplished his task. Throughout, Allen compares Paul’s methods to modern missionary methods; he concludes by suggesting some ways the apostolic method might be usefully employed today. Available for free on-line.
The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church: And the Causes that Hinder It by Roland Allen. In all his writings, Allen’s overriding concern was to show that missionary method, far from being a secondary or indifferent matter, is a matter of supreme importance.
Going to Church in the First Century by Robert Banks. A simple story about a man who visits a first-century church. Written by a true scholar who knows what it was like to go to church in the first century.
Making Room: Rediscovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl. This book will give you a good definition of and a good handle on the importance of Christian hospitality—a truly neglected practice in many of our churches.
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your twenty-first-century life.
Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond by David J. Hesselgrave. A practical book about how the Apostle Paul did missions. Anyone who cares about reaching people for Christ ought to take the time to read this book.
Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices by Frank Viola and George Barna. You probably won’t agree with all the conclusions the writers come to, but you really need to read this book to understand why we do what we do in our traditional churches today.
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham. Argues that the four Gospels are closely based on eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus. New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as “anonymous community traditions”. He shows they were transmitted in the name of the original eyewitnesses. Strongly supports the reliability of the gospels.