15 Summer Reads to Renew, Inspire, and Entertain
By: Kyle Smith July 16, 2018
Every summer when I was young, my family would pile into our van and head to the beach. It was the highlight of the summer, an opportunity to step away from the normal day-to-day and spend time with family, and inevitably, a good book or two.
It’s the heart of summer, and even if you’ve already taken a trip to the beach, it’s still a perfect time to dive into a new book. We asked our ministry partners and friends to suggest some great summer reads. So whether you’re an avid reader or just looking for a book to pack for the pool or the beach, these summer reads are sure to renew, inspire, and entertain you:
1. Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that beyond education or training, success is largely due to a characteristic made of a blend of passion and perseverance called “grit.” It’s an inspiring read for anyone in ministry working to help others fulfill their God-given potential.
2. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
Why do certain teams operate more efficiently than others? What qualities of great leaders inspire those under them to work to their full potential? Simon Sinek explores the characteristics of great leaders in this book perfect for any aspiring leader.
3. Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age by David Platt
It’s not easy to live as a Christian in a cultural climate rife with controversy and disagreement. More than ever, Christians are on the front lines. David Platt tackles how to have difficult conversations on a range of controversial topics. It’s an inspirational read for any Christian desiring to passionately follow Christ in today’s world.
4. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr
Teacher Richard Rohr delves into the mystery of the Trinity, the central, foundational doctrine of Christianity. What’s behind this mystery? Any teacher or theologian interested in Church history and the transformative power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will love this read.
5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
So much of life is about building good habits. Charles Duhigg looks into why habits exist and how they can be changed, using examples from businesses and teams from past and present. If you’re on a quest to make better use of your time and talents and build positive new habits, this is a great place to start.
6. Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas
Eric Metaxas explores the life of Martin Luther, one of history’s great theologians. Who was the man behind the ideas that sparked the Reformation? It’s an inspiring story of conviction and the pursuit of truth, perfect for anyone in ministry or desiring to learn more about Church history.
7. Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard
Following Christ involves a radical transformation of the heart, aligning our actions and our desire to live in accordance with His will. Dallas Willard writes about God’s grace and what it takes to find harmony in our hearts. For anyone seeking a deeper relationship with Christ in all aspects of life, this is an excellent read.
8. A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller
How you do endure the pain of rejection or loss? How can we cultivate authentic, loving relationships even when others seem unlovable? Paul Miller writes about how to persevere and live a loving life in a broken world. It’s an inspiring read for any seeking to authentically love and find meaningful relationships.
9. How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
All growth is spiritual growth. Drs. Cloud and Townsend delve into theological principles behind personal growth and how to balance personal growth and helping others. It’s a great read for anyone in ministry whose focus is on helping others grow.
10. Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community by Tim Chester and Steven Timmis
Church is not an event or a place, argue pastors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. Rather, it’s an identity that shapes and radically transforms individuals. If you’re looking for ways to more closely align your life with your values and your faith, this book will help you more fully live the Word.
11. Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace by William Vanderbloemen
What could your company accomplish if it could attract and retain employees who buy into your organization’s mission 100%? William Vanderbloemen explores how to build a contagious organization culture to help drive sustainable growth and innovation. A compelling read for any organizational or team leader, regardless of size.
12. Marked By Love: It’s The Only Thing That Matters by Tim Stevens
If you’ve ever been discouraged by Christianity — whether you’ve been a lifelong churchgoer or someone who left religion a long time ago — Tim Stevens’ book will change your life. This book isn’t out yet, but preorder it today and enjoy with a cup of coffee come fall!
13. Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter by Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran
In this inspirational story of renewal and the journey to bring a struggling Catholic parish back to life, Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran share the decisions they made that refocused their mission and lead to a parish revival. This is a must-read for any leader considering an organization change or for ideas to renew a church or ministry.
14. Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe
The heart of the spiritual life is the realization of true happiness founded in the virtues of faith, hope, and love, argues Jacques Philippe. For anyone struggling to find inner peace amidst hardship, anxiety, and day-to-day struggles, this book will soothe the soul.
15. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir of his time in the Nazi death camps suggests that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. It’s a story of how one can find meaning in life despite pain, suffering, and anxiety. It’s an inspiring read for anyone, but also a great resource for those on the front lines of ministry helping those who are searching for meaning in life.
Next time you venture to the beach, the pool, or the park this summer, make sure one of these books gets into your bag!
What other summer reads would you suggest?