Sure-fire? Absolutely. This article is not an exhaustive list but a healthy stock of books and resources to positively shape your view of following Jesus and his command to make disciples. You may not be interested in every book, but find one that piques your interest—or check out one of the podcasts—and learn more about what a disciple of Jesus is and how Jesus wants us to live. Enjoy these sure-fire resources to change the way you grow your faith.
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Adsit, Christopher. Personal Disciplemaking: A Step-by-step Guide for Leading a Christian from New Birth to Maturity. Orlando, FL: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1996.
Why I like this: Practical instruction on how to make disciples; 12 thorough lesson plans; measurable training objectives (one of the most helpful sections of any disciple-making resource I’ve seen!)
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Discipleship. Translated by Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss. Vol. 4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003. (Also published as The Cost of Discipleship)
Why I like this: A classic book on living as a disciple of Jesus. Bonhoeffer is one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century, Bonhoeffer distinguishes between “cheap” grace and “costly” grace and prioritizes disciple-making in the life of every believer.
Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2006.
Why I like this: A classic book on the subject, Coleman focuses on the life of Jesus, how he made disciples, and how we can do the same.
Farah, Gregg. 52 Ways to Grow Your Faith: Connect With God in a Noisy, Busy World. Franklin, TN: Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2012.
Why I like this: Yes, this is my book. It’s a terrific resource to give you the jump-start, road map, or energy to strengthen your faith. Learn to connect with God in a busy, noisy world with 52 easy-to-try-and-apply ideas.
Farah, Gregg. 52 Reasons to Believe: Concise Thoughts on the Christian Faith. Franklin, TN: Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2012.
Why I like this: This devotional theology book invites you to confront your questions and disarms your doubts. It provides concise thoughts on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible.
Farah, Gregg. Choose Your Adventure: Life as a Christian or Life as a Disciple. Letsmakedisciples.org, 2019.
Why I like this: FREE download that challenges the notion that God’s goal is for people to become Christians. That’s boring. But life as a disciple of Jesus? That’s the adventure God offers each of us.
Frazee, Randy. The Connecting Church 2.0: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
Why I like this: Small groups are not the goal; biblical community is what we must pursue. Frazee does a terrific job reminding us that what we want and need is found in Jesus, and can be developed through healthy relationships with believers where we live, work, and play.
Goff, Bob. Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2018. (Also, see Bob’s first book, Love Does.)
Why I like this: Bob Goff is a master storyteller and a living illustration of a life well-lived. Ever wonder what it would be like to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? Read (or listen) to this and find out. Have fun, too.
Greig, Pete. Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2016.
Why I like this: Wow—another page-turner filled with stories of what a loving, all-powerful God does with our obedience. You’ll be encouraged to pray and follow God as he leads.
Lucado, Max, and Sergio Martinez. You Are Special. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997.
Why I like this: Yes, this is a children’s book, and one every one of us needs to read regularly. If you struggle with the idea of reading a children’s book by yourself, find a child and read it to him or her. You’ll both be glad.
Moran, Roy. Spent Matches: Igniting the Signal Fire for the Spiritually Dissatisfied. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015.
Why I like this: Looking for direction on how the local church can do what Jesus called it to do and make disciples? Then you’ll love and be challenged by this book.
Ogden, Greg. Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ. Revised and Expanded Edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Connect, 2019.
Why I like this: This book has been a game-changer for me. It catapulted our church forward. It took our discipleship out of the classroom and helped us do disciple-making around tables in homes and restaurants.
Ortberg, John. If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.
Why I like this: Another terrific resource of stories focused on the objective of following Jesus. Using the Apostle Peter as the primary illustration, Ortberg reminds us of the courageous step of faith Peter took to get out of the boat and invites us to take one of our own.
Ortberg, John, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014).
Why I like this: The soul was not made to run on empty. To protect us from soul-fatigue, Ortberg reminds us our souls need rest, to be with God, satisfaction, and more. Ortberg helps us know why and how to get there.
Putman, Jim, Bobby William Harrington, and Robert Coleman. Discipleshift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
Why I like this: The first chapter is worth the price of the book. But don’t stop there. Learn the five shifts your church can make to become a church of disciple-makers who can impact the world for Jesus for generations.
Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.
Why I like this: Great book! Pete Scazzero has tried it all and found that programs don’t make disciples. We may look good on the outside but be dead inside. Using an iceberg as a metaphor for our lives, Scazzero helps us grow and develop the parts of us hidden below the surface.
Shigematsu, Ken. God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
Why I like this: Rules are not always meant to be broken; some are meant to be lived by. Shigematsu dusts off the ancient practice of developing and living by a rule of life. A rule allows one to experience God at a healthy pace and enjoy relationships with the ones we love.
Spader, Dann. 4 Chair Discipling: What He Calls Us to Do. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2019.
Why I like this: Dann Spader has been teaching disciple-making for decades, and in this book gives church leaders an easy-to-grasp progression of how someone can move from being a new convert to an equipping disciple-maker.
Sweet, Leonard. I Am a Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012.
Why I like this: I love Sweet’s thesis: we don’t need more leaders; we need more followers. And in this book, Sweet unpacks what it looks like to follow Jesus, the world’s greatest leader. And, if Jesus places us in a place where he wants us to lead, we simply continue to follow his example.
Sweet, Leonard. Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2010.
Why I like this: Good news: you don’t have to bring Jesus to someone or take Jesus to a community or country. Why not? He’s already there! Len Sweet wakes us up to the reality that God is already at work around us and is nudging us to partner with him.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
Why I like this: If you’ve never read this book or haven’t read it since it first came out, read it again. It’s a terrific reminder that life is simple, and it starts with remembering it’s not about you. Then Warren leads us through living five biblical purposes that will change our lives and can change the world.
Yancey, Philip. Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.
Why I like this: When you get tired of the “church answers,” Philip Yancey will help you wrestle through what it means to trust God and follow him when he doesn’t seem trustworthy. In the process, you’ll grow your faith and gain a bigger view of God.
The Bottom Line Bible, Gregg Farah
Why I like this: Yes, this is mine. EVERY Bible chapter is summarized, includes a devotional, an action step, and a media link. It offers reminders and encouragements throughout the day. Its goal is that you focus on God throughout the day, not just when you read the Bible.
Remember Me, Hippo Mobile Solutions
Why I like this: Memorizing Bible verses is hard work—but it’s incredibly advantageous. Bible memory is an investment in eternity, as you’ll learn verses that encourage you and equip you to help others. The discipline can also help you focus on God throughout the day.
Morning Prayer & Worship, Ben Ward
Why I like this: An excellent way to pray and worship. Get your day started with God, or find time to reconnect during your busy day.
The Bonhoeffer Show, Bill Hull
Why I like this: The legendary Bill Hull brings his scholarly approach to disciple-making with fun and plenty of sarcasm.
Making Disciples, Robby Gallaty
Why I like this: Robby Gallaty addresses the gamut of questions on what it means to be a disciple and how churches can create a culture of disciple-makers.
Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast, Pete Scazzero
Why I like this: Pete speaks both to individuals and church leaders, equipping us to grow as disciples of Jesus while helping others do the same.
Why I like this: Each episode is a workshop from the annual National Disciple-Making Forum. Huge catalog of offerings.
Quick to Listen, Christianity Today
Why I like this: The CT team addresses current topics in a thought-filled, engaging way.
Focus on This, Michael Hyatt Co.
Why I like this: Goals are good, and this podcast helps you form healthy goals and meet them.
QUESTION (leave a comment below)
Which resource did I miss? Tell us why you like it. Or tell us which one from the list you want to try and why.