The Reading Disciple

“When you come, bring … the books, and above all the parchments.”

2 Timothy 4:13

I have a nook, the eReader from Barnes & Noble.  From it I have access to just about any book I want, leaving me without excuse to find time for reading.   J. Oswald Sanders suggested a minimum of half an hour a day to feed the soul and stimulate the mind. John Wesley’s passion for reading allowed him to consume thousands of books– while on horseback!  The sweeping number of books available today is a bit unsettling. Considering our mission as Christ-followers, we should discriminate between what will encourage discipleship and what will squander our time.  After all, when reading, we have fellowship with the author through the turning of pages.  Here are some modern day writers and their suggestions of great minds to hold community with:


The Circle Make
Author’s Recommended Reads: The Divine Conspiracy:
Dallas Willard and the Pursuit of God: A.W. TozerThe Circle Maker

Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church,, in Washington, DC. He has authored many best-selling books, including his latest The Circle Maker.  Batterson encourages us to draw prayer circles around our dreams.  Prayer is a central part of discipleship and a way God accomplishes great things in us. The book centers around Honi the Circle Maker– a man who drew a circle in the sand and did not move from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people. The Circle Maker is loaded with inspiring stories from Batterson’s own life, an aspect of most of his writings, which helps to expose your heart’s desires and God-given dreams. The Circle Maker and it’s companion study guide serve as a great resource for any discipleship group.  After asking Batterson what books he would suggest on discipleship,  he replied with two… The Divine Conspiracy: Dallas Willard and The Pursuit of God: A.W. Tozer.


Organic Leadership: Leading Naturally Right Where You Are                                Author’s Recommended Reads: Untamed: Al & Deb Hirsch, Master Plan for Evangelism: Robert E. Coleman, and The Normal Christian Life: Watchman Nee

Organic Leadership

Neil Cole is one of the key architects of the organic or simple church movement. He is the author of multiple books which can be obtained at CMA Resources, an organization Cole founded. In Organic Leadership, Cole writes of the lack of true discipleship paralyzing the church today.  He boldly challenges the modern day view of more programs, more people, and more money equalling a successful church. He instead offers a more grassroots approach that will grow more leaders for a greater harvest!  If you are searching for a book to help you stay on mission, this is it. Upon request, Cole offered three of his favorites on discipleship… Untamed: Al & Deb Hirsch, Master Plan of Evangelism: Robert E. Coleman, and The Normal Christian Life: Watchman Nee


 Crazy Love                                                                                                                             Author’s Recommended Reads: Desiring God: John Piper, Knowledge of the Holy: A.W.Tozer, and Radical David Platt

Crazy LoveFrancis Chan is the best-selling author of Crazy Love, Forgotten God, & Erasing Hell.  Chan is currently focused on starting a church planting movement in San Francisco and working towards the launch of a nationwide discipleship movement.  In Crazy Love, Chan notes there is something wrong when our response to God’s love is a lukewarm faith, a list of do’s & don’ts, and flocking to a building once a week.  Chan argues that our lives should be radically changed by God’s relentless love for us.  Crazy love calls you to live a life that fights the good fight and finishes the race– the marks of a true disciple. This is another great book for group study loaded with tons of resources.  Here are three must reads according to Chan:  Desiring God: John Piper, Knowledge of the Holy: A. W. Tozer, and Radical: David Platt.

The apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy to take reading to heart serves as an example to all of us.  A book is a pipeline of ideas from one mind to an another.  Once we’ve grasped those ideas, hopefully we are moved to action. In The Use and Abuse of Books, A. W. Tozer explains, “One reason why people are unable to understand great Christian classics is that they are trying to understand without out any intention of obeying them.”  Don’t let the fellowship of ideas stop with you.  A disciple applies what he has learned.

Steve Swain

 Excerpt from Signet Ring Magazine Discipleship Issue.


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