Thursday, May 13, 2010

A book every university student should read

I'm going to spend eight weeks through the months of June and July taking a small group of college students through a book on discipleship. These are students we've identified in the ministry who have leadership potential. My goal is to call them into deeper level of followership. In preparation I've been thinking about which text would be best for the study. So I'll pose it to you and see what you think. Simply asked:
What do you think is one (or two) book(s) every university student should read?

54 comments:

Bob said...

Cost of Discipleship and perhaps an inductive study of 1 John

Richard said...

Dedication and Leadership by Douglas Hyde

In The Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

both are short but powerful

Slightly more dense is Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship

Raymond said...

For Leadership Formation:

Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver, Univ of Chicago Press

The Fifth Element, Peter M. Senge

For Spiritual Formation:

Knowing God, J.I. Packer

A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, Helmut Thielicke, Eerdmans

Justin Dodson said...

Bonhoeffer aside...

Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ by Eugene Peterson

and

Joyful Exiles: Life in Christ on the Dangerous Edge of Things by James Houston

Peter M. Head said...

Mark, gospel of

Rick Wadholm Jr. said...

Though its already been mentioned (several times now): "Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (it simply does not get better than this IMO) and also "Life Together" (also by Bonhoeffer) which deals with issues of the reading/hearing of Scripture, prayer, worship, confession, communion, and community life. Its a wonderful little book that wouldn't take long to go through and it is less difficult reading than his "Cost of Discipleship" which deals in great detail with issues of grace, following Christ, expositions on the Sermon on the Mount which are above any exposition I've read anywhere else, baptism, communion and community.

Andrew Faris said...

I read The Pursuit of God by Tozer when I was a freshman in college. I am now 26 and continue to turn to it when I feel spiritually dry. I love it.

Jonni said...

I second the Nouwen recommendation,.. but think that The Life of the Beloved would be better than In the Name of Jesus.

TonyTheProf said...

The Christlike God by J.V. Taylor

Andrew Esqueda said...

The Discipline of Surrender: Biblical Images of Discipleship
by Douglas D. Webster

and

Incarnate Leadership
by Bill Robinson

Both of these books are very accessible and would be great in a group setting.

Vesa said...

Bo Giertz & The Hammer of God

mgvh said...

Gospel of Mark and Douglas John Hall's -Why Christian?-

Eric Nygren said...

Mark me down for another vote for Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship. Another suggestion would be Kevin DeYoung's little book Just Do Something.

Tim Ricci said...

"Messy Spirituality" by Mike Yaconelli and "the Golen Booklet of the True Christian Life" by John Calvin

Andrew said...

I second 'The Fifth Discipline' by Peter Senge if your looking for leadership training.

TonyTheProf said...

Tom Wright's "Simply Christian", a "Mere Christianity" for the 21st century.

Preston Sprinkle said...

Those are all pretty good, I guess. But none can hold a candle to Matthew's Messianic Shepherd-King by Willitts!

John Mark said...

Gilead. Leaders shouldn't wait until their 60 to be self-reflective. They also need to learn to see God's beauty in the simple things in life so that they don't hurt people trying to do bigger and bigger things.

Matthew said...

Augustine's Confessions.

Aaron Orendorff said...

Simply Christin by Tom Wright and The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. The books themselves, plus the experience of reading a thorough-going Lutheran and the leader of the new perspective, would be a great combination.

Erin said...

wow: Gilead. Good call.
I don't know the demographic you speak of, but I think the Cost of Discipleship isn't really a helpful, practical guide. Instead I'd go with Life together, to stir the pot. Also, I would most definitely not do Dedication & Leadership unless you are bent on reproducing more Christian imperialists. That book appeals to all that's wrong in the evangelical world, god bless Hyde.

Wesley Aaron Vorberger said...

Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders

Covers a wide range of attributes that will groom any follower to take the role of a leader.

TonyTheProf said...

I read "Cost of Discipleship" at Uni, and would certainly add to the recommendations.

"The everlasting man" by G.K. Chesterton still holds up pretty well.

DeeCee said...

I'm in parachurch ministry at a flagship state university so I'd like to think my "on the ground" experience can be of help here.

I echo everyone's recommendations above for "Simply Christian" by NT Wright -- it's the first basic discipleship book that I use with any of my students -- churched or not. I find it especially helpful for evangelical churched students as a corrective for a narrow view of the discipleship and the gospel. And also a good way to "cover the bases" for less churched students. It's a bit on the postmodern side and doesn't hit atonement as hard as I'd like it to (especially for the studentsfrom mainline protestant backgrounds) -- but is still the best intro discipleship book I know out there. I wrote a discussion guide for it if you're interested -- you can email me at calvindc at gmail dot com if you're interested.

This will show a bit of my denominational flavor, but "Engaging God's World" by Neal Plantinga is absolutely fantastic in challenging students to think about integrating their faith with their academics and future careers. There's a reason it's required reading at both Wheaton and Calvin colleges. For a student who grasps grace and the gospel and has committed their life to Christ's lordship -- something only a minority of college students I work with have done -- it's a disservice to let them graduate without going through this book together.

Classics like "The Fight," "The Adventure," and "Knowing God" are always good choices. "The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends" is an interesting newer one showing the importance of discipleship in community -- could be a fantastic corrective for the 'long ranger Christian' types especially.

Again, showing a bit of where I'm coming from, a book on ethnic identity or racial reconciliation at some point will be very helpful, too (I'm assuming they're White... "Being White" by Doug Schaupp is a great resource).

There's also a great study series on the images of leadership that you might want to look into:

http://www.intervarsity.org/mx/item/6294/

Calvin Chen

Emerson Fast said...

Luther's larger catechism.

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.

Benno said...

Shining Like Stars by Lindsay Brown

Christopher said...

Joel,
I would use Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship along with Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God.

Chris Skinner

pennoyer said...

You might consider Francis Schaeffer's True Spirituality.

godfrey941 said...

It has to be Francis Schaeffers 'True Spirituality' -inconjuction with Tim Kellers book on idols possibly 9the name of which escapes me )

Matt said...

Go for "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsay.

John Anderson said...

Perhaps an unconventional choice, but I think every human being should be required to read Elie Wiesel's memoir Night. It is a brief yet powerfully transformative book that changed my entire perspective on, well, nearly everything.

I think it would make a fine complement, read alongside Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship.

Tim Kirkes said...

In our story oriented culture, Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" would be a good choice.

Jeremy said...

The Gagging of God by Carson is big enough to count for two books

John Thomson said...

Joel

I note the above comment comes from a suspect source.

C J Mahoney's little books on discipleship related topics are worth considering. They are short and to the point.

Tyler said...

Joel,

If I could, I would go back and hand my college self Kevin DeYoung's "Just do something" and either Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" or Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship" (which seems to a favorite so far).

Don't overlook DeYoung's small, simple, yet profoundly needed corrective to modern adolescence. You could make them read that alongside Bonhoeffer's book - it's a very easy read with some great payoff in discussion.

Geoff said...

A few helpful books come to mind:

Gary Tyra's book "Defeating Pharisaism: Recovering Jesus' Disciple-Making Method," gives a helpful reading of the Sermon on the Mounth with an emphasis on Jesus' ironic remarks concerning certain forms of false piety. He recommends the sermon on the mounth as a central aspect of Christian discipleship programs.

Then there is Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy: Recovering Our Hidden Life With God." He gives an idiosyncratic reading of the beatitudes, but the point is that the Kingdom really has arrived in Jesus and those who trust him now should live life with him now.

Donald Whitney's book "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" is a great book for learning how to discipline ones life around being Jesus' student.

Holy Living and Holy Dying by Bishop Jeremy Taylor is also awesome, it is old, but yields many great discussions as to what it means to actually live in obedience to Jesus, though his understanding of the mission of God in history is perhaps left out or simply deficient.

Also see "The Jesus Paradigm" by David Alan Black. It is wonderfully helpful, especially the exegetical and Anabaptist bits.

Jason Poling said...

For college students specifically, Steve Garber's The Fabric of Faithfulness. And to kick off conversations each time you meet, a randomly selected portion of Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ.

Tim Byrnes said...

Athanasius' 'Life of Antony' is certainly a paradigm breaker. Mixing in some of the writings of Mr. Oswald Chambers could also really stir things up.

TonyTheProf said...

Athanasius' "On the Incarnation" (in translation, with foreward by CS Lewis) is still a model of clarity and inspiring.

John Paulling said...

Gilead. No question.

Anon said...

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

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