It’s time again to give you my ten favorite books of the year.
Below are my top ten books of 2022. I read them in 2022, although they may have been published in a different year. And maybe I didn’t read every word of some of them, but I read enough of the book to consider it one of my top books of the year.
2022 wasn’t my best reading year (or writing year, for that matter). With all the changes we’ve had this year, I suspect this is normal. I am a fragile and finite human, something I have learned anew this year.
Also, don’t put too much stock in the ranking. Had I written this post on a different day and in a different mood, I’m sure I would switch the order around. I encourage you to simply check out all the books and see if anything interests you.
For those of you who follow my book blurbs posts, you’ll see much overlap.
My Top 10 Books of 2022
In addition to my Master of Divinity degree, I have two undergraduate degrees in business, so I have both an aptitude and interest in the administrative side of church ministry. I enjoyed this volume and was refreshed by the faithful exegesis, particularly the emphasis on being faithful. Dunlop rightly argues that the church budget is a spiritual thing and pastors need to be involved with it.
If you like productivity, consider giving this one a read. It’s a book on making ideas happen, particularly with an emphasis on creatives. The writing is sophisticated. The author uses the phrase “a bias toward action” which I just love. I think about it a lot. Systems, structures, and organization matter in productivity, but the best system won’t mean anything unless you actually move and get something done. Keep making progress even if it’s messy. Don’t wait until you have all the information before getting started; just get started and tweak as you go. I did not finish this book, but I enjoyed the parts that I did read.
Reagan Rose has written a good book on Christian productivity. Whereas some Christian books focus on the practicals, and other Christian productivity books give you productivity plus leadership plus management plus [fill in the blank], the strength of this book lies in how a Christian view of productivity differs from a secular one. I particularly enjoyed the emphasis on laying up spiritual treasures in heaven as a motivation to get more done.
7. A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos
We have two kids: one who is three and a 17-month-old. I’ve been eager to start family worship but wrongly thought it was too early. Of course, we pray with our kids and read to them (at least for the three-year-old), but we did not have a formal structure of family worship. Thanks to Helopoulos, we do now. I’m sure, Lord willing, our family worship will evolve over the years, but right now family worship in the Kaywood home looks like this: after dinner, we read a Bible passage together (we are going through the Gospel of Matthew), sing a song, recite the Lord’s prayer, and then I pray. No, it’s not perfect. Some nights we miss. Some nights we don’t sing. Some nights we don’t say the Lord’s prayer. It’s messy in many ways, but I can tell it’s already bearing fruit. If you have children and you are the leader in your home, I want to make a plea that you, unless providentially hindered, consider doing family worship in your home. This book teaches you how.
6. The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever
A short systematic theology on the church. It’s distinctly baptistic. I love the local church and I’m always on the lookout for good books on ecclesiology.
This is the more concise version of The Rise and Triumph of Modern Self. Carl Trueman has become a leading voice on the intersection of Christian faith and Western cultural issues. I enjoyed this one, and it gave me a helpful framework to understand our present moment with the culture.
4. The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart by Harold L. Senkbeil
An absolutely outstanding book on pastoring, probably the best one to be released in a while. Here in this book, you won’t find tips and tricks, but instead hard-won wisdom after decades of ministry. Senkbeil is a man who has suffered many blows but has stayed faithful to the Lord he loves. As a Reformed evangelical, some of Senkbeil’s Lutheran convictions made me slightly uncomfortable here and there, but certainly not in any way undermining my endorsement for this well-received volume. A great book to read for pastors.
3. The Heart is the Target: Preaching Practical Application from Every Text by Murray Capill
This might be one of the most underrated preaching books that I’m aware of. So good. Application is an important part of preaching but is notoriously difficult to do. Capill leads the way and gives you ideas for how to do it well.
2. Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz
At the risk of overstatement, this is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a while. If you love the life of the mind, this book will thrill you. A rough reiteration of the thesis sounds something like this: learning is worth it for learning’s sake, even if it doesn’t get you anywhere. Forget about money, opportunities, and climbing the corporate ladder. Just see the value of learning for the sake of learning. If this is true, then it might be worth it to get another degree, even if you never use it.
This book inspired my article entitled Cultural Literacy for the Sake of Cultural Agency. I love this book, and it has transformed the way I view disciple-making as a pastor. Highly recommend it.
My Top Books from Previous Years
If you’d like to see my top ten books from previous years, you can do so by clicking here.
Or you can just select a year below.