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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Proffitt

Best 2023 Summer Reads

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

Ernest Hemingway

What are your plans this summer? Maybe you have a fun family vacation planned, or maybe your plan is to stay home. Whatever it is, enjoy your summer plans with a good book!

What is a must-read this summer?

Cole: I would recommend Outgrowing the Ingrown Church by C. John Miller.

Have you ever been in a church that felt stuck? I’m not talking about gigantic obvious problems; something just isn’t quite right. Unfortunately, many churches find themselves in these seasons, but fortunately, Jack Miller’s classic book Outgrowing the Ingrown Church digs into the reasons churches, pastors, and movements stagnate and how to continue to grow. This is not a “church growth” book as much as it is a guide to spiritual renewal. Miller pastored the church Tim Keller attended when he was teaching at Westminster Seminary in the late 80s and it was a must-read book in the early days of Redeemer.

My second recommendation is A Small Book about Why We Hide by Edward Welch.

Study after study shows alarming rates of mental health problems in America. Anxiety, depression, suidice ideation, gender dysphoria, and other adverse conditions point to a crisis in mental health. I’m convinced that a vision of mental and emotional health will be one of the most powerful apologetics for the next generation. But everything starts with spiritual health. The missing piece in so many conversations about mental health and self-care is the gospel. This good news grounds us in an identity given by God, in his providential care for our lives, and in an unshakeable hope for the future. Without these things, we have no place to set our feet. This is the root of the mental health crisis.

Ed Welch is one of the sharpest, most biblical writers in the biblical counseling space, and in this little book, he applies the gospel and the teaching of Scripture to insecurity, regret, failure, and shame. You can read this straight through or as a 50-day devotional book; either way it is fantastic.

Terry: My first recommendation is Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas. His thesis is that the American Church is facing the same type of crisis and moment as the German Lutheran church in the 1930s. He calls for more political engagement in the service of Justice. He rejects both silence and an over-identification with a particular political party or figure. Whether or not one agrees, Metaxas raises issues that deserve thought and engagement.

My second recommendation is Proof of Stake by Vitalik Buterin. Buterin is a cryptocurrency pioneer who founded the Ethereum blockchain. The book is a collection of blog posts and talks by the shy billionaire. A fascinating look into the world of blockchains and cryptocurrency.

Ben: I hoping to read Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen. Keller has been a huge impact on my life, writing, and ministry, so I’m looking forward to seeing the influences of the man who has so greatly influenced me.

I also have a standing appointment with myself to reread CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce each year. It always fuels my imagination.

Finally, I am looking forward to reading Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools by Tyler Staton. I’ve picked it as my vacation travels book of choice. I’ve been needing to rekindle my prayer life, and I love monasticism, so this should do the trick!

Brittany: I would recommend 5 Puritan Women by Jenny-Lynn de Klerk. Jenny-Lynn de Klerk does an incredible job telling the stories of five faithful Puritan women. Not only does she expound on their successes, but she also focuses on their hardship and weaknesses. It was incredibly encouraging to hear how these women struggled with the same things I do and were faithful to the end. In the midst of their struggles, they gloried not in themselves but in the grace of God.

More than just learning about these women’s lives, I discovered that my story overlapped with theirs in different ways. I connected emotionally with them in ways I did not expect – I understood their struggle, and they understood mine.

If you are a lover of stories, history, theology, spiritual growth, and Puritans (or not), I would highly recommend this book be read not just by women, but by men as well. Much can be learned from the lives of our sisters in the faith. Jenny-Lynn concludes with a call to pursue God and that our stories can have a lasting impact on others. You do not have to be famous to have a large impact on someone’s life. Eternal impacts are made in small ways in small lives all to the glory of a great, big God.

Kali: One of my all-time favorite books is Jesus the King by Timothy Keller. My dad recommended it to me, and he reads it once a year! In this book, Keller takes a closer look at the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. It is written for the believer and unbeliever. But as someone who has grown up in the church and heard the gospel story so many times, this book specifically presents a new way of looking at Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection in ways that I’ve never thought of before! It’s split up into two parts that unpack Jesus’ identity and his purpose. You’ll want a highlighter close by when you read this book!

So, what are your summer plans?

We’ve told you ours, now you tell us yours! Share your favorite reads so far this summer or check out one of our recommendations, and let us know what you think on your social media! Be sure to tag us @sowespeakmedia.


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