Word&Way asked Midwest Baptist leaders and those serving Baptists to share a meaningful book. Here are their responses.
The movie “Chariots of Fire” introduced me to the life of Eric Liddell. The Scottish gold medal Olympian runner who famously refused to compete on Sunday was an inspiration to me. Since then I’ve read everything about Eric Liddell I could find, and I’ve even become the North American Ambassador for the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Liddell created a collection of writings and perspectives about faith to include daily devotions while in a Japanese civilian internment camp. Now published as “THE DISCIPLINES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE,” it remains a book I read every year.
— Gene Crume, president of Judson University, Elgin, Ill.
"TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” by Harper Lee. An engaging story, the most accurate portrayal of childhood I’ve ever seen in literature, and a powerful picture of having the courage to love.
— Blake McKinney, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
It is hard to choose, but Jurgen Mol tmann’s “THE COMING OF GOD” has been very formative for me. He suggests a vision of how God has offered a general pardon to the whole world on Good Friday and will ultimately bring all things to their true purpose in Christ. Not a slippery universalist, he argues for hell as a punitive and restorative epoch, just not as eternal as hell. He also takes seriously cosmic redemption, i.e., this world matters to God.
— Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan.
I first read “THROUGH THE GATES OF SPLENDOR” by Elisabeth Elliot when I was in high school. I was captivated by the five missionaries who freely gave their lives sharing the gospel with the Auca of Ecuador. The depth of the missionaries commitment and sacrifice along with that of their families is an inspiration as I walk humbly in my faith.
— Keith Ross, president of Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, Mo.
“TEAM OF TEAMS: NEW RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR A COMPLEX WORLD” by General Stanley McChrystal. In this book, a drastic change of structure is needed to respond to insurgents. The military structure is turned inside out and upside down to establish a leadership that is flexible and able to respond quickly to rapidly changing scenarios. It has given me a new picture of how leadership in the church can adjust, working together to accomplish mission.
— Robin Stoops, executive minister for American Baptist Churches of Nebraska
“BONHOEFFER: PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY” by Eric Metaxas. A compelling story of a man who paid the cost of discipleship while struggling with how to practice his faith in very troubling times. I read this book last fall and was challenged by the conflict Bonhoeffer faced and how he responded to it. Truly an inspirational and encouraging book to live the Christian life.
— Russell Martin, president & treasurer of Missouri Baptist Children’s Home in Bridgeton, Mo.
“THE PASTOR” by Eugene Peterson, tells the story of how he began Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Maryland and his discovery of what being a pastor is all about. I longed to be a senior pastor, but as an ordained female Baptist minister, finding a pastorate was no easy task. Consequently, I read slowly and longingly, soaking up his stories about the life and work that I wanted to be doing. He articulated how I felt, how I still feel. I can’t imagine not being a pastor.
— Carol McEntyre, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo.
“TRANSFORMING MISSION: PARADIGM SHIFTS IN THEOLOGY OF MISSION” by David J. Bosch. Bosch’s writing has challenged and expanded my understanding of mission and the missio Dei. I consider it is a must read for anyone in church leadership or wanting to engage in missionary work in our world. Bosch makes plain the damage done throughout history in the name of Christian mission. Yet, he also casts a powerful reframing of mission and church for us today and many years to come.
— Brian Ford, executive director of Churchnet in Jefferson City, Mo.