100 books like What Jesus Started

By Steve Addison,

Here are 100 books that What Jesus Started fans have personally recommended if you like What Jesus Started. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Master Plan of Evangelism

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Who am I?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

In the 1950s, Robert Coleman, then a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, was assigned to teach a class on evangelism. But he had a problem: he had no idea what to say. So he decided to pore over the four Gospels to discern Jesus’ strategy for winning people to his message. His lecture notes became The Master Plan of Evangelism.

The reach of The Master Plan since its publication in 1963 has been enormous. Billy Graham even wrote the foreword. But Jesus’ model of training a few was so alien to the operating systems of 20th-century churches and traveling evangelists that generations had no idea how to implement it. Not many books have been so widely read and so little applied. Yet if you only read one book on this subject, make this the one. And if you’ve already read it long ago, read it again.

By Robert E. Coleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Master Plan of Evangelism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than forty years this classic study has shown Christians how to minister to the people God brings into their lives. Instead of drawing on the latest popular fad or the newest selling technique, Dr. Robert E. Coleman looks to the Bible to find the answer to the question: What was Christ's strategy for evangelism? This convenient, portable format has an updated look for a new generation of readers.


Book cover of The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God

Malinda Fugate Author Of The Other Three Sixteens

From my list on for Christians to revive a stalled faith journey.

Who am I?

I’m just an everyday person. I don’t have a fancy title or lots of degrees, but I do have experience being close to God and a never-ending quest to know Him more. His love is so good that it absolutely must be shared. So if I, in all of my ordinariness, can learn extraordinary sacred things, then I can bring others along the journey, too. His presence in my heartaches, struggles, joy, and adventures has sustained my life, and I don’t know any credential that could testify any clearer that a journey with God is worth taking.

Malinda's book list on for Christians to revive a stalled faith journey

Malinda Fugate Why did Malinda love this book?

After reading The Divine Conspiracy twice, I’m ready to dive in again. So many treasures are packed into these pages, waiting to be absorbed.

Anchored in the Sermon on the Mount, the author discusses our discipleship and how we related to Christ. Sometimes, we miss the life that’s in biblical text, but this book offers perspective that makes us take a second look and inspires our hearts.

By Dallas Willard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Divine Conspiracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1998, The Divine Conspiracy captured the attention of Christians across the world, by offering a timely and challenging call back to the true meaning of Christian discipleship.

Gracefully weaving biblical teaching, popular culture, science and scholarship together, Dallas Willard refuted the view that Christianity is solely about gaining admittance to heaven when we die, and taught that, as disciples, we have access now to the life of the kingdom.

Equally relevant today as it was on publication, The Divine Conspiracy challenges us to step aside from the pieties of contemporary Christian practice and offers instead a practical…


Book cover of Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Who am I?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

Imagine you and a band of others begin living out what Steve Addison describes, and as a result, more people you’re talking to embrace Jesus and start following his way with you. Your group has changed; now what do you do?

Neil Cole is a leading practitioner of a model known variously as “organic,” “simple,” or “house church”—networked groups with scant formal organization meeting in homes and public spaces. In Church 3.0, Cole argues for and describes the practicalities of this church style. Although in our book Future Church Will Mancini and I contend that there is still a valid and valuable role for the institutional church today, Cole’s work stimulates important thinking about how to evolve it to make disciples where people actually live, work, and play.

By Neil Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Church 3.0 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expert practitioner answers to questions about the burgeoning organic church movement Neil Cole's best-selling book Organic Church described the fastest growing segment of contemporary Christianity-the so-called organic church. Now in this next-step book, he answers questions about how to deal with theological and organizational issues that come up. He talks about issues such has what to do with finances, children, heresy, leader training, and rituals and ordinances. Without the top-down structure of a denomination, even people who are proponents of this small, house-church model worry that they are not doing it right. Offers an important resource for anyone involved…


Book cover of Becoming a Disciple Maker: The Pursuit of Level 5 Disciple Making

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Who am I?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

What are the stages of a disciple’s optimal development? The theoretical path starts with a person not following Jesus and ends with that person helping their own disciples make disciples of Jesus. Having a reliable model that traces the course of a disciple’s development benefits a disciple maker practically, because people have different capacities, needs, and challenges at different stages as they grow.

The most persuasive and useful model yet proposed might be found in this brief book by Harrington and Wiens, who adapt to individuals the Exponential organization’s five-level typology of churches.

By Greg Wiens, Bobby Harrington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming a Disciple Maker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Becoming a Level 5 Disciple Maker is an introduction to the five levels of disciple making with a focus on how to become a Level 5 disciple maker like Jesus. The authors discuss why we should pursue Level 5 disciple making, how we can pursue it, and what we can do to assess our progress along the way.

Bobby and Greg introduce and explore the pathway to becoming a disciple maker by using this five-level framework. Focusing on helping individuals identify where they are on the disciple-making scale (levels 1 to 5) and what is needed to become a Level…


Book cover of The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity

Paula Gooder Author Of Phoebe: A Story

From my list on opening up the world of the New Testament.

Who am I?

I am a New Testament scholar, with an expertise in Pauline Theology, who has spent my working life trying to make New Testament scholarship more accessible for non-experts. After studying at Oxford University, I taught in two theological colleges before taking a few years to be a freelance writer lecturer. I am a lay theologian and have worked with most dioceses of the Church of England but now am a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral where I oversee Theology, Learning, and Art in the life of the Cathedral. I hope you enjoy reading these books that have had such a big impact on me and my thinking.

Paula's book list on opening up the world of the New Testament

Paula Gooder Why did Paula love this book?

One way of opening up the world of the New Testament is through fictional accounts of life in the period; the other way is by doing a deep dive into some of the academic debates that have explored issues from this period. This is an accessible but fascinating book that explores the life, culture, and background of the New Testament and provides a vast array of interesting nuggets that will enhance your reading of the New Testament. This book opens up our imaginations by providing the information we need to imagine the world for ourselves.

By James S. Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was life like for first-century Christians? Imagine a modest-sized Roman home of a well-to-do Christian household wedged into a thickly settled quarter of Corinth. In the lingering light of a summer evening, men, women and children, merchants, working poor and slaves, a mix of races and backgrounds have assembled in the dimly lit main room are are spilling into the central courtyard. This odd assortment of gathered believers--some thirty in number--are attentive as the newly arrived and travel-weary emissary from Paul reads from the papyrus scroll he has brought from their apostolic mentor. But if you were to be…


Book cover of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Lisa McClain Author Of Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church, 1534-1829

From my list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity.

Who am I?

I do what I do for completely self-interested reasons. I am a woman, wife, and mother; a history professor specializing in the Catholic Church and gender; and a Christian (Episcopalian). I used to compartmentalize those roles. I was a Christian at church, a secular scholar at work, etc. It was exhausting. I was frustrated by conflicting messages about gender and faith from my family, profession, and religion. I wanted to be true to all aspects of my identity in all situations, but how? History is full of people who’ve questioned and adapted at the intersections of gender and religion. I learn from their journeys and add another piece of the puzzle.

Lisa's book list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity

Lisa McClain Why did Lisa love this book?

I don’t always agree with Bart Ehrman, but I do here. Forgeries, heresies, martyrs, even unfamiliar texts featuring women (who was Thecla and why was she hanging around with Paul?) contribute to an engaging read.

Whereas MacCulloch provides the “big picture” of Christian history, Ehrman targets the first centuries of Christianity—those centuries so critical to current debates about gender and lay roles in churches—to help us understand what we don’t understand about holy texts, especially ones that never made it into Christian Bible.

Ehrman takes us into the thought processes of early Church communities to help us see how Christians made decisions that shaped church policies relevant to gendered and lay leadership today.

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lost Christianities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings…


Book cover of The Church in the Canadian Era

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Who am I?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

In the sixteen years between this book’s two editions, religion in Canada underwent a revolution. John Webster Grant’s history of developments in Canada’s first century after Confederation (1867-1967) sparkled with wit, limpid prose, and telling incidents succinctly portrayed. His deep research in French sources, as well as English, made for an exceptionally well-balanced account of both Protestants and Catholics, both Quebec and the rest of Canada. The new chapter he added in 1988 was just as informative, perceptive, and wise about the difficult days for the churches that began so suddenly in the 1960s.

By John Webster Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Church in the Canadian Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Webster Grant?s The Church in the Canadian Era was originally published in 1972. It remains a classic and important text on the history of the Canadian churches since Confederation. This updated edition has been expanded to include a chapter on recent history as well as a new bibliographical survey. Its approach is ecumenical, taking account not only of the whole range of Christian denominations but of sources in both national languages.


Book cover of Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs

Vince L. Bantu Author Of Those for Whom the Lamp Shines: The Making of Egyptian Ethnic Identity in Late Antiquity

From my list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism.

Who am I?

I have had a love for the early Church in Africa since I took a trip to Egypt when I was in seminary. Since then, I’ve had a chance to visit all of the countries on the continent with ancient churches. It is my greatest joy to share what I learn with my students and any anyone else who will listen. I research and teach in the area of early African Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Meachum School of Haymanot. I have published two monographs on this topic and hold a doctoral degree in languages and literatures of Northeastern Africa during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. 

Vince's book list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism

Vince L. Bantu Why did Vince love this book?

This book is the best overall summary of Christianity in North Africa I have ever read. There are so many books that are close to this topic but are usually more specialized, focusing only on Augustine or archaeology.

This book not only surveys the influential theologians from North Africa, Perpetua, Tertullian, and Cyprian, but also illumines the lived worship practices of everyday Christians in what we now call Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria.

I love the well-rounded and comprehensive survey of North African Christianity that this book provides. 

By J. Patout Burns, Robin M. Jensen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christianity in Roman Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In-depth, illustrated exploration of how early North African Christians lived out their faith

Using a combination of literary and archeological evidence, this in-depth, illustrated book documents the development of Christian practices and doctrine in Roman Africa -- contemporary Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco -- from the second century through the Arab conquest in the seventh century.

Robin Jensen and Patout Burns, in collaboration with Graeme W. Clarke, Susan T. Stevens, William Tabbernee, and Maureen A. Tilley, skillfully reconstruct the rituals and practices of Christians in the ancient buildings and spaces where those practices were performed. Numerous site drawings and color…


Book cover of Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Who am I?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

The Christian experience in China is different. More than a century ago, a popular, independent religious movement began to take hold and continues today through “house churches” that operate beyond the control of the central government. Xi Lian, a professor of world Christianity at the Duke Divinity School, explains the political and cultural reasons for this and focuses on the Chinese Christians at the vanguard of the indigenous movement—including my great-uncle Watchman Nee.

By Xi Lian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Redeemed by Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first to address the history and future of homegrown, mass Chinese Christianity. Drawing on a large collection of fresh sources--including contemporaneous accounts, diaries, memoirs, archival material, and interviews--Lian Xi traces the transformation of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century China from a small, beleaguered "missionary" church buffeted by antiforeignism to an indigenous popular religion energized by nationalism and millenarianism. Lian shows that, with a current membership that rivals that of the Chinese Communist Party, and the ability to galvanize China's millions into apocalyptic convulsion and messianic exuberance, the popular Christian movement channels the aspirations and the discontent of…


Book cover of A New History of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Who am I?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

In my journey to understand the historical backdrop for my family saga, I started with this tightly-written, comprehensive book by the late Daniel H. Bays. A former professor at the University of Kansas and Calvin College, Bays was an incredibly generous scholar. When I worked in China for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bays was frequently sought out by me and other reporters who needed to understand the long view of Christianity in China. I put this book in what I call the “readable academic” category. Yes, it’s often used as a college textbook, but it’s a good way to get grounded in China’s unique religious history.

By Daniel H. Bays,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A New History of Christianity in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New History of Christianity in China, written by one of the world's the leading writers on Christianity in China, looks at Christianity's long history in China, its extraordinarily rapid rise in the last half of the twentieth century, and charts its future direction. * Provides the first comprehensive history of Christianity in China, an important, understudied area in both Asian studies and religious history * Traces the transformation of Christianity from an imported, Western religion to a thoroughly Chinese religion * Contextualizes the growth of Christianity in China within national and local politics * Offers a portrait of the…


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