Best Books for Pastors in 2022


We asked pastors around the world a simple question: what books did you read in 2022 that helped you be a better pastor? We’ve curated their responses below. (See our 2020 list here, 2019 here, 2018 here, and 2017 here.)

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Spurgeon the Pastor: Recovering a Biblical and Theological Vision for Ministry, by Geoff Chang

“Chang’s book does two things. First, it teaches biblical ecclesiology through Spurgeon’s own rich preaching, hilarious wit, and overall mastery of the English language. Second, it encourages pastors to follow Spurgeon’s own tireless example in guarding the church’s membership, faithfully practicing discipline, raising up elders, and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. Having Chang lead you into the trenches of pastoral ministry with Spurgeon isn’t just instructive, it’s inspiring.” – Sam Emadi, senior pastor of Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church in Louisville, KY

“I was encouraged to read how Spurgeon sought to maintain biblical convictions even though his church grew astronomically. Spurgeon practiced the nine marks before there was 9Marks! – Alex Hong, pastor of Christian Fellowship Bible Church in West Covina, CA


Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution, by Carl Trueman (Full Review)

“This abridged—and updated!—version of Trueman’s magnum opus (so far) factors in the happenings of 2020 since his big book was released. While I think every pastor and student should read The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (the “big book”), Strange New World gives the pith and still packs a powerful punch. This is the one to give church members who are overwhelmed or befuddled by all the changes around them.” – Will Pareja, lead pastor of Addison Street Community Church in Chicago, IL


Talking about Race: Gospel Hope for Hard Conversations, by Isaac Adams

“It was almost impossible to put this book down—it felt like I would have been stopping in the middle of heart surgery. Pastoring outside of the US, I picked it up unsure whether it would be useful for my context. But while racial strife in America is the premise of the book, the core of it is a wise, gentle, and strong application of what the Bible says about our speech and judging others. Talking about Race is a useful tool in teaching how to grow in grace not only in conversations about race, but also conversations in general.” – Caleb Greggsen, pastor of an English-speaking church in Central Asia


Only a Prayer Meeting: Studies on Prayer Meetings and Prayer Meeting Addresses, by C. H. Spurgeon

“Only a Prayer Meeting was not only instructive for how Spurgeon encouraged others in prayer meetings, but also warmed my heart with Spurgeon’s Christ-centered preaching during my morning devotions. These short chapters and addresses reminded me that prayer is truly the ‘engine of the church’ and that Jesus is a glorious Savior!” – Alex Hong, pastor of Christian Fellowship Bible Church in West Covina, CA


How to Speak a Sermon: So That People Will Listen, by Larry Trotter

“When COVID hit and I preached to a camera for a few weeks, some remarked that it must be difficult. Actually, it wasn’t that different for me. I worked from a full manuscript. I was decent at it, but it struck me as problematic that I could take or leave the presence of my people, in terms of the act of delivery. I then determined to approach preaching more as an oratory event than a literary event—reading or reciting my prepared notes. This is one of several books that have helped me value preaching God’s Word as an oral experience.” – Trent Hunter, pastor for preaching and teaching at Heritage Bible Church in Greer, SC


Recovering Our Sanity: How the Fear of God Conquers the Fear That Divides Us, by Michael Horton

“In typical Horton style, Recovering Our Sanity helps us see God, ourselves, and how to better discern the times as God’s people. As a pastor, I found the book helpful in formulating pastoral prayers, discipling conversations, and encouraging more personal trust in God’s rule over all things. Horton demonstrates how fearing the Lord in worship is practical and comforting.” – Garrett Conner, senior pastor of La Plata Baptist Church in La Plata, MD


The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility, by Ray Ortlund

“I will never talk about porn the same after reading this book. The Death of Porn has encouraged and challenged me to help the men in my church put porn to death with greater confidence and conviction.” – Sean DeMars, pastors of 6th Avenue Community Church in Decatur, AL


Gospel People: A Call for Evangelical Integrity, by Michael Reeves

“Sociologists and political pollsters have coopted the word evangelical, but this book was a helpful reminder of who we are as evangelicals. We need not be ashamed of what we believe and who we are. And equally importantly, we must live out those beliefs before a skeptical world.” – Juan Sanchez, senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, TX


Authentic Ministry: Serving from the Heart, by Michael Reeves (Full Review)

Authentic Ministry is a superb snapshot of the things that matter most in a pastor.” – David Farley, lead pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship North in Mead, WA


The Bruised Reed, by Richard Sibbes (Full Review)

“I read a few pages of this book each morning after my Bible reading. It only took a week or two to finish. If you struggle with harsh thoughts towards yourself and think that Christ must have the same opinion of you, then you should pick up this volume. It is beautiful to see the care that Sibbes shows to weak Christians who need to hear the truth of the gospel. And if you do not struggle with this, many in your church do; read this to learn how to better apply the Word to them.” – Mike Conroy, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Tunkhannock, PA


Character Matters: Shepherding in the Fruit of the Spirit, Aaron Menikoff

Character Matters is convicting and encouraging. Since this was written specifically for pastors, Menikoff’s illustrations are all so relevant.” – Gary Kirst, senior pastor of Galena Bible Church in Galena, IL


The Plurality Principle: How to Build and Maintain a Thriving Church Leadership Team, by Dave Harvey

“It’s hard work to build up and encourage fellow elders, especially when I think I’m right. Harvey’s book is full of good, patient, sympathetic counsel for how to lead alongside fellow elders. He offers insight on the challenge of maintaining a plurality of leadership not only on paper but in a church’s ethos.” – Caleb Greggsen, pastor of an English-speaking church in Central Asia


R. C. Sproul: A Life, by Stephen Nichols

“This is a thrilling book on a flawed and brilliant man used mightily by God.” – David Farley, lead pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship North in Mead, WA


Calvin’s Company of Pastors, Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609, by Scott Manetsch (Full Review)

Calvin’s Company of Pastors traces the way pastoral care developed theologically and practically in Geneva under John Calvin’s leadership. While many of the specific implementations of pastoral care mentioned in this book will not be adopted in our contexts, it remains fascinating to see how reformed ministry principles were put into practice in Calvin’s context. If you want to read a mixture of biography, history, pastoral theology, and church meeting minutes (with brief tabloid inserts!), then this book might help you think better about your own pastoral ministry.” – Marc Minter, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Diana, TX


Defending Shame: Its Formative Power in Paul’s Letters, by Te-Li Lau

“In an age that perceives all shame as inherently bad and needing to be avoided at all costs, Lau makes a biblical argument for the importance of godly shame as a motivator for holiness. This book helped me gain a fuller picture of how the Bible speaks about this topic and what it means for the church.” – Joshua Hayward, senior pastor of Kinney Avenue Christians Fellowship in Austin, TX


Made for Friendship: The Relationship That Halves Our Sorrows and Doubles Our Joys, Drew Hunter

“I read this book for two reasons. First, I was compelled by its subtitle. Second, I wanted to help church members cultivate the right friendships the right way. Made For Friendship accomplished that and more. It made me realize I’m a better pastor when I’m a better friend. If you haven’t thought about this important topic before, I’d recommend you start here. It’s biblical, realistic, wise, and practical. You’ll realize how great a friend Jesus is to sinners. And you’ll want to be one too.” – Dave Comeau, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Weymouth, MA


Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus, by L. Michael Morales

“Leviticus is an immensely important book for the Christian. It just doesn’t always feel that way. This volume by Morales’ helped Leviticus feel as important as it is. By situating the book within the literary context of the Pentateuch and the broader story of the Bible, Morales helped me preach Leviticus faithfully, clearly, and happily. I have many volumes in this series and this is among the best.” – Trent Hunter, pastor for preaching and teaching at Heritage Bible Church in Greer, SC


C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography: Volume 1: The Early Years, 1834-1859 & Volume 2: The Full Harvest 1860-1892, by C.H. Spurgeon

“This was one of the most encouraging books I have ever read! I was challenged to read about how Spurgeon thought of ministry, spent his time, and preached. I loved hearing him and his wife talk about the affection they had for one another. And I was entertained by all the humor scattered throughout. If you have not read these yet, then do yourself and your church a favor, and read them this upcoming year!” – Mike Conroy, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Tunkhannock, PA


Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir, by Ned B. Stonehouse

“Stonehouse’s biography of Machen is a thorough account of Machen’s life, ministry, and legacy. Machen was a man of principle and service to his family, church, denomination, and country. He is a model for Christian ministry, taking stands for the faith even in the face of persecution from within the church. What was most inspiring is how his opponents spoke of him. ‘I admire Dr. Machen very much,’ one said, ‘while I disagreed with him on every point.’ May we all hold to the faith like Machen, boldly and kindly.” – Drew Cunningham, lead pastor of Santa Cruz Baptist Church in Aptos, CA


You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges, by Albert N. Martin

“Martin’s You Lift Me Up has been a spiritual healing ointment and encouragement to my soul. Martin gives sound biblical wisdom on how to deal with discouragement in difficult seasons of ministry by examining the minister’s backsliding, burnout, and credibility washout.” – Alex Hong, pastor elder of Christian Fellowship Bible Church in West Covina, CA

Alex Duke

Alex Duke is the editorial manager of 9Marks. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also works at Third Avenue Baptist Church as the Director of Youth Ministry and Ecclesiological Training. Follow him on Twitter at @_alexduke_.

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