Culture / Formation / Theology / Witness

15 Books from 2018 that Will Get You to #ReadWomen

Is your bookshelf full of mostly older (white) male theologians? We have the perfect remedy for you. Below you’ll find a list of Missio Alliance’s top picks from 2018 of women authors, ministers, historians, and theologians who are impacting the way we understand God’s Church on mission in North America.

Let’s face it: women and men alike, our competence and maturity as disciples and leaders suffer if we are not reading and learning from women. If your seminary education or church upbringing denied you of the opportunity to do so, I’ve got good news for you: it’s never too late. Grab one of these books and settle in. Our competence and maturity as disciples and leaders suffer when we don't #ReadWomen. Check out these 15 books written by women that help us understand and engage in God's mission. Click To Tweet

Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead

by Mary T. Lederleitner, IVP Books

Women have advanced God’s mission throughout history and around the world. But women often face particular obstacles in ministry. What do we need to know about how women thrive? Mission researcher Mary Lederleitner interviewed and surveyed respected women in mission leadership from across the globe to gather their insights, expertise, and best practices. She unveils how women serve in distinctive ways and identifies key traits of faithful connected leaders. When women face opposition based on their gender, they employ various strategies to carry on with resilience and hope. Real-life stories and case studies shed light on dynamics that inhibit women and also give testimony to God’s grace and empowerment in the midst of challenges. Women and men will find resources here for partnering together in effective ministry and mission.


The Lost Discipline of Conversation: Surprising Lessons in Spiritual Formation Drawn from the English Puritans

by Joanne J. Jung, Zondervan Press

In The Lost Discipline of Conversation, spiritual formation professor and author Joanne Jung walks readers through the Puritan practice of “conference,” or focused, spiritual conversations intended to promote ongoing transformation. An antidote to privatized faith, conference calls believers to biblical literacy and soul care in a context of transparency and accountability.


Leadership: In Turbulent Times

by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon & Schuster

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader? In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.


Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey

by Sarah Shin, IVP Books

Ethnicity and evangelism specialist Sarah Shin shows how our brokenness around ethnicity can be restored and redeemed, for our own wholeness and also for the good of others. When we experience internal transformation in our ethnic journeys, God propels us outward in a reconciling witness to the world. Ethnic healing can demonstrate God’s power and goodness to others and bring good news to the world. Shin helps us make space for God’s healing our ethnic stories, grow in our crosscultural skills, manage crosscultural conflict, pursue reconciliation and justice, and share the gospel as ethnicity-aware Christians.


Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God

by Ruth Haley Barton, IVP Books

Ruth Haley Barton gently and eloquently leads us into an exploration of retreat as a key practice that opens us to God. Based on her own practice and her experience leading hundreds of retreats for others, she will guide you in a very personal exploration of seven specific invitations contained within the general invitation to retreat. You will discover how to say yes to God’s winsome invitation to greater freedom and surrender. There has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant, so needed and so welcome. It is not a luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual life.


I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

by Austin Channing Brown, Convergent Books

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.


The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships

by Suzanne Stabile, IVP Books

Most of us have no idea how others see or process their experiences. And that can make relationships hard, whether with intimate partners, with friends, or in our professional lives. Understanding the motivations and dynamics of these different personality types can be the key that unlocks sometimes mystifying behavior in others―and in ourselves. This book from Suzanne Stabile on the nine Enneagram types and how they behave and experience relationships will guide readers into deeper insights about themselves, their types, and others’ personalities so that they can have healthier, more life-giving relationships. No one is better equipped than the coauthor of The Road Back to You to share the Enneagram’s wisdom on how relationships work―or don’t.


Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

by Fleming Rutledge, Eerdman’s Press

Advent, says Fleming Rutledge, is not for the faint of heart. As the midnight of the Christian year, the season of Advent is rife with dark, gritty realities. In this book, with her trademark wit and wisdom, Rutledge explores Advent as a time of rich paradoxes, a season celebrating at once Christ’s incarnation and his second coming, and she masterfully unfolds the ethical and future-oriented significance of Advent for the church.


Can “White” People Be Saved? Triangulating Race, Theology, and Mission

by Love L. Sechrest (Editor), with contributions by Andrea Smith, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, and Erin Dufault-Hunter, IVP Academic

No one is born white. But while there is no biological basis for a white race, whiteness is real. What’s more, whiteness as a way of being in the world has been parasitically joined to Christianity, and this is the ground of many of our problems today. It is time to redouble the efforts of the church and its institutions to muster well-informed, gospel-based initiatives to fight racialized injustice and overcome the heresy of whiteness. Written by a world-class roster of scholars, Can “White” People Be Saved? develops language to describe the current realities of race and racism. It challenges evangelical Christianity in particular to think more critically and constructively about race, ethnicity, migration, and mission in relation to white supremacy.


A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World 

by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, IVP Books

Intertwined with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s story is the story of Moses, a leader who was born into a marginalized people group, resisted injustices of Pharaoh, denied the power of Egypt, and trusted God even when he did not fully understand or know where he was going. Along the way we courageously explore the spiritual and physical tensions of truth-telling, character and leadership development, and bridge building across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender lines.


Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up

by Kathy Khang, IVP Books

In some communities, certain voices are amplified and elevated while others are erased and suppressed. It can be hard to speak up, especially in the ugliness of social media. Power dynamics keep us silent and marginalized, especially when race, ethnicity, and gender are factors. What can we do about it? Activist Kathy Khang roots our voice and identity in the image of God. Because God created us in our ethnicity and gender, our voice is uniquely expressed through the totality of who we are. We are created to speak, and we can both speak up for ourselves and speak out on behalf of others. Khang offers insights from faithful heroes who raised their voices for the sake of God’s justice, and she shows how we can do the same today, in person, in social media, in organizations, and in the public square.


Urban Spirituality: Embodying God’s Mission in the Neighborhood

by Karina Kreminski, Urban Loft Publishers

Do we have a positive theology of the city so that an urban spirituality can emerge from this place? We have for too long focused on quick fixes, pop up churches, and strategic solutions which have left us malnourished and emaciated, yet bloated from our over-consumption of these unsatisfying approaches. Spiritual formation is something that we need to pay closer attention to today. How do we live this kind of holy life in the city?


Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much

by Ashley Hales, IVP Books

More than half of Americans live in the suburbs. Ashley Hales writes that for many Christians, however: “The suburbs are ignored (‘Your place doesn’t matter, we’re all going to heaven anyway’), denigrated and demeaned (‘You’re selfish if you live in a suburb; you only care about your own safety and advancement’), or seen as a cop-out from a faithful Christian life (‘If you really loved God, you’d move to Africa or work in an impoverished area’). In everything from books to Hollywood jokes, the suburbs aren’t supposed to be good for our souls.”
What does it look like to live a full Christian life in the suburbs? Suburbs reflect our good, God-given desire for a place to call home. And suburbs also reflect our own brokenness. This book is an invitation to look deeply into your soul as a suburbanite and discover what it means to live holy there.


Still Evangelical? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning

by Mark Labberton (Editor), with contributions from Lisa Sharon Harper, Karen Swallow Prior, and Sandra Maria Van Opstal, IVP Books

Who or what is defining the evangelical social and political vision? Is it the gospel or is it culture? For a movement that has been about the primacy of Christian faith, this is a crisis. This collection of essays was gathered by Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, who provides an introduction to the volume. What follows is a diverse and provocative set of perspectives and reflections from evangelical insiders who wrestle with their responses to the question of what it means to be evangelical in light of their convictions.


Voices Rising: Women of Color Finding and Restoring Hope in the City

by Shabrae Jackson Krieg and Janet Balasiri Singleterry (Editors), Sandra Maria Van Opstal (Foreword), Servant Partners Press

Voices Rising: Women of Color Finding & Restoring Hope in the City is a compilation of the stories of many women in mission. In these stories, themes of belonging, identity, calling, loss, and privilege emerge, outlining the difficulties in missions and challenging the image of this type of work by including new voices to help shape the narrative. Each author’s story of embracing her calling traces the discourse of intersectionality, margin, colonialism, and Scripture, aiming to invite and encourage others to participate in the mission of God within our world, and in whatever they may do.

  Is your reading list comprised of all male authors? Check out these 15 books published in 2018 by women authors, because we all need to #ReadWomen. Click To Tweet

What books by female authors are shaping you as a leader?