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11 Books that Influenced Me the Most in 2011

Here are the books that shaped me the most over the past year. Most are newer books, but there are a few that have been around a bit. None of these titles are especially practical in nature. The books that impact me are those that help me think so that I can offer a different perspective on practical ministry.

Missional by Alan Roxburgh—I got the privilege of reading this in manuscript form three years ago. It shocked me then. After reading it for the third time this year, I realize how the message of this book is so prophetic that most of us are not yet ready to digest it. But I challenge you to try. Click here for my review.

Disruptive Grace by Walter Breuggemann—This book opened the Old Testament up to me in way that surprised me. He demonstrated how the Old Testament narrative connects to life in the West and the call of the church.

After You Believe by N.T. Wright. This insightful exposition of New Testament passages that highlight the call to practice our faith for the development of character is worth multiple readings. I’ve already read large chunks of it twice.

The Only Necessary Thing by Henri Nouwen. All I can say is Wow! This is a collection of his best writings and reflections on prayer.

Simplicity by Richard Rohr. You won’t agree with everything he writes, but the way he challenges the dominant idols of Western culture is prophetic.

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin. This must be my fourth time to read this book. I see new things every time and wonder how I could have missed the deep wisdom in previous readings.

The End of Evangelicalism? By David Fitch. Fitch challenges the three major tenants of evangelical thinking and church life. What are they? Read the book. Or read my review by clicking here.

Practice Resurrection By Eugene Peterson. This unusual exposition and reflection of Ephesians will make you pray unusually.

The Missional Church in Perspective by Van Gelder and Zscheile. This book frames the conversation for the missional conversation and it sets the course for future development.

Cross and Covenant by Larry Shelton. This theological treatment of the atonement through a covenantal paradigm is illustrated via the author’s experience with a heart transplant.

Improvisation by Samuel Wells—This books is helping me make sense of so much with regard to ethics and theology and even ecclesiology.

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M. Scott Boren is a Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in Saint Paul, MN and consultant who partners with The Missional Network (www.themissionalnetwork.com). He has written and co-written eight books, including Introducing the Missional Church, Missional Small Groups and MissioRelate. He share life with his bride, Shawna, and their four children, all under the age of eight. He can be reached at his website: www.mscottboren.com.