Author Info: Josh is passionate about studying the Bible and having deep conversations with college students at American University and Georgetown University. In his spare time, he can be found with a book, a video game, or outdoors in a hammock, normally fueled by caffeine. You can connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page. 

Growing up in south Georgia, the summer months were sweltering. However, almost on a weekly basis, there would be great thunderstorms that rolled through the area. When this happened, I would get out of the swimming pool, go inside and wait it out with a good book. Summer reading was never a problem for me, and I still find myself yearning for those times of listening to the rain and jumping into a literary adventure. 

This summer, I am reading through a few books for personal enjoyment and spiritual/leadership development. Here’s a few of the books that I would recommend adding to your reading list if you wanted to join in! 

1) “The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture” - Glen Weldon

In this book, Glen Weldon examines the cultural history of the Dark Knight, and why so many people in culture today identify with the Batman movement, and what it has to say about us. Totally worth your time, whether you are a comic book fan or not! 

2) “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis” - Tim Townsend

This book tells the historical account of Henry Gerecke, an Army Chaplain who was assigned to minister to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. If you are a history buff, this is definitely a must-read! 

3) “Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” - Donald Miller

Donald Miller recounts his spiritual journey in this series of essays, offering a thought-provoking critique of the Christian institution, and arguing for an emotional experience with God. 

4) “Leaders Who Last” - Dave Kraft

In this book, Dave Kraft talks about healthy leadership in three main areas: Foundations, Formations, and Fruitfulness. This is a beneficial read for anyone in leadership, or even anyone who has a position of influence. 

5) “College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture” - Stephen Lutz

The university is one of the most strategic ministry fields in the world. This book is for those who are working or planning on working on a college campus, and Stephen Lutz addresses the challenges that campus ministers face in a post-Christian culture. 

6) “Steve Jobs” - Walter Isaacson

In this biography of the late Apple co-founder and CEO, Isaacson writes about the life of one of the greatest leaders of this decade. Many lessons on innovation, leadership, and character can be learned from the life of this visionary leader. 

7) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate” - John Walton

John Walton explores the human origin story in Genesis 2-3, endeavoring to discuss these events in light of the cultural and textual world of the ancient Near East. A thought provoking read as Walton explores the dichotomy of Christian theology and competing scientific claims. 

8) Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - Peter Scazzero

It is impossible to be spiritually mature if one is emotionally immature.  Scazzerro writes on his story and this integration of emotional health and Christian spirituality, and then offers seven biblical ways to break out of emotional distress and into the realm of emotionally healthy spirituality. 

9) “Jesus of Arabia: Understanding the Teachings of Christ through the Culture of the Arabian Gulf” - Andrew Thompson

“Jesus of Arabia” looks at the similarities and differences of Christianity and Islam from the context understood by a Middle Eastern audience. What did Jesus actually say? Andrew Thompson, chaplain at Abu Dhabi’s Anglican church, expounds upon the teachings of Jesus and their impact on the Middle East then, and now.

Published on July 5, 2016 • Short Link:

AuthorBlane Young
CategoriesStaff Posts

One of the things that I love about the summer months is that there's a little more time in our schedules (as Campus Missionaries) for personal and leadership development. Well, as I talked to students at the end of the semester, I realized that I kept recommending the same short-list of books in nearly every conversation. So, I thought I'd share them here just in case anyone is looking for reading material. 

Book 1 - Want More? 

Now, I'm actually reading this book with a few students this summer because I haven't read it before. But it came highly recommended to me from a few friends on staff at Chi Alpha at the University of Virginia. Basically, it's a practical yet theologically rich book about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer today.

We have students from dozens of different theological and denominational backgrounds, but I think what Francis Chan identified in Forgotten God is completely accurate. Christians today have a low view or little knowledge about the Holy Spirit. This book does come from a pentecostal perspective and as a pentecostal myself, I do my best to encourage our students to explore this theological topic personally. It's not that I want everyone to believe in the same things that I do, but I'd like for more people (myself included) to build our theology from biblical doctrine instead of from our experiences. It takes time and careful study, but it's always worth it. 

Amazon Link || Want More? by Tim Enloe

Book 2 - The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 

I know that everyone isn't a John Maxwell fan like I am but what I appreciate about this book is that it provides a basic framework for processing information about leadership. In turn, it allows for people to get a handle on what it means to influence people so that they can assess themselves, have conversations about leadership and identify strengths they have as a leader that they may not have had language to describe. 

Of course, information doesn't make someone a leader (or even a better one) but most college students I know haven't read any books on the topic of leadership and I think this one is a solid place to start. I had a mentor walk with me through the content of this book via VHS lectures from John Maxwell about ten years ago, but I'm looking forward to a refresher course this summer and a chance to discuss the topic of leadership with a few of the guys I mentor. 

Amazon Link || The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Book 3 - Habitudes (Chi Alpha Edition)

If you haven't read anything by Tim Elmore, Habitudes is a wonderful place to start. He basically shares a leadership principle and discussion questions based around a picture. For instance, he shares the lesson of the starving baker. And in short, it's describing the person that gives and gives but never takes care of themselves. So, in Habitudes, he has a picture of a sad, starving baker and goes into depth to tell this parable before sharing the principle. 

My favorite part of this book (and the series as a whole) is that the format really lends itself to people committing these stories and principles to memory for the long haul. I used one of the Habitudes books as the curriculum for a small group a few years ago and to this day, I've had conversations with those guys and they've at least remembered a handful of the lessons we discussed! 

Well, just a few weeks ago, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries partnered with Tim Elmore and Growing Leaders to put out a new edition of Habitudes that specifically discusses the leadership principles we hold most dear in our organization. The price is a little steep and I think it's only available in print, but I think it's worth it! 

Purchase Online Habitudes (Chi Alpha Edition) by Tim Elmore & Harvey Herman 


Which one of the books above look most interesting to you? What other books are on your summer reading list? 

AuthorBlane Young