We are grateful for a first year of impacting readers. As we approach the end of 2018, it is helpful to reflect upon and evaluate the mission that we set out to accomplish. We desire to serve readers by helping them grow in their faith through good stories and writing, which reflects the Gospel:
LifeWay Books is curated by book enthusiasts from the LifeWay Books team. We believe one book can change the course of a life, and we aim to cultivate a greater love of books for all types of readers. Books have always been integral to faith, and our hope is that the content here calls the Church back to books. After all, books are small missionaries—commissioned and sent into the world with the power to change a life.
While we did not feel like an annual book award was necessary, we did feel that it was important to note some of the most beautiful and impactful books that helped us in our goal of cultivating a greater love for books. This year, we mentioned several books not sold on LifeWay.com or in our stores. Those books are not part of this list, but we do recommend them as well.
We’ve divided the year’s most notable books list into four categories, each of which intentionally has a different number of books. Although we would recommend dozens more amazing books published this year, the following list is our attempt to identify those that stood out in 2018.
Francis Chan writes books when he feels led by the Spirit and has something powerful to say. This is the fruit. Chan digs deeply into biblical truths, reveals reflections on his own failures and dreams, and shares stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.
Welcoming guests to your church can be awkward and often the biggest stumbling block to truly growing your church. Rainer delivers again another practical message to help churches become more welcoming.
Tim Keller shares wisdom in what we can learn from the story of Jonah. An angry prophet. A feared and loathsome enemy. A devastating storm. And the surprising message of a merciful God to His people.
God is the Creator of all things and He created us in His image. Creativity is woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Therefore, Christians should value and champion creativity as a vital part of our image-bearing role. Images and Idols is a theological and artistic exploration of creativity in the Christian life.
Seven out of ten kids will walk away from church after they turn eighteen. About five will return when they have families of their own. But two will never return. These are sobering facts and from Brian Dembowczyk and lessons brought by The Gospel Project. Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry addresses how to communicate with and encourage gospel-centered leaders and parents as part of their ministry.
Christian Living Books
Acclaimed author Karen Swallow Prior takes readers on a guided tour through works of great literature both ancient and modern, exploring twelve virtues that philosophers and theologians throughout history have identified as most essential for good character and the good life. This is a perfect book for anyone wanting to effectively critique good writing and apply it to their lives.
With engaging stories from her own life-changing encounter with radically ordinary hospitality, Butterfield equips Christians to use their homes as a means to showing a post-Christian world what authentic love and faith really look like.
Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Mackenzie knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. She offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.
Christianity Today recently announced this book as their 2019 “Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year.” In the book, Moore teaches readers whether you are married or single, whether you long for a child or shepherding a full house, you are part of a family. Family is difficult because family—every family—is an echo of the Gospel.
Most know Tripp as the bestselling author of the beautiful New Morning Mercies. Paul David Tripp weaves together his personal story, years of counseling experience, and biblical insights to help us in the midst of suffering, identifying six traps to avoid and six comforts to embrace in his book Suffering.
Influenced heavily by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Jason Duesing crafted a beautiful perspective on hope. Mere Hope offers the core Christ-centered perspective that all Christians share, and that Christians alone have to offer a world filled with frustration, pain, and disappointment. For those in darkness, despair, and discouragement, for those in the midst of trials, suffering, and injustice, mere hope lives.
Michael Kelley wrestles with Jesus’ words that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the likes of little children. If that is true, then we must grow down in characteristics that make us functional and effective adults, if we want to truly grow up in Christ.
The cover and the content of this book are absolutely beautiful. As a 100-day devotional, it is a pastor’s encouragement, written with a congregation in mind, to build a life centered on God’s Word. Each day’s reading starts with the Scripture. The devotionals expand upon it and are designed to shape your mind by a vision of God and stir your heart’s affection for Him.
Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, a leading New Testament scholar, shares his personal experience related to spiritual gifts, but more importantly, he unpacks what the Bible has to say about them.
Darling offers helpful perspective in an age of divide in politics and even our faith. The Dignity Revolution shows us how wonderful, liberating, and empowering it is to be made in God’s image. Embracing this truth changes how we see ourselves and all other humans, and how we treat and advocate for them.
Ramsey shares how the purposes of God culminated in the coming of Jesus, in twenty-five readings ideal for Christmas or any season of meeting the Savior. The stories are told afresh to help readers hide God’s Word in their hearts by way of their imaginations.
Author Brent Crowe creatively peels back the curtain of the Apostle Paul’s final hours. In the book he imaginatively retells the last twelve hours of Paul’s life, from the perspective of the apostle himself. Along the way, readers will be encouraged to live with purpose, to redeem the time, and to embrace the awesome reality that they too are on a sacred journey.
Noble lays out individual, ecclesial, and cultural practices that disrupt our society’s deep-rooted assumptions and point beyond them to the transcendent grace and beauty of Jesus. This book casts a new vision for the evangelical imagination, calling us away from abstraction and cliché to a more faithful embodiment of the Gospel for our day.
From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.”
Moore shares how you can reframe your own story, begin seeing God’s story breaking into your life in the everyday moments, leave behind mediocrity, and become a part of that beautiful story.
This must-read book for living in today’s culture is not just a handbook for how we love others and speak truth. It is also a beautiful story of how God redeems and tears down the idols we make for ourselves, no matter what those are. This is a book that will make you love both God and your neighbor more.
Much in life cannot be expected or anticipated, but this doesn’t mean we have to live in fear. This book offers real-life strategies for embracing the unexpected and trusting the God whom we know is in control.
In this book, Jen Wilkin discusses ten ways that God’s people are to reflect His character. When we view our call as representatives of God on the earth, we live with a different level of intentionality and purpose. This book will compel you not only to live a life worthy of being a reflection of God, but also to worship the God who so artfully made you.
Everyone has moments in their past that they would rather not share. In this vulnerable book, Jamie discusses her past and the fear that “if you only knew” the whole truth, you’d certainly think differently about her. It’s a story of God moving and redeeming her life and His ability to do the same for you.
Is God really kind? When life doesn’t feel kind, we can lose sight of what we know to be true about Him. Yet, in both the good and the bad, we are called to remember God. God’s people have been building altars throughout history as reminders of His goodness and presence—all to remember God.
Sometimes, disappointments are actually divine appointments. Lysa TerKeurst knows this well through her own story. If you are in a place where life feels like it is falling apart, Lysa’s words will be medicine to your soul. God often gives us more than we can handle on our own, but when we give these things to God, that’s when our lives can be made whole again.
We saw a recurring theme in women’s books in 2018: embracing one’s true identity while understanding that the world we live in is not completely what God designed it to be. Sheila Walsh and Lysa TerKeurst wrestle with this in a beautiful and honest way.
This beautifully written toddler board book dares to ask the question, Who Sang the First Song? Through lovely illustrations, author Ellie Holcomb reveals the truth that God our maker sand the first song and He’s given each of us a song to sing.
Not only is this book beautiful, but it’s super practical and not imposing at all. It’ a questions and answers format that you can work through at your own pace with your family. Plus if you have super inquisitive kids that ask a lot of questions, you can pick up the Cornerstones Parent Guide that will help equip you with the right answers for your little theologians.
This unique board book uses colorful and engaging art to introduce little ones to the Gospel using the animal kingdom. From the fall to prophecy to the incarnation, this book is designed to help your kids get a greater understanding of the animal kingdom.
In this sequel to Priscilla Shirer’s bestselling trilogy, The Prince Warriors return to Ahoratos to find it bare and dangerous. The Winter War is upon them! Don’t miss the adventures of the prince warriors, perfect for all middle-grade readers!
A whimsical addition to the family’s bookshelf. For those who love Bob Goff and his bestseller Love Does, this is a book full of crazy stories of adventure between Bob and his daughter Lindsey that will inspire any parent and child.
This encouraging story shows how life changes when we learn to value those who are differently abled and to champion the power of thoughtfulness. This beautiful story teaches our children the need to be “thoughtFULL” — full of thoughtfulness and awareness, especially to those who have special needs.
Told mostly through a mother-daughter conversation, this sweet story is careful to affirm relationships with the good, strong daddies here on earth, but it is also comforting for children who might be struggling due to divorce or the loss of a father.
If you’ve read to this point, you’ve discovered that there are a lot of wonderful books published in 2018. May these books be a celebration of reading for you and your family.