Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.
– Michael Dell
A tremendous challenge I face as an international missionary is being, in a manner of speaking, the smartest person in the room, biblically speaking. My job is evangelism, church planting, and discipleship and as such, leadership deliberately places me in areas where Christians are few. As a result, I lack the fellowship of mature believers with more experience, knowledge, learning, and age who can challenge me. Even when local brothers in Christ have insight and understanding exceeding my own, dynamics of respect and position in the community often limit their willingness to instruct and guide me.
Ministers and missionaries around the world rank their personal walk with Christ as their biggest challenge. The consistent pull of duties, languages, cultures, and family distract us from daily prayer, meditation, and Bible study. The stresses of failure, temptation, and finances fatigue us, leading down the pathway of burnout and sin. Being “the smartest person in the room” makes it less likely I’ll have someone close by to nudge me back along the right path, or inspire me to tap into the strength we have in Christ.
Thankfully, once every three or four years someone hands me $100 for books. I can buy any book that will feed me spiritually or train me vocationally. I also receive funds for retreats, online classes, and other materials that are not primarily printed. Sadly, because my surroundings lack experienced Christian readers, I have no idea what to buy. Therefore, dear readers, I request your input.
Please recommend your top five books you would suggest for a maturing, ministering Christian desiring additional growth. Also list five recommended courses, videos, series, classes that are not printed (Kindle or paper). A few rules:
No seminary classes; it’s a long story, but it just won’t fit the bill.
No CS Lewis or GK Chesterton.
No David Platt.
No Christian fiction/Joel Osteen.
Videos must be closed captioned.
No women-centric materials.
No family or manhood materials.
No history of Baptists, SBC, or Calvinism.
Aim for Kindle, not print. The airlines have weight limits.
Less devotional, more theological and thought-provoking.
I look forward to your responses.