Top five books on evangelism

Following on from posts of evangelism under the rubric love Jesus, love people, love life, I thought I’d give you my top five books one evangelism in ascending order …

5. Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Kingsway/Eerdmans) 

A now classic treatment of, well, of evangelism in the early church (but with plenty of application for today).

4. Nick Pollard, Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult (IVP)

A good introduction to worldviews and how they can help us engage with people.

3. John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (IVP)

Not one of Stott’s best known works, but one I found extremely helpful and recently reissued as an ‘IVP Classic’. It’s based on his talks at the first Lausanne Congress in 1974. (As it happens, I recently received an invitation to the third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town in 2010).

2. John Chapman, Know and Tell the Gospel (Matthias Media)

A great easy-to-read introduction to the theology and practice of evangelism.

1. Jim Peterson, Living Proof (NavPress) 

This is my favourite, though it seems to be unavailable. It combines and revises Peterson’s classic books on personal evangelism, Evangelism as a Lifestyle and Evangelism for Our Generation.

What would you include in your top five? Here are the rules: it has to be a book that is about evangelism narrowly defined as sharing the good news with people – so I’ve left out lots of worthy books on missiology and church planting.

Finally let me add an honourable mention of our own Total Church: Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church (IVP/Crossway) AmazonUK AmazonUS. Total Church pleads for two key principles for church and mission. First, the gospel as content: being word centred (for the gospel is truth) and being mission centred (for the gospel is truth to be proclaimed). Secondly, the community as context: sharing our lives as Christians and offering a place of belonging to unbelievers.

Total Church Total Church

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12 thoughts on “Top five books on evangelism

  1. 1. Promoting the Gospel – John Dickson
    2. Questioning Evangelism – Randy Newman
    3. Know & Tell the Gospel – John Chapman
    4. Out of the saltshaker – Rebecca Pippert
    5. Evangelism chapter in Total Church – Tim Chester (trying not to be sycophantic)

  2. Tim, I looked at your lists for church planting and missiology. What would be your top 3-5 in each of those categories (I doubt I’ll have time to read even half of each of those lists!).


  3. Questioning Evangelism-Randy Newman (hands down the best I’ve read)
    The Heart of Evangelism – Jerram Barrs
    Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God – J.I. Packer
    The Celtic Way of Evangelism – George Hunter
    Ancient-Future Evangelism – Robert Webber

  4. Though I would have scores of books on evangelism/mission or those which are related to evangelism in some way, some of these books do not necessarily tell me ‘how to’ do evangelism but rather ‘fire the heart’ with a passion for God and in turn inspire me ‘to seek and save that which is lost’.

    5.The George Verwer collection – three in one: ‘No Turning Back’,’Hunger for reality’and ‘Revolution of love’. If you email him he might just send you them for free!

    4.John Wesley’s Standard Sermons

    3.John Stott: ‘The Comtemporary Christian’ Chapters on the Christology of Evangelism. Brilliant.

    2.John Stott: ‘The guilty silence’

    1.Charles Spurgeon : The soull Winner.- I challenge anyone to read this book without feeling a powerful to pray for and seek to reach out to those without Christ.Email me if you disagree.

  5. When I saw the title I thought I would have to leave a comment suggesting that Jim Petersen’s book should be in your list. Was surprised/pleased to see it at number one. Best book on evangelism I have ever read!

  6. Thanks to everyone for their comments. I’m glad people included Questioning Evangelism – Randy Newman. I’ve heard many good reports of it so I nearly put it myself, but then I haven’t read it so I thought that was cheating! I’m glad, John, you agreed with Peterson as Number One. It seems to be difficult to get hold of which is a real shame.

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  8. Top three books on missiology and church planting?! Tough one. Often depends what the issue is.

    On missiology part one of The Missionary Movement in Christian History is essential reading. Transforming Mission by David Bosch is the classic text book. I would also recommend The Gospel in a Pluralist Society and, though 100 years old, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? still feels ahead of its time! Perhaps I can also add my own Good News to the Poor.

    On church planting I would of course start with Total Church. The Forgotten Ways is very stimulating. But one of the books that most influenced me was Going to the Church in the First Century, Robert Banks’ brief fictional account (albeit based on his through NT scholarship) of, well, going to church in the first century.

  9. Pingback: Tim Chester’s top picks on evangelism, church planting and missiology « God is Better than All

  10. Hi Tim,

    Please may I have your email address? I’d like to correspond with you concerning the following:
    1. Your possible visit to SA in 2010 (and whether you can include Durban and Pietermaritzburg in your trip).
    2. Permission to use your statement of faith and to adapt your core values.

    My email is pierre.and.donne at gmail.


    Pierre Queripel
    Church on the Ridge

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