10 Books Every College Christian Absolutely Needs to Read


If someone were to ask me for a book recommendation, there are several factors that I would take into consideration. But if that person was a college student (or college-aged even if they weren’t currently attending a specific school), there would be an even more specific set of criteria that I would apply. You see, college is an incredibly important and formative time in any person’s life. The decisions that you make during this time have the potential to impact the rest of your life and shape your future in very tangible ways. And what you read influences-at least to some extent-how you go about making those decisions.

the ten

So I’ve complied a list of ten books that I would immediately recommend to any and all college students. Wait a second, you might say. TEN books? Isn’t that a bit much? My answer is no: if you just read one book a semester and one during your summer breaks you’d still have to come back for more recommendations from me before you finished your degree! But I’ll limit myself to ten here for now. Before actually getting to the list, a disclaimer and then the set of criteria I applied to this particular listing.

The DISCLAIMER is that I personally did not read most of these books until after completing my four years as a student at CSULB. But I wish I had! So if you are reading this and have already graduated, keep reading! Although the list is aimed at college-age students, it’s still a great list no matter who you are if there are some you haven’t read.

The set of QUALIFICATIONS that I used in selecting the books were as follows. The books had to be:

  • Short/Accessible. No overly technical or academic volumes here. Why recommend something that people might read 10 pages of and lose interest in just because of the form or style of the book and not the content?
  • Comprehensive as a group. The ten books couldn’t all be on one subject. Instead, I tried to compile a list that included fiction, personal finance, theology, and a whole host of other subjects/focuses.
  • Rereadable. A test of how valuable I consider a book’s contents to be is whether or not I would spend time rereading it. There are books that are just worth reading once and there are books worth reading a half dozen or more times. Each of these books on the list I have already reread or plan to reread.
  • Sharable. If you came over to my home and I found out you hadn’t read any one of these books, it’s almost certain that you’d leave with my personal copy in your hand to borrow OR to keep! These are books to buy multiple copies of so you can give them away and bless others with!

So what books made the list? Here they are (ordered alphabetically by author):

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FREEsources-The Master Plan of Evangelism


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“One living sermon is worth a hundred explanations.” -Robert Coleman

Jesus could have used just about any method to evangelize the world that he wanted. I mean, think about it. He could have just appeared to Caesar, converted him on the spot, and made the official religion of Rome (and thereby, the known world) Christianity right from the start. He could have been born a powerful member of the Sanhedrin, eventually becoming High Priest himself and leading the nation of Israel both in office and life. He even could have opened the mouths of animals or trees to preach for him or something equally and completely ridiculously supernatural…but he didn’t.

Instead, Jesus chose a group of nobodies from nowhere and trained them to be world changers. How did he do it? What was his secret? His “master plan” as it were. Well I’m glad you asked…

Robert Coleman’s classic “The Master Plan of Evangelism” is the resource on the intersection of discipleship and evangelism. He clearly and skillfully explains Jesus’ methods and shows how we can imitate them in our quest to be disciples of Christ. A book like this should be required reading in churches and groups everywhere!

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better resource than this and exponential.org is giving away an e-book of the updated edition of the book away for FREE! This updated edition is a companion piece to the original-Dr. Coleman summarizes each point in the original book and shares personal insights gathered in the 50+ years since he wrote the original.

You can download it here: Revisiting the Master Plan of Evangelism (you have to create an account with them, but it’s free to join).

Have you read “The Master Plan of Evangelism”? What were your thoughts? And what are other great resources on the subject?