What We Are Reading

We thought it would be fun to ask some of our staff team for a book that they're either currently reading or that has been especially impactful to their lives. We hope this helps you learn a little more about the staff at Fellowship and maybe even gives you an idea for your next favorite book!

What Rob is reading

Rob Sweet

Lead Pastor
Knowing the Heart of God by George MacDonald

George MacDonald was a 19th-century Scottish poet, preacher, and novelist who was a major influence on C.S. Lewis. This book is a compilation of some of MacDonald’s best sermons, poems, and fiction. For me, MacDonald’s writing has a way of burrowing its way underneath what I think I know, and helping me see old truth in a new light.

Lloyd Shadrach

Teaching Pastor
West with the Night by Beryl Markham

35 years ago when I flew a good bit in my work with FamilyLife, I found myself reading a short “book recommendation” section in the airline magazine and found this book listed there. It contains short stories of Markham's life growing up in Eastern Africa, written in such a way that you get transported to another world. In a way I could have never anticipated, 25 years later I would find myself in another airplane, much smaller, flying over East Africa and looking down on scenes she describes in her book on my way into South Sudan. It still ranks as some of the best writing I have ever read.

What Lloyd is reading
What Aaron is reading

Aaron Blanton

Executive Leader, Communications
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

Eugene’s writing style is one of my favorites. Every sentence is packed with knowledge and you can sense that each word is written from experience—not speculation. This book profoundly shaped my faith by helping me see that discipleship is not instant like a light switch. It’s a life-long, steady, slow-moving river that brings life to all who come to its banks.

William Koellein

Executive Leader, Finance & Operations
Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

This book helped me shift from trying to do the right things to please God (motivated by fear and pride, resulting in guilt shame) to learning about who I already am in Christ and what His desires are for me (motivated by love and gratefulness, resulting in gladness and peace).

What William is reading
What Carl is reading

Carl Cartee

Pastor of Worship & Arts
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

I’m currently reading this intriguing story of two pastor’s kids who invented the airplane and changed human history.

Nate Sousa

Director of Music, Worship & Arts
God Is The Gospel by John Piper

This book really opened my eyes to see the greatest (and ultimate) benefit of being a Christian is not a better life or receiving earthly blessings, but getting God Himself. I’m often reminded of the lessons in that book—not to make too much of the gifts, but to focus on the Giver.

What Nate is reading
What Brian is reading

Brian Yakaboski

Associate Pastor of Worship & Ar
Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster

I love this book because of how practical it is, and how much it highlights that in the spiritual world the old adage is true—“less is more”.

Luke Littrell

Manager of Technology and Events
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This book has impacted me as it opened my eyes to the mysterious spiritual world while helping me understand my utter depravity and need for Jesus.

What Luke is reading
What Will is reading

Will Heydel

Pastor of Fellowship Groups - Young Adults & Young Families
Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

I have read this book before and picked it up again. I am a sucker for books that deepen my awareness of my need of Jesus. Tozer states “The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things.”

Marilyn Hostetter-Kreider

Director of Human Resources; Manager of Accounts Payable
Surrender to Love by David Benner

This book has been impactful as it reminds us that we cannot give what we have not received—our willingness to cultivate an intimate love relationship with God is directly related to our ability to love others. When I am resting in my identity as ‘the one Jesus loves’, I am able to move into relationship with others with humility, compassion, and understanding. This lesson seems to be a never ending one (as the best ones always are)–ever deepening my awareness and need for Jesus, resulting in deepening transformation/sanctification of our hearts, compelling a deepening desire to give His love away.

What Marilyn is reading
What Courtney is reading

Courtney Young

3 YO - 1st Gr Coordinator, Fellowship Kids - Brentwood Campus
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

This book is reminding me the importance of sabbath. The “hurry” lifestyle that we live in is basically the opposite of biblical. It has been very convicting but also gives me the freedom to say no to extra stuff and not feel the guilt that I have in the past!

Leigh Anne Mefford

Director of Promiseland & Childcare - Brentwood Campus
Dare to Lead by Brenè Brown

This book has been really good for me, someone who hates having hard conversations, learn how important it is to make sure to be honest and vulnerable—and still lead well.

What Leigh Anne is reading
What Sarah is reading

Sarah Dalton

Project Manager, Communications
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

This book is a modern re-telling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, and Lewis is on record saying it’s his favorite of his own works. It’s a brutally honest portrayal of what it’s like to suffer hardship and how to find meaning in the midst of it. It has impacted me greatly over the last few years as this quote continually surfaces to my mind: “I ended my first book with the words 'no answer.' I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words.”

JJ Jones

Pastor of Fellowship Groups - Families & Adults
Subversive Sabbath by A.J. Swoboda

I am big on Sabbath. After almost burning out and leaving ministry 11 years ago, I have intentionally been learning how to practice and enjoy Sabbath. The truth is that in our busy, hurried, selfish, and performance-driven world—Sabbath is challenging for any of us to practice, much less live out. Sabbath goes against the very structures and systems of this world that we have constructed. It is, frankly, a resistance to that world we have created. Sabbath is subversive in that it is counters our culture and swims against the current of the systems we have built in which we constantly feel we must strive and achieve. As Swoboda puts it, “Sabbath is an alternate lifestyle that goes against everything our world knows.” Swoboda makes a case for a sound, biblical and challenging case for keeping Sabbath in a way that removes any legalism or skepticism. He lays out Sabbath as the way God intended us to rest and enjoy relationship with Him, each other, and creation. I love this book because even though I keep Sabbath well, it challenges me to understand and keep it better.

What JJ is reading
What Andrea is reading

Andrea Riley

Manager of Church Database
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

This was an impactful book for me. I also got to hear him speak in person about a year ago. He is my Hero here on earth. I have a picture of me and him together hanging in my office and I have his picture with me all the time in my card holder on the back of my cell phone in case anyone ever asks me “Who is your hero?” He spent 35 years on death row in Alabama for a crime that he did not commit. The last 16 years he spent on death row AFTER the state knew that he was innocent, but they kept the case tied up in technicalities. Anthony is black, but he became best friends with the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Anthony was with him right up to the wizard’s execution. The former wizard told him he loved Anthony and that Anthony was his best friend right before he died. His book and story are the most amazing testimony of reconciliation, forgiveness, and suffering for the cause of Christ. It was also my introduction to exploring the concept of social justice in the life of a Christian.