As the year comes to a close, the staff at Watermark Community Church wanted to provide our top recommendations for books that should be on your list for 2021. While it has been a difficult year for all of us, books like these have helped us learn along the way and have impacted our staff immensely. Consider picking one up for Christmas or gifting one to a friend. Regardless of how you engage, we pray that these titles encourage, challenge, and sharpen you as you live out your faith.
Note: These recommendations are not wholesale endorsements. Not every author will be perfectly aligned with what we believe. So, as you read, ask the Lord for discernment and wisdom.
Get Out of Your Head
By Jennie Allen
Do you often find yourself spiraling with negative and toxic thoughts? In Get Out of Your Head, Jennie Allen explains how we can take control of our thoughts by submitting our minds to Christ. If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed by life, give this book a read.
By James Clear
In 2020, we’ve watched many of our best habits disappear and many of our worst resurface. However, this does not have to be the case. In Atomic Habits, James Clear does a phenomenal job of outlining how we can form new lasting habits and break our old bad ones.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
By John Mark Comer
There are few things that damage our emotional and spiritual health quite like hurry and busyness. John Mark Comer details how staying afloat in our modern world demands seeking after a slower and simpler life. If you are feeling rushed or hurried, make this your next read.
Freedom Starts Today (Releases January 19, 2021)
By John Elmore
You can be free from your struggles and addictions. Freedom is possible. In Freedom Starts Today, Watermark’s own John Elmore walks you through how to break the cycles of addiction make war against sin and walk without shame in the power of the Spirit.
By Adam Grant
What roles do originality and non-conformity play in success? As Adam Grant articulates in Originals, thinking outside the box and championing new ideas has the power to change the world. If you or your workplace feel stuck, Originals may have something for you.
By Dan Heath
Why is it that we so often choose to be reactive rather than proactive? In Upstream, Dan Heath explains the importance of identifying and anticipating problems ahead of time. This book will help you to find solutions for problems you may be ignoring or even unaware of.
The Ride of a Lifetime
By Robert Iger
Robert Iger was CEO of The Walt Disney Company for 15 years. During that time, his vision and values shaped Disney into what we see today. In The Ride of a Lifetime, you can follow along with the principles and practices Iger believes are essential for leadership.
The Pilgrim’s Regress, Wade Annotated Edition
By C.S. Lewis
Likely the most academic and difficult recommendation on this list, The Pilgrim’s Regress is Lewis’s famed allegorical work inspired by Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (another Watermark favorite). This new annotated edition makes this classic more readable than ever.
Ordering Your Private World
By Gordon MacDonald
When life feels chaotic, we often look to external circumstance as the reason why. However, Gordon MacDonald argues in Ordering Your Private World that often our busyness and anxiety stem from a disordered private life. By first ordering our private world, we can more faithfully serve in the public realm.
The Gathering Storm
By Albert Mohler
In The Gathering Storm, Albert Mohler reveals how secularism affects both culture and church in our modern world. These secular ideologies and worldviews can wreak much havoc if left unchecked. Thankfully, by holding fast to the gospel, we can push back and remain faithful.
By David Murray
Now more than ever, David Murray’s Reset is helpful and applicable. In it, Murray offers hope and encouragement for those who feel on the edge of burnout. By understanding our warning signs and establishing healthy rhythms, we can recalibrate to a grace-paced life.
Gentle and Lowly
By Dane Ortlund
Gentle and Lowly is perhaps the perfect book to read as 2020 comes to a close. Dane Orlund expresses the significance that Jesus was “gentle and lowly in heart.” Even when we feel the furthest from God, we need reminders like this that He is for us in the midst of suffering.
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
By Eugene Peterson
In a world that craves instant gratification and fulfillment, discipleship can feel slow, inefficient, or even boring. “Why hasn’t Jesus fixed me yet?” Eugene Peterson so beautifully articulates that discipleship to Jesus isn’t instant, but rather A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
Something Needs to Change
By David Platt
In Something Needs to Change, Platt explains that we cannot simply talk about the gospel without also seeking for that same gospel to make a difference in the world. If you struggle to answer some of life’s toughest questions, this book will be an incredible journey.
Outdated: Finding Love that Lasts When Dating Has Changed (Releases March 2, 2021)
By Jonathan Pokluda and Kevin McConaghy
JP has counseled thousands of young adults through what it looks like to date in a biblical and healthy way. In Outdated, he explains the practicalities of why to date, who to date, and how to date. If you are in a season of life where you find yourself dating, this book is for you.
Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World
By Rebecca Reynolds
In Courage, Dear Heart, Rebecca uses a series of letters full of powerful imagery and language, to provide comfort and encouragement for those feeling burdened or beat down. Looking for an uplifting read? Look no further.
Knowledge of the Holy
By A.W. Tozer
A.W. Tozer outlines in Knowledge of the Holy that it is by understanding God more deeply that we experience Him more fully. In its pages, you will come to a deeper understanding of God’s attributes and how they apply to your life.
Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church
By Paul David Tripp
What exactly prevents leaders from burning out and leaving ministry? In Lead, Tripp covers twelve practical and gospel-focused principles for cultivating a healthy community of leadership. This book helps form a groundwork for combatting the leadership crisis in our world.
Women of the Word
By Jen Wilkin
In this phenomenally helpful book, Jen Wilkin helps women develop practical and passionate reading of Scripture. If you are struggling to get much out of your time in the Bible, pick up a copy of Women of the Word.