Helpful books

A large range of books which clergy might find useful.

Grove Books

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BIBLICAL Series: Reading Gospel Stories in Today’s World­ –  Stephen Wright
This creative study looks at ways in which we can encounter the gospel stories afresh as good news. It includes a worked example, and offers a range of strategies for engaging imaginatively with fresh perspectives.
ISBN: 9781851747597

EVANGELISM Series: Friendship and Exchange with People of Other Faiths: A Context for Witness and Dialogue­ – Celia Blackden
This study explores how ‘friendship and exchange’ might be a helpful paradigm in interfaith relations, how it involves both greater understanding of the other as well as greater confidence in ourselves, and suggests practical ways in which this idea might be put into practice.
ISBN: 9781851747658

EDUCATION Series: Church Schools in a Multi-faith Community – Peter French
This study considers the theological issues concerning multi-faith schools and then looks at the example of three schools in contrasting situations, drawing out conclusions from examples of good practice.
ISBN: 9781851747634

YOUTH Series: An Introduction to Managing Yourself -­ Jo Whitehead
This practical exploration looks at the different dimensions of self-management, key issues and resources, and ways in which ministry
with potential might become ministy that is fruitful.
ISBN: 9781851747702

LEADERSHIP Series: Discerning Leadership; Cooperating with the Go-Between God – Graham Cray
To launch the new Grove Leadership series, Graham Cray explores what it means for leaders to cultivate an environment that innovates and releases the missional imagination present in a community of God’s people by virtue of the Spirit’s presence, and what that means for the worldview, charisms, character and experience of such leaders.
ISBN: 9781851747641

ETHICS Series: Walking in Another’s Shoes: Ethical Perspectives on the Experience of Those Seeking  Asylum – Ruth Worsley & Karen Rooms
Drawing on theological themes of hospitality, help, health and hope, this booklet goes beyond the question “How can we help?” and asks, “What can we learn from the person seeking sanctuary?”
ISBN: 9781851747627

YOUTH Series: Thinking Biblically About Sex – Steve Emery-Wright
This study looks at both culture and biblical theology, finds that there is a lot more to be said, and explores the range of ways in which churches and youth ministries can provide a context for healthy engagement in the issues for young people.
ISBN: 9781851747610

ETHICS Series: Mirroring Jesus as Leader – Peter Shaw
Jesus was a compelling leader – what are the features of good leadership?  Peter Shaw identifies six characteristics of Jesus as visionary, servant, teacher, coach, radical and healer.  Within this framework, he looks at current leadership.
ISBN: 1851745750

PASTORAL Series: Coaching In the Church: Leadership and Growing the Skills of Those Around You – Martyn Snow and Huw Thomas
How does the church grow leaders?  And how do we grow the sort of leaders who grow the gifts and skills of those around them?
ISBN: 9781851746989

Leading Change in the Church (and Involving Everyone in the Process) – Martyn Snow
Every church leader faces the issue of leading change.  How do we respond to the changes going on all around us?  When should we be initiating change?  What sort of process is needed to deliver sustainable development and growth?  This booklet offers a framework of principles and values to help those seeking to lead change in the church.
ISBN: 9781851747337

Discerning Leadership; Cooperating with the Go-Between God – Graham Cray
This is the first in a new Grove series on “Leadership” series.  Graham Cray revisits John V Taylor’s classic “Go-Between God” and advocates patterns of skilled and enabling leadership which do not try to “maximise support for a pre-existing plan” or look to “off the shelf strategies”.  The focus on is discernment, listening (including to changing contexts) and co-operation with the Spirit.  He writes “The essence of “go-between leadership” is enabling the church to listen to the Spirit, “the Go-Between God” together”.

WORSHIP Series: 203 – Reader Ministry Today, Charles Read & Phillip Tovey
Reader Ministry is rapidly changing, in part because the nature of public worship is changing, and in part because Readers have a wider range of ministries than previously.  What does this mean for the shape and nature of Reader ministry?  Should the name change?  What training is needed?  And should this ministry be seen as a step on the path to ordination?  This up-to-date study explores the key questions now being raised.
ISBN: 9781851747580

SPIRITUALITY Series: 113 – Julian of Norwich: Saying “Yes” To God, George Tolley
Julian of Norwich, living in the 14th century, describes herself as uneducated, weak and frail.  Yet, as this booklet shows, her “Revelations of Divine Love” has vitality and relevance for modern readers.  She takes us to the heart of issues of pain, suffering and evil in God’s world, the nature of prayer, the fragmentation of the human person.  She gives a resounding message of hope, a challenge to say “Yes” to God, because “love was God’s meaning.”
ISBN: 9781851747573

EVANGELISM Series: 90 – More to Life: A Model for Mission for the Local Church in the 21st Century, John Samways
How can we engage in meaningful mission which is effective and feels good for churches and the local community?  “More to Life” was an integrated, community-blessing, approach to mission that ran through 2008.  This study shares the story of how it came to be, what made it work well, what could have been done better, and how you could make it work in your context.
ISBN: 9781851747566

EDUCATION Series:  3 – Called to Teach: Teaching as a Mission Vocation, Trevor Cooling
Recovery of a sense of missional vocation to teaching is vital.  This thoughtful study looks at the challenges, including secular assumptions about neutrality, inclusion and professionalism, and sets out a way forward in seeing teaching as a positive, Christian transformative influence in society.
ISBN: 9781851747542

ETHICS Series: 157 Preaching on Ethical Issues, Greg Forster
Very often we hear the call for the church to “say something” about a burning ethical issue.  But preaching on these things is fraught with danger and so often avoided.  This study considers Jesus’ own approach to ethical teaching, and follows this trajectory in the New Testament to find an agenda for a reflecting, learning community that thinks and acts ethically and then suggests key ways we can preach to encourage this.
ISBN: 9781851747535

RENEWAL Series: 40 What is the Spirit Saying to the Church?  Letters from Seven Churches, Mark Tanner (Ed)
In this last booklet in the Renewal series, seven members of the editorial group share an insight into what they believe God is saying to the church in the UK at the present time.  In amongst the discouragements, there are some wonderful encouragements.  And amongst the diversity, there are also common themes in how God is shaping and equipping his people for fruitful ministry.
ISBN: 9781851747559

BIBLICAL Series: B 55 Reading Isaiah: A Beginner’s Guide – Richard Briggs.
Isaiah is a book of central importance in the Christian Scriptures and yet it is also a long, complex book, at times bordering on the obscure.  This masterly exploration looks at the range of issues and, through study of particular texts, opens up issues of history, theology and Isaiah’s place in the Bible and reflects on how it might be preached today.
ISBN: 9781851747504

BIBLICAL Series: B 15 Using the Bible with Children – Rosemary Cox
What principles should govern the ways in which we use the Bible with children?  Despite recent scholarly thinking about the nature of Scripture, much work with children follows a “Sunday School” pattern, focusing on a single story, a central character and a clear moral.  This study argues we should be putting our teaching in context of the “big story” of the Bible and be faithful to the variety of ways in which the Bible itself teaches.
ISBN: 1851744282

BIBLICAL Series B 40 What’s the Bible All About? Understanding the Story of the Bible – Ian Paul and Philip Jenson
This booklet offers a refreshing overview of the Bible’s story – not a simplification but a careful summary – which will enable the reader to see how the different parts relate to the central themes of this life-changing, world-changing story.
ISBN: 1851746242

BIBLICAL Series B 51 How the New Testament Came Together – Peter Head
Beginning with Jesus and the documents which arose from the apostolic testimony to him in the first century, this booklet traces how Paul’s letters and the four gospels came to be grouped together and how the basic shape and contents of the New Testament emerged by the end of the second century.
ISBN: 9781851747146

BIBLICAL Series B 47 The Bible Through Muslim Eyes – and a Christian Response – Peter Head
This fascinating study looks at Muslim expectations concerning scripture and explains why Christians view the Bible differently from how Muslims view the Qur’an.  As such, it’s a powerful aid to opening dialogue.
ISBN: 9781851746811

BIBLICAL Series B 48 The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony – Richard Bauckham
In a major new work, Richard Bauckham questions the basic assumptions of form criticism and demonstrates that the gospels are essentially reliable eyewitness accounts.  This summary of his case shows why it will change the shape of New Testament studies for years to come.
ISBN: 9781851746897

WORSHIP Series: W 202 How to Plan Seasonal Events: A Drama in Four Parts – Trevor Lloyd
Recent liturgical resources have reintroduced a wide range of seasonal provision.  But how do these it in with the rhythms of modern life?  And are they really biblical?  This engaging study offers an imagined discussion about the issues, draws out the key principles and suggests a range of possibilities along with resources – certain to provoke fresh thought and action.
ISBN: 9781851747498

WORSHIP Series: W 174 Common Worship in Church Schools: An Experiment in Integration – Ian Dewar
This booklet outlines an experiment in one school and church.  It offers some challenging and creative questions about the integration of worship between church and school and shows how these can open up positive opportunities for mission and nurture.
ISBN: 185174522

ETHICS Series: E 156 Transforming Capitalism: Entrepreneurship and the Renewal of Thrift – Peter Heslam
Faith and enterprise are often seen as irreconcilable, as impossible to mix as oil and water.  And yet they share deep roots when considered in the context of God’s project to transform the world by his presence.  This penetrating study touches on theological, ethical and practical issues and includes case studies that point to a positive future for transforming capitalism.
ISBN: 9781851747450

ETHICS Series: E 104 Education: Vision, Ethos & “Values” – Greg Forster
An exploration of the challenge of balancing the different aspects of the life of a school – its achievements, ethos, moral direction – under the pressures of the education system.
ISBN: 1851743359

PASTORAL Series: P 121 Taking A Wedding: A Step-By-Step Guide for Church of England Ministers – Greg Forster
Weddings involve piloting a couple past an important milestone in their lives and the legalities matter!  This thorough – and thoroughly readable – guide looks at all the regulatory aspects of taking a wedding, including canon law, state law and how to respond to a whole range of possible challenges and problems.
ISBN: 9781851747511

PASTORAL Series: P 111 Boys, God and the Church: How Churches can Help Boys Grow in Faith…and Why They Do Not! – Nick Harding
Boys are seriously under-represented in church and their specific needs seem a current blind spot in mission-shaped thinking.  Educationalists are now addressing the under-achievement of boys in schools; will churches accept the challenge to become more boy-friendly?
ISBN: 9781851746668

RENEWAL Series: R 30 Keeping Our Kids – Chris Leach
In many churches, working with young people is not the main challenge – as many have already dropped out by the age of 10.  Is this dropping off inevitable?  The author of this study believes not, because she has seen children come through the “drop-off” years and grow into maturity in her own context. This study explores why this is such a crucial issue, and how to enable children to grow into mature discipleship.
ISBN: 9781851746705

RENEWAL Series: R 39 Ending Well: How to Close Things Down – John Leach
This reflective study looks at the varying reasons why things come to and end and goes on to offer practical reflection both on how to end well and how to learn and move on.
ISBN: 9781851747467

YOUTH Series: Y 18 Well- being and Spirituality – Sally Nash and Nigel Pimlott
This well-researched study, drawing on young people’s actual experiences, looks at the debates around the nature of well-being and then explores both practical and spiritual resources in developing and supporting a sense of well-being.  It is a vital resource for all those working with young people today.
ISBN: 9781851747528

YOUTH Series: Y 15 Taking Risks: Young People and Risk-Taking Behaviour – Arthur Brown
Young people are renowned for engaging in risk-taking behaviour – just as adults are renowned for telling them off!  But is there another way to engage with this facet of youth culture?  This study looks at some of the reasons why young people engage in risk-taking behaviour.  It argues developing an understanding of the underlying issues can enable more productive work with young people and includes practical examples of how this is being done in a range of contexts.
ISBN: 9781851747245

YOUTH Series: Y 13 Self-esteem and Young People – Liz Etherton
Self-esteem is a topic of the moment and the issue can have a significant impact on the lives of young people, both as individuals and in groups.  After exploring the meaning of the term, this helpful study offers some biblical reflections before setting out practical approaches to building self-esteem.
ISBN: 9781851747078

YOUTH Series: Y 10 Empowering Young People in Church – Steve Emery-Wright
The life of local church – and in particular its public worship – often fails to engage young people with the result they see Church as alien to their spiritual growth.  But empowering them as theologians, interpreters and liturgists can create worship which, whilst still rooted in Scripture and tradition, engages with their world.
ISBN; 9781851746835

YOUTH Series: Y 7 Effective Ministry to Tweenagers – Ruth Hassall and Ian Macdonald
Tweenagers – usually defined as those from 8 or 9 to 11 or 12 – no longer see themselves as children but are not yet ready for the realities of being teenagers.  This is a critical age of transition, when faith either grows and develops or is left behind as something childish.  This study looks at the realities of being a tweenager and offers reflection both from models of faith development and also from the realities of working with this group.
ISBN: 9781851746590

YOUTH Series: Y 4 Young People as Prophets – Roger Sainsbury, Richard Bromley and Dave Wiles
Young people’s voices very often say it like it is, are counter-cultural, fragile and frequently ignored.  As such, they share many characteristics of the biblical prophets.  From their wide experience working with youth, the authors explore how young peple have spoken prophetically in Scripture and in the world of today – and throw down the challenge to listen to what God might be saying through them.
ISBN: 1851746358

YOUTH Series: Y 12 Schools’ Ministry as Mission – Nick Shepherd
Many aspects of schools’ ministry originated in mission – but in the current climate it’s not clear how this heritage can be regained.  This study suggests the demonstration of Christian values lived out in the school as community, dialogue in the school as educational institution, and discernment in the school as a place of influence can form a vital element of mission alongside the work of the local church.
ISBN: 978 1 85174 699

EVANGELISM Series: Ev 81 Home Visiting: Opening Doors to Children’s Evangelism – Nick White
In response to a widespread decline in the number of children attending Church, many Churches have sought to reach out to children in a host of different ways, including regular home visiting.  But how effective is it?  Using principles of evangelism drawn from Jesus’ ministry as a benchmark, and looking at a detailed case-study, this booklet seeks to evaluated the effectiveness of regular home visiting.
ISBN: 9781851746798

EVANGLISM Series: EV 89 Closing the Back Door of the Church – Bonnie Appleton and Simon Taylor
This wide ranging study looks at the reasons why people leave churches, the questions this raises and what can be done about it.  The reflection is complemented by comment from the experience of an urban congregation where these principles have been put into practice to great effect.
ISBN: 9781851747474

EDUCATION Series: eD 2 Churches Linking with Schools – Howard Worsley
There are compelling reasons why Churches should actively link with their local schools, not least because research shows that those that engage with children show signs of growth and life, and those that don’t, don’t.  This study sets out the reasons, offers a variety of ways to engage and tackles the objections.
ISBN: 9781851747443

SPIRITUALITY Series: S 82 Church Schools and Spirituality – Ian Dewar
This gentle exploration looks at some of the issued involved and what parents and others can do to encourage the development of Christian spirituality in church schools.
ISBN:  1851745068

SPIRITUALITY Series: S 112 Little Gidding Then and Now – Tony Hodgson
The re-established community of Little Gidding has sought to recapture and live out the spirit of the original and this reflection on past history and present tradition explores how the spirituality of Little Gidding is needed as much today as ever.
ISBN: 9781851747481

To buy these post-free, call the Grove office on 01223 464748, email or visit
Grove Books Limited, Ridley Hall Road, Cambridge CB3 9HU


Other Books

How to develop your local church: Richard Impey, 2010
The book aims to show ways to ask and involve congregational members in exploring important questions and “provide the answers, and then engage with the work of building up the body of Christ in the light of what they have discovered.”  Thos who may find it particularly useful include clergy moving into a new context, those wanting potential material for setting up projects on training courses, anyone interested in “shared learning” processes and all those involved in parish development and local ministry.
ISBN 978-0-281-06143-3

The Reflective Disciple: Roger Walton: Epworth 2009
This is an absolutely key book for those involved in encouraging the growth of disciples.  The publishers state that it “challenges the church to ‘train and release’ reflective and creative disciples by giving attention to the presence of God in the life of the world and engaging with the divine in the ordinary.”
ISBN: 9780716206484

Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition: Steven Croft and Ian Mobsby, Canterbury Press. ISBN 978 1 85311 973 6 £16.99
Explores the concept of mission in theory and in practice.  Timely resource as the Archbishops’ fresh expressions initiative changes gear and leadership 5 years on from mission-shaped church.  Should inspire, intrigue and invite fresh energies into a new phase of Christian outreach that is both contextual and true to faith of the church through the ages.

Evaluating Fresh Expressions: Explorations in Emerging Church: Louise Nelstrop and Martyn Percy, Canterbury Press.  ISBN 978 1 85311 816 6  £16.99
Explores the changing face of today’s churches.  New mission initiatives have created a kaleidoscope of youth congregations, internet-linked networks, alternative worship services and groups of many other kinds which call themselves “church”.  This timely and penetrating analysis offers a much-needed critique and asks important questions of today’s “mixed economy” of church.

Supporting Christians in Education: Trevor Cooling and Mark Greene – exploring the overlap between Christian faith and education.   Designed as a companion volume to LICC’s Supporting Christians at Work. £5 plus P&P or call 0207 3999 560

Your Church and the Law: David Parrott, Canterbury Press,
ISBN 978 185311927 9,  £14.99
A user-friendly and jargon-free guide to key aspects of canon and public law.

Parish Priests For the Sake of the Kingdom, Robin Greenwood  £14.99 Jan.2009
ISBN: 978 0 281 05538 8

‘Here is a wise and practical guide for local churches learning to navigate their way forward. It is about priests and people, differently but together, transforming the church and its locality through engaging deeply and realistically with God and with life in the world.  Nearly fifteen years after his classic ‘Transforming Priesthood’, Robin Greenwood has added this fine companion volume, enriched by further research and wide experience of the church in diverse situations.’ David F Ford, Regius Professor of Theology, Cambridge.

To order, email: or call 01235 465500 or visit

Welcoming Marriage:  A practical and pastoral guide to the new legislation
Stephen Lake, CHP, £7.99
ISBN:  978 0 7151 4172 4
A good read and full of practical wisdom.

Place your order through Norwich Books and Music:  phone 01603 612914;  email:;  website:

Spiritual Direction by Sue Pickering, Canterbury Press 2008,  £17.99
ISBN 978-1-85311-885-2.

Recently reviewed by spiritual director and author Gordon Jeff:  “This is quite simply the book on spiritual direction we’ve been waiting on for years.  Perhaps some of the book’s freshness might lie in the author being a New Zealander.  The sub-title of the book is ‘A practical introduction’ and it’s almost a course in itself.  There are questions for reflection, a multitude of possible exercises and sometimes the reader is invited to think about a topic before reading the relevant section of the book.  There are also lots of verbatim transcripts of chunks of direction sessions.  While outlining the various models of spiritual direction as well as other varieties of helping relationships, Pickering details her approach which she calls ‘contemplative, incarnational spiritual direction’.


Some useful books on mission to think about reading

  • Steve Hollinghurst: Mission Shaped Evangelism: The Gospel in Contemporary Culture
  • Gracie Davie: Religion in Britain Since 1945: Believing without Belonging (Making Contemporary Britain)
  • Michael Frost: Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture
  • Stephen Cottrell: Hit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing Leadership Differently
  • Ann Morisy: Bothered and Bewildered: Enacting Hope in Troubled Times
  • Steven Croft: Ancient Faith Future Mission: Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition
  • Mike Chew: How to do Mission Action Planning
  • Stephen Cottrell: Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop
  • Bayes, Sledge, Holbrook, Seeley & Rylands: Mission-shaped Parish: Traditional Church in a Changing World
  • Stephen Cottrell: From the Abundance of the Heart: Catholic Evangelism for All Christians
  • Jonathan Bartley: Faith and Politics After Christendom:  The Church as a Movement for Anarchy
  • Andrew J. Kirk: Mission Under Scrutiny: Considering Current Challenges
  • Sara Savage, Bob Mayo et al: Making Sense of Generation Y: The World View of 15 to 25 year olds (Explorations S)
  • Lesslie Newbigin, Missionary Theologian: A Reader
  • Eddie Gibbs: Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures
  • N Gordon Cosby: By Grace Transformed: Christianity for a New Millennium
  • John Inge: A Christian Theology of Place (Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology)
  • Stan Nussbaum: Reader’s Guide To Transforming Mission (American Society of Missiology Series)
  • Alan Jamieson: A Churchless Faith
  • Bob Mayo: Ambiguous Evangelism
  • David Smith: Mission after Christendom
  • Duncan MacLaren: Mission Implausible: Restoring Credibility to the Church