Book Suggestions from our Partners

These books might be helpful as you discern (or help someone else discern) their call from God.

Calling & Vocation

Understanding Your Call: Knowing How 11 Biblical Figures Understood Their Calls from God Can Help You to Understand Yours

Understanding Your Call takes an in-depth look at God’s calling in the lives of key Biblical characters and helps readers discern how God might be calling them today. Written by some of the leading thinkers in United Methodism today, this book is meant to help those wrestling with a vocational calling and those discerning their next steps within their current vocations and relationships.

Let Your Life Speak, by Parker J. Palmer

A classic. With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and illuminates a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives.

The Stories We Live, by Kathleen A. Cahalan

Through Biblical reflections, contemporary theological ideas, and real-life portraits, including an online video series, The Stories We Live helps readers see that in telling stories about our lives, we awaken to a God who is calling us in many ways.

Yes!? A Field Guide to Those Answering a Call to Ministry by Marilyn Elliot

Short, inspirational book that is useful in sustaining the call

Called, by Susan Robb

A blend of personal experiences and Biblical insights to show how all people are called. There are six chapters and it is a DVD study, but the book can be used as a personal devotional for women.

Calling All Years Good, Kathleen A. Cahalan and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, eds.

This book, which examines callings in all ages of life, has two chapters specifically on the uniqueness of callings during adolescence and young adulthood.

No One Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood, by Patrick B. Reyes

For people of color living each day surrounded by violence, for whom survival is not a given, vocational discernment is more than “finding your purpose–it’s a matter of life and death.

In Nobody Cries When We Die, Patrick Reyes vibrantly presents our common yearning to embrace a vocation to life. What God wants for us is life in abundance, to walk the life of justice and compassion with joy. Reyes anchors his narrative at the margins and in this, we all find the ‘good soil’ and invitation to live fully.” —Gregory Boyle, Founder/Executive Director of Homeboy Industries

Another Way: Living and Leading Change on Purpose, by Stephen Lewis, Matthew Wesley Williams, and Dori Grinenko Baker

“If you are discerning your own purpose, accompanying others on their path, or leading organizational change, Another Way is for you. [It] shares four adaptable practices (C.A.R.E.) to help you facilitate change in yourself, your community, and the world.”

Called, by J.D. Walt

Short, accessible book on God’s call that can also be a gift to high school or college students

Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World, by Sharon Daloz Parks, Laurent A. Parks Daloz, Cheryl H. Keen, and James P. Keen

Examines the lives of people who are committed to working on behalf of the common good in a wide variety of ways.

Creating a Culture of Call

The Madison Effect, by Gary Robbins

Have you heard of Madison, Kansas? From this town, and more specifically from one small church, sixteen individuals have gone into ministry or mission work. Gary Robbins explores what other churches can do to create a similar environment in their own church and to create their own “Madison Effect.”

Greenhouses of Hope: Congregations Growing Young Leaders Who Will Change the World, by Dori Grenenko Baker

A Greenhouse of Hope is a Christian congregation freeing itself to experiment with both newly imagined and time-honored ways of following the path of Jesus. Its members respond to God’s love through practices that genuinely embrace the gifts of youth and young adults. Out of these greenhouses emerge young leaders who want to change the world.

Dreamcare: A Theology of Youth, Spirit, and Vocation, by David F. White

“This book supplements research with findings from Emory’s Youth Theological Initiative (YTI), which identifies four pathways — desire, joy, compassion, and responsibility — by which young people discover a sense of purpose. Growing from research at YTI, this volume provides concrete suggestions for how Christian communities might engage young people in practices to cultivate a sense of purpose.”

Empowering Black Youth of Promise: Education and Socialization in the Village-minded Black Church, by Sandra L. Barnes and Anne Streaty Wimberly

“I read this book because I was interested in learning more about how black churches today were working with youth. It is full of great information about creative ways in which over 770 black churches are trying to make a difference in the lives of young people. The statistics are easy to understand and the actual comments by youth make the book a must read for anyone interested in how to help black youth.” (review)


The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne

In Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne describes an authentic faith rooted in belief, action, and love, inviting us into a movement of the Spirit that begins inside each of us and extends into a broken world.

Making Life Matter: Embracing the Joy in the Everyday, by Shane Stanford

Making Life Matter shows that the steps for making life matter are found in rather ordinary decisions, attitudes, and patterns found in normal routines.

A Sacred Voice is Calling, by John Neafsey

Drawing widely on the wisdom of saints, sages, and the traditions of spiritual direction, Neafsey describes a path to living in the place, as Frederick Buechner has put it, “where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

The Will of God, by Leslie D. Weatherhead

After City Temple in London was reduced to rubble during World War II, Rev. Leslie Weatherhead crafted five sermons on understanding the will of God to help his congregation endure religious doubt as their city—and church—crumbled around them. Weatherhead’s sermons were eventually published as The Will of God, a resource that has sold more than a million copies and has been a resource for grieving persons seeking to understand God’s purpose for their pain.


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