On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tony Merida

On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.

I asked Tony Merida [profile]—associate professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and author of Faithful Preaching and Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down—about what’s on his nightstand, books he re-reads, books that have shaped his thinking on gospel ministry, and more.


What’s on your nightstand right now?

What are some books you re-read and why?

Center Church by Tim Keller

This book is unique in that it doesn’t give you a church model to follow, but helps you think about how to develop your own model for your particular context—all of that, with a beautiful gospel-centered focus throughout. It’s dense, practical, theological, and missional—it regularly leads me to ideas and practices for our own context.

Between Two Worlds by John Stott. A foundational book on preaching, I love Stott’s focus on character/heart.

Dangerous Calling by Paul  David Tripp. This book is useful in a variety of arena/classes/groups. I return to it for my own soul and as I lead others to think about how to care for their souls.

Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. No one has affected me more on gospel and community and in recent years, on church planting, than Steve. I love his vision of gospel-centered community.

The Shepherd Leader by Tim Witmer. We use this book in a variety of ways in our church. It’s foundational for how we do shepherding and how we train our guys to do shepherding.

Sticky Church by Larry Osborne. This book has been helpful on how to maintain team unity and purpose as the church grows. We refer to it regularly as we go from season to season with ever-changing needs as a church.

Life Together by Dietrich BonhoefferOur entire church has studied this little classic, and various small groups study it from time to time as well. We refer to a few sections repeatedly as we teach our DNA and philosophy of small group life. 

What books have most shaped how you view gospel ministry?

What three books should every church planter read?

What biographies or autobiographies have most influenced you and why?

Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore. This book changed my life during my second semester of seminary. I was wrestling with calling, and the Lord used this book to give me a love for the church. Dallimore’s chapters on Spurgeon’s ministry also planted the seeds for my own future ministry emphases, like Christ-centered preaching, caring for orphans, and training pastors. Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield had a similar effect on me.

The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Iain Murray. This book was soul-nourishing. It gave me a deeper confidence in the gospel and inspired me to seek God in prayer more dependently and frequently.


Also in the On My Shelf series: Andy Crouch • Walter Strickland • Hannah Anderson • S. D. Smith • Curtis Woods • Mindy Belz • Steve Timmis • David Mathis • Michael Lindsay • Nathan Finn • Jennifer Marshall • Todd Billings • Greg Thornbury • Greg Forster • Jen Pollock Michel • Sam Storms • Barton Swaim • John Stonestreet • George Marsden • Andrew Wilson • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler

Browse dozens of book recommendations from The Gospel Coalition’s leaders and sign up your church at Hubworthy.

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