“God’s Word has forged and formed me.”
By Greg Stier, author of the book Unlikely Fighter
There are a handful of books that have shaped my life. First and foremost, of course, is the Bible. God’s Word has forged and formed me. As soon as I learned to read, I’d hide underneath the kitchen sink with nothing but a Bible and a flashlight. Suffice it to say that my extremely loud and often violent family did not create a library-type setting. Escaping the craziness, I’d retreat to my quiet place and search for God in the Scriptures. Now, that I’ve found him (or, rather, he found me), I still search for him in the Bible, to better know this great God who saved me and my entire family from the highway to hell we were speeding down.
In addition to the Bible, here are five other amazing books that have shaped my understanding of God and my approach to serving him.
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
It was the bold evangelism of a hillbilly preacher (who, for some strange reason, was nicknamed Yankee) that reached my tough, urban family for Christ. He was big on evangelism and teaching us to evangelize. But he didn’t speak much of disciple multiplication. In my late teens, when I read Robert Coleman’s book The Master Plan of Evangelism, I felt like I’d struck gold. I learned that just as Jesus invested in 12 people who shook the world for God. I could also share the gospel and disciple new believers. The truths in that small, potent book formed the basis for Dare 2 Share, the ministry I founded 30 years ago and co-lead to this day.
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
What started as a homework assignment at my alma mater, Colorado Christian University, turned into a Moses-in-the-cleft-of-the-rock type of God encounter for me. As I read its pages, I caught a glimpse of my King with fresh eyes. Packer wrote this devotional-meets-theology book in such a way that it brought me to my knees again and again. As a fatherless kid, this book helped me know my heavenly Father in a way I never thought I could.
The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll
The church that Yankee led, and that my family ended up going to, was an independent, fundamental, King James Version–only church that was long on rules for the Christian life and short on grace for the believer. When I first read Swindoll’s The Grace Awakening, it felt as if the weight of legalism fell off my back. This powerful book so unshackled me to walk in the freedom of grace that it almost felt like a second conversion. It was the gift I gave to all my groomsmen on the day I got married, 31 years ago.
George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revical, Volumes I and 2 by Arnold Dallimore
As a student of revival, I have always had a great interest in the First Great Awakening, led by George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards. This two-volume set took away the rose-colored glasses of revival and showed the good, bad, and ugly that was the backdrop of the greatest spiritual awakening (so far) on American soil. It stirred in my soul the truth that revival is possible today—if the gospel is centralized and young people are mobilized to share it.
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal
Although this book was written by a military genius primarily for businesspeople and entrepreneurs, I applied it as a ministry leader. General McChrystal, as leader of the armed forces in Iraq in the early 2000s, de-siloed the armed forces and began to forge the army, navy, air force, and marines into a “team of teams,” working together for a common cause with “shared consciousness” and “empowered execution.” What McChrystal meant for business leaders I applied to ministry. I’ve read this book five times, with the goal of seeing siloed denominations and ministries working together for the common cause of the gospel. This book changed my perspective, as well as our ministry model at Dare 2 Share.
Featured image photo credit: Charl Folscher
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Unlikely Fighter by Greg Stier
Some memories are permanently seared into our childhood brains with a hot iron of adrenaline and fear. For five-year-old Greg, it was the memory of his ma walking back to the house after confronting his stepdad with a splintered, bloodied baseball bat in her hand.
Greg Stier was raised in a family of bodybuilding, tobacco-chewing, fist-fighting thugs. He never knew his biological father because his mom had met his dad at a party; she got pregnant, and he left town. Though his mom almost aborted him, in a last-minute twist, Greg’s life was spared for so much more.
Unlikely Fighter is the incredible story of how God showed up in Greg’s life—and how he can show up in yours as well. This is a memoir of violence and mayhem—and how God can transform everything.
About the Author
Greg Stier is a champion for unleashing this generation with the gospel. As the founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, he is driven to help the church activate Christian teenagers to reach their friends. In the last 30 years, Greg has trained millions of youth leaders and students how to relationally engage their world with the Good News of Jesus. A much-sought-after speaker, Greg is a former pastor, church planter, and youth leader, as well as the author of numerous books.