Scenic view of trees at camp

Forge Reading List

by Andrew RogersPosted Feb 6, 2019


The Forge is an intense leadership and discipleship training program designed to develop followers and prepare leaders for a lifetime of good works. A big part of the program are the books that they read.

We asked the Forge directors to pick one book that the students read and tell us what warrants including it in the program. This is what they had to say!

Jared Schuler, Forge Director:

In his book, “You Are What You Love,” James K.A. Smith discusses the fact that we live in a world full of liturgies, or love shaping rituals, and we are being impressed and impacted by these continuously, whether we acknowledge it or not. Merely changing what we think doesn’t change who we are because we are more than thinking things. Our thoughts and our longings, though, show us something deeper—they expose what we really love. And we may not love what we think we love. Discipleship, then, is a rehabituation of your loves. Through covenantal community and the consistent practice of spiritual disciplines, our loves can be reformed and our lives can be transformed. This book has been a really helpful one for the Forge because our students, like the rest of us, are wrestling with sanctification and trying to answer the question, “How do people change?” If you’re looking for a quick read, this probably is not the book for you, but if you’re looking to recalibrate your heart, you may want to check it out!

Dexter Carter, Forge Men’s Director:

This is an easy answer. I love the book “Life Together.” The fact that the author Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote the book in the midst of one of the darkest times in recent human history (the Holocaust) shows how impactful and important this book is for the believer who lives in community. The big principle that impacted me is what it says about me in community. The community I’ve been given isn’t one that I’ve made up myself, but one that God Himself created. With that knowledge, we are able to know that our community is a gift and that we are a gift to our community as well. If you are a believer in Jesus and live in community, the book “Life Together” will help guide you to biblical living by living by the Word of God and through the Word of God.

Maddie Ritchie, Forge Women’s Director:

One of the books that we read in the Forge is called “Counterfeit Gods” by Timothy Keller. In this book, Keller talks about the deep idols of our hearts. In our culture, it can be easy to think that our idols aren’t as bad as the literal statues they used to worship in the Old Testament, but the idols we worship today can disguise themselves in ways that are harder for us to discern. “Counterfeit Gods” helps us acknowledge what our deep idols truly are.

The four deep idols of the heart that Tim Keller talks about are:

Each of these idols are manifested in different ways in each of our lives, but he helps us see how one or more of these most likely holds power in our lives. “Counterfeit Gods” is an incredible book in many ways, but I think the most impactful part is the way it causes us to reflect and be honest with ourselves. That is why we have the Forge students read this book. We hope that they would be more able to discern their idols, turn away from them, and run toward the only One who is worthy of our worship. Instead of putting their identity in false gods that will never satisfy, our prayer is that they would put their identity in Christ and what He has done for them.

“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. Anything that is so central and essential to your life, that should lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.” (xvii)

We hope you enjoyed hearing about two of the books the Forge students have been diving into this year! “You Are What You Love”, “Life Together”, and “Counterfeit Gods” are available on Amazon, if you’d like to read along with the Forge. Stay tuned for more updates from the Forge, and happy reading!

The Forge is now accepting applications for the class of 2020! If you’re between the ages of 21 and 27 and looking for a challenging year of growth, apply now.

Andrew Rogers

Content Coordinator

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