On My Shelf is a new feature designed to help you get to know various ministry leaders through providing a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers.

I corresponded with Jared Wilson, pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Vermont, about what's currently on his nightstand, books he re-reads, his favorite fiction, and more.

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What's on your nightstand right now?

I've got a tall stack of books and manuscripts on my office desk that I'm in various stages of processing through, but these are the three titles I'm working through before bedtime:

The Third Bullet by Stephen Child Tom Brady vs. The NFL by Sean Glennon The Great Awakening by Thomas Kidd

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

I have been learning something that I'd been resting in for almost a year but couldn't quite define until I came across this bit of truth in Mike Cosper's book Rhythms of Grace: "In Christ, we are never misunderstood." That little phrase really ministered to me and gave definition to what I've been learning over an occasionally very difficult last 12 months. I can trust Jesus with my reputation. I can take my lumps, even unjustly, and I don't have to be anxious about trying to explain myself—even with good intentions it can be an exercise in self-justification, in people pleasing. I've been learning more and more what it means to be so secure in Jesus that I have nothing left to hide and nothing left to prove.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

The one book I keep coming back to is Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together. It was profoundly helpful in my thinking through the meaning and purpose of the church during the gospel renaissance in my life about nine years ago, and I return to it constantly and refer to it at my church a lot.

I actually don't re-read a lot of books, but I'm always noodling around in the same C. S. Lewis books I've always loved—usually in the same actual copies I've had since childhood.

What are your favorite fiction books?

Perelandra (Lewis), The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), The End of the Affair (Greene), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain), and John Updike's Rabbit novels and In the Beauty of the Lilies.

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Also in this series: Kathy KellerTullian Tchividjian

Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Matt Smethurst


Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.