By Adam Weber, Crosswalk.com
In our microwave-cooking, fast food-addicted world, we tend to scroll, read 140 characters, or listen to a 60-second video clip to get all our information. We’re much too wired from our daily trips through the Starbucks drive-thru (twice daily for some, no judgment), too productive, and too busy to spend our days doing something as time-consuming as thinking. As a go-getting doer myself, I’d rather spend my waking hours doing things and accomplishing tasks rather than thinking.
But even though our world is growing increasingly fast-paced, we tend to take note when we discover that followers of Jesus are actually thoughtful. In fact, deep, profound wisdom might be one of the greatest tools for reaching people for Christ.
Over the centuries, there have been many great thought leaders within the church. From the apostle Paul in the early Church and Saint Augustine and Justin Martyr to Thomas Aquinas and Blaine Pascal. Then the turn of the century brought us individuals like G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis—two of the most influential Christian thought-leaders of the last hundred years.
Sure, there are some within the church who are quick to retweet, repost, and copy the words of someone else rather than thinking for themselves. But if you take a look around, there are so many great Christian thinkers out there today. Here are 11 of today’s best Christian thinkers that you should follow and learn from.
1. Tim Willard
Tim is one of my favorite people on the planet, and a writer and thinker that regularly speaks into my own life to show me a new way to approach something. A modern-day C.S. Lewis, Tim is an accomplished writer, scholar, novelist, poet, self-taught mechanic, adventurer, and theologian. Whatever you’re looking for, Tim probably has something to say about it; plus, it’s beautifully written. Whenever I read something of Tim’s I feel like I’m going back to a simpler time before social media and the 24-hour news cycle dominated our lives. That’s not to say the stuff he writes about is simple—actually the opposite. Tim is as full of wisdom as they come. Go follow him!
2. Beth Moore
For years, if you were in a women’s Bible study or small group, you would have heard of Beth Moore. But Beth has so much to offer everyone, men and women alike. She’s far from cliche—some of the most powerful words I’ve heard on Christian culture right now have come from her social media feeds. Men and women alike, Beth has something to say for your life, and it probably won’t be what you want to hear (in a good way!). She’s fiery, she’s passionate, she’s fierce, and she’s one of the best Bible scholars we have in Christianity today.
3. Mark Sayers
Mark is the pastor of Red City Church in Melbourne, a podcast host, and the author of a number of recent bestselling books. I’ve mentioned Mark before: he’s a master at speaking to the Christian culture of this exact moment in time, analyzing how the Church can and should respond to an increasingly disconnected culture dominated by technology and the rise of secularism. Though Mark’s words can sometimes paint a challenging picture of where our society is currently and is heading, his outlook on how the Church can seize this moment to make Jesus’s name great are encouraging and energizing to hundreds of thousands of Christians around the globe.
4. Jon Tyson
Jon is the lead pastor of Church of the City, a church that’s radically reshaping New York City from the inside out. More than that though, Jon is charting a dramatic course to reshape how fathers raise their sons in a culture that’s increasingly confused about what it means to be a man. His course, The Primal Path, speaks directly to fathers seeking to raise up sons to know Jesus and carry on the gospel as a man of God. As a father to three boys myself, Jon’s wisdom is so needed for dads. I’m thankful to have teachers like him out there today.
5. Jackie Hill Perry
Jackie is an apologist in the truest sense of the word. She’s not afraid to share anything and everything on where she’s come from and where she’s going, including how God has changed her heart. Jackie’s grit and passion translate into everything she does, from the pulpit to her often convicting Instagram stories, and she’s not afraid to defend the faith from the stereotypes and misconceptions today’s culture often throws out at Christians.
6. N.T. Wright
The Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright is one of the great biblical scholars of our day. He’s authored too many books to list here, preached sermons that have reached millions, and contributed to our current understanding of what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. His latest book, God and the Pandemic, is a must-read for Christians and church leaders wondering how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and searching for answers on where the Church goes from here.
7. Tim Keller
If you call yourself a Christian, but you’ve never heard of Tim Keller, you might not be a real Christian. I’m kidding—but seriously—this guy is one of the wisest leaders we have living today. From The Meaning of Marriage and The Gospel Coalition to The Reason for God and Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim has had a hand in some of the biggest teachings on modern-day Christianity in the last 30 years. Though Tim is undoubtedly deep and his influence far-reaching, his words are also super accessible to the new believer and longtime Christ-follower alike.
8. Mark Clark
Mark is the founding and teaching pastor of Village Church, a multi-site church that’s grown like crazy over the last few years, in their physical locations and online. In addition to being a pastor, Mark is also the author of The Problem of God and The Problem of Jesus, two books that directly address the questions so many of us have about the historical accuracy of the Bible, who Jesus really was, and the different viewpoints within Christianity. If you’re looking for fluff and feel-good messages, Mark is not your guy, and that’s a good thing. Whether you’re wanting a convicting sermon that will hit home or have some big questions about Jesus, check out what Mark has to say.
9. Erwin McMannus
Author of the national bestseller, The Last Arrow, and more recently, The Way of the Warrior, Erwin is one of my heroes as a pastor and author. He tackles big questions like what it means to experience and establish peace in your life when the world gives us everything but, and how to fight the battles of our inner worlds so we can win in the outside world. Known for combining creativity and spirituality in a whole new way as the pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, Erwin’s thoughts are some I would encourage anyone to take note of.
10. John Mark Comer
John Mark Comer is awesome and probably the coolest theologian you’ll ever meet. John has put out a ton of great resources on everything from eliminating hurry from our culture to how this time in history can help us make an eternal impact. His newest book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, is life-changing for people like me who are more do-er than stop and think when it comes to getting things done. His church in Portland is doing some awesome Kingdom work, and it's exciting to see what John comes up with next.
11. Bob Goff
Bob is a great person to wrap this list up with! As the bestselling author of Love Does and Everybody Always, Bob is a force. But just because he chooses to see life from the sunny side of the street, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some in-the-trenches wisdom to share when it comes to loving others like Jesus did. Take a look at Bob’s daily posts on Instagram and you’ll figure out what I mean pretty quickly. He’s an everyday guy with an extraordinary spirit, who has enough wisdom to share with every single person
Follow one or follow all eleven, but I guarantee this list of some of the best Christian thinkers today will leave you with more wisdom and knowledge in your back pocket, forcing you to slow down and really think more than grabbing another Starbucks or watching a short video clip ever could.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tetra Images
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace, a multi-site church based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He’s the author of Talking With God, and Love Has A Name: Learning to Love the Different, the Difficult, and Everyone Else (WaterBrook, available 8/25/20). He also hosts a podcast called The Conversation with Adam Weber. Adam still cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals but no longer drives a Rambler. He’s married to his wife, Becky, and has four kids: Hudson, Wilson, Grayson, & Anderson. He also has seven chickens, two dogs, & three fish, but what he really wants is a sheep. Follow Adam on Instagram (@adamaweber) and Twitter (@adamweber), or find out more at adamweber.com.