The 4 Books I'm So Glad We Published

Carl Laferton | July 3rd 2018

Asking a publisher to choose between their books is like asking someone to choose their favorite child.

All kids are different. All came into the world with varying degrees of speed and pain. All have their moments. All parents want to feel proud of their kids. All parents want to have kids they love to have around. All parents (you’d hope) love their children equally. And so it is with books.

But that kind of stuff is not why you started reading this blog. So here goes.

Better than famous or successful

When it comes to publishing, I guess you have different types of children. There’s the “famous” kids/books—and getting to work with people such as Tim Keller, Christopher Ash, Kathleen Nielson, Rico Tice, Becky Pippert, Matt Chandler and so on is an awesome privilege. I regularly expect someone to come and wake me up and find this job really was just a dream.

Then there’s the “successful” kids/books. At TGBC we have a ministry heart and a business head. We need to get enough money to pay the staff’s mortgages and keep the company running so that we can keep publishing. Since we don’t receive funding from anything other than booksales, having enough high-selling titles matters. So I’m pleased we’ve published bestselling books and resources like A Very Different Christmas; The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross; Christianity Explored and Life Explored; Explore, and so on.

But honestly, I think my favourite kids/books are those where the author is not well-known, but the idea is brilliant, and the finished product is something that makes me smile every time I think of it, because I’m professionally thrilled with the quality of the book, and personally thrilled by the impact it has on ordinary Christians seeking to love and serve Christ. The books that were a slight (or large) risk to take on, which we took on anyway because we thought they’d serve the church, and which by God’s grace paid off.

Four of these spring most readily to mind (I’m sure there are more if I think harder – but I’m already over half of my word limit for this blog anyway). So here's my four favourites... 

1. Is God Anti-gay? (Sam Allberry, published 2013)

When this came out, there was simply nothing else like it—biblical, empathetic, concise, practical, careful. It is the ultimate ‘Right book, right author, right time’ title—well-written and brilliantly edited (I can say that because I wasn’t the editor); an author, who himself experiences same-sex-attraction and is warm, kind, and godly; a time when the church was waking up to the fact that it had for far too long assumed people experiencing same-sex attraction were ‘out there’ or were just a political issue. This book has changed countless lives.

2. God’s Very Good Idea (Trillia Newbell, 2017)

OK, so Trillia Newbell was already a successful, much-respected author. But this was her first kids’ book. When we took the book on, we knew a book celebrating the unity-in-diversity of the church was an important thing to teach to kids. We didn’t know Charlottesville would happen a month before release. We didn’t know how many families would be so moved to see a kids’ book that represents them—their colors, shapes, disabilities, differences—in its pages, and which celebrates the forgiveness that all need, and all can receive in Christ.

3. Serving Without Sinking (John Hindley, 2012)

Serving as the pastor of a tiny church plant in rural England is not exactly what publishers call a ‘big platform.’ But the day platform becomes a deal-breaker is the day I retire (or, given my pension pot, find a different job). John is a godly man, a great writer, and he had a great insight – that our service of Christ is too often wrongly motivated, which leads us to a dangerously dry relationship with our Lord. It was—and is—a book that every Christian I’ve ever met really does need to read.

4. Hope When It Hurts (Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton, 2017)

Take two amazingly godly best friends who no one knows of and who are walking through seasons of deep, unending trials and who have a passion to serve women who are going through ongoing suffering by pointing them to Christ. Add writing that’s personal, eloquent, full of Jesus, and often deeply moving. Mix in a gorgeous design. Take a risk and print the cover cloth-bound (it’s not cheap!) so that it comforts in its feel as well as in its content. Pour over all that a huge promotional effort… and you have a book that the Spirit has used to help tens of thousands of women to cling to Christ amidst deep pain, and even to know joy in Christ through that pain. So often, we hear of a woman whose life was changed by this book. They often tell us through tears. But they’re looking to Christ through those tears.

I’ll stop there (I’ve far exceeded my word count). I love all our kids (sorry, books)—but these four perhaps represent the greatest privilege of Christian publishing—to take a dream, turn it into a book, and see it greatly used by the Spirit, and then thank God that you got to be a small part of how he works for his people.

And for the record—Benjamin and Abigail, I love you both equally as my children, and neither of you is my favourite.


Last week, Carl shared the 4 things he looks for in a good book, read it here. We launched #RenewYourMind to encourage everyone to pick up a Christian book this summer. We’ve created a short film, we’re discounting some brilliant titles and we’re sharing stories of our favourite Christian books to get you excited about reading! Take a look

Carl Laferton

Carl Laferton is Editorial Director at TGBC. He is author of Original Jesus, Promises Kept and The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross and series editor of the God's Word For You series. Before joining TGBC, he worked as a journalist, a teacher, and pastored a congregation in Hull. Carl is married to Lizzie and they have two children, Benjamin and Abigail. He studied history at Oxford University.

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