Neil’s Syllabus

It was Jim McCracken, founder of TrueBridge who introduced me to the joy of mentoring over 30 years ago with the book, The Master Plan of Evangelism. Shortly afterward, a Glad Tidings School of Evangelism conference gave me tools in the form of little booklets to use in my weekly disciple making meetings. The booklets gave me a format and I used them in one one one weekly mentoring sessions at the local university for many years, at Morris Community Church, and the Appleton PCF prison, adapting them as I saw necessary. As time went on, Ruth and I collected books on various subjects, many of them recommended by friends. Recently, I have been mentoring once again and finally put my syllabus in a more permanent form. I have attempted to choose writers and speakers from various and diverse parts of the body of Christ who have impacted the church with their various giftings and writings. As I compose my list, I am amazed at the amount of content that has formed my Christian life and ministry!

In the following syllabus, the resource materials are linked to either our web site or to the supplier on the web where you can purchase the book, tract, or DVD. Click on the link for more information about each item.


Are You Going to Heaven? tract by Christian Equippers
— This is the tract we have used to lead hundreds to Christ

Gentle Persuasion: Creative Ways to Introduce Your Friends to Christ, by Joseph Aldrich
 This author models the assignment of a Biblical evangelist- “equipping the saints to do the work”

Salvation: How Many Faith Units Are Needed for Heaven?, by Neil Thielke
 includes Neil’s house and road illustrations for portraying the Jesus’ ownership of our life when we give our life to Him


How to Grow, by Billy Graham
This handout is a wonderful followup for someone who has been born again.

12 Ways God Speaks to Us, by Neil Thielke
— adapted from Christian Equippers’ Glad Tidings School of Evangelism tracts

Faith study notes, by Neil Thielke
— a basic outline about what faith is

ALPHA Course on DVD, by Nikki Gumbel
— an excellent short course for those curious about Christianity, for new Christians, and for mature Christians who want to encourage others to develop a relationship with God. Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have gone through this course.

or ALPHA on YouTube:
Intro: Is There More to Life?
Week 1: Who Is Jesus?
Week 2: Why Did Jesus Die?
Week 3: How Can I Have Faith?
Week 4: Why and How Should I Pray?
Week 5: Why and How Should I Read My Bible?
Week 6: How Does God Guide Us?
Week 7: How Can I Resist Evil?
Week 8: Why and How Should I Tell Others?
Week 9: Does God Heal Today?
Week 10: What About the Church?
The Weekend 1: Who Is the Holy Spirit?.1
The Weekend 1.2: Who is the Holy Spirit?.2
The Weekend 2: What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
The Weekend 3: How Can I Be Filled With the Holy Spirit?
The Weekend 4: How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life?

Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren
— A wonderful way to disciple someone who is wondering what Christianity is all about. One chapter a week is a chewable amount.

Calvary Road, by Roy Hession
 A good primer on how to love God first, and to love others.

30 Days to Understanding the Bible, by Max Anders
 For someone who has no Bible knowledge and desires to come up to speed.

Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby
— A resource that trains people to listen for the Holy Spirit.

Water Baptism, by Neil Thielke
 Neil’s baptism study and handout – simple and important.


My Father’s Face, by James Robison

Waking the Dead, by John Eldredge


Faith study notes, by Neil Thielke

The Autobiography of George Muller, by George Muller

Ever Increasing Faith, by Smith Wigglesworth

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom

Tramp for the Lord, by Corrie ten Boom

The New Wine is Better, by Robert Thom


Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, by Jack Deere
— Great for Evangelicals experiencing the supernatural

Growing The Prophetic: A Practical Guide to Dreams, Visions, and Spiritual Gifts, by Mike Bickle
 Practical insight into nurturing the prophetic gift in a church and in personal life

The Happiest People on Earth, by Demos Shakarian
— Evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Europe/Asia before Azusa Street and the explosion of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in the USA in the 60’s and 70’s

They Speak with Other Tongues, by John Sherrill
 Another classic on transition from Evangelical to Charismatic.

You All May Prophesy, by Steve Thompson
— Steve encourages everyone to cultivate prophesy in their lives and gives practical guidelines


Christ the Healer, by F. F. Bosworth


Rees Howells: Intercessor, by Norman Percy Grubb
 Can prayer change the course of world events? YES!

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray
— What better teacher than Jesus on this important topic. Recommended by Ruth Thielke.

What Happens When Women Pray, by Evelyn Carol Christenson


On-Line Bibles:
Bible Gateway is a free web site with keyword search, passage lookup, topical index, and audio Bibles in several versions.


Hooked on the Word: Changing Your Life Through Bible Meditation, by Ron Smith
— enjoying the presence of God as we take time to reflect on His Word

Bible Resources

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee

The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times, by Ralph R. Gower

The New Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James M. Freeman and Harold J. Chadwick

Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Life in Bible Times, by Victor H. Matthews

Biblical Interpretation

8 Rules of Interpretation, handout from book by Guy Duty

Interpreting the Scriptures, by Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin

Bible Foundation

Ken Ham’s Foundations DVD set, Understanding the six 24/hr days of creation is foundational to understanding the rest of the Bible.

The Visual Bible, a 3 DVD set of Matthew, John, and Acts. Although other Bible stories are available in movie format, this set is recommended because it is word-for-word from the Bible. The enactment of these three books set in Israel helps viewers better understand the life and times of Jesus and his disciples. The Visual Bible is also available on YouTube:

The Visual Bible, Gospel of Matthew, on YouTube

The Visual Bible, Gospel of John, on YouTube

The Visual Bible, Acts, on YouTube


Discipleshift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples, by Jim Putnam & Bobby Harrington with Robert Coleman

The Lost Art of Disciplemaking, by LeRoy Eims
— a practical guide to mentoring

The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman
–This is THE classic about making disciples mandated by Jesus in
Matthew 28:18-20


Beyond Death’s Door, by Maurice Rawlings, M.D.
— Cardiologist, who was promoted to Teaching Faculty of the American Heart Association, shares after-death experiences of patients he resuscitated.

Caught Up Into Paradise, Richard E. Eby, D.O.
— A physician shares his experience of being caught up into paradise.

23 Minutes in Hell, Bill Wiese
— testimony of 1998 experience in hell and finally, the strong hand of God lifting him out of the pit–“Tell them I am coming very, very soon!” Also found on YouTube


Telling Yourself the Truth, by William Backus and Marie Chapian
— Overcoming negative thinking patterns. Recommended by Ruth Thielke

The Bondage Breaker, by Neil Anderson
— Practical ways to break spiritual bondage/baggage in our lives

Defeated Enemies, by Corrie ten Boom
— Jesus cast out demons. Some of the bondage in our lives may have to do with spiritual oppression.

They Shall Expel Demons, by Derek Prince
— Jesus cast out demons. Some of the bondage in our lives may have to do with spiritual oppression.

Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer
 Recommended by many as an newer book similar to Telling Yourself the Truth


Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard A. Swenson

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend


Bright Valley of Love, by Edna Hong
— The disabled are such a wonderful group of people to be called to minister among!
(This book is quite expensive & difficult to find for sale, but it may be in a library near you.)

Joni, by Joni Eareckson Tada
— Joni was a pioneer in training the church to reach out to the disabled. Part 1 of her story.

A Step Further, by Joni Eareckson Tada
— Joni’s thoughts on suffering. Part 2 of her journey.

The Gift of Pain, by Paul Brand and Philip Yancy &
Where is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey
— Great books to read when you are in the midst of pain.

Reasons for Suffering, by Neil Thielke


The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn


The Shepherd Leader, by Timothy Witmer


Father ten Boom, God’s Man, by Corrie ten Boom

In My Father’s House, by Corrie ten Boom


The Purpose Driven Church, by Rick Warren

Team Method and Church Planting, by James Feeney

The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community, by Hugh Halter


A. Examples of Great Teaching

The Shepherd Trilogy: A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm / A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd / A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of God, by Phillip Keller

 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Philip Yancy

In His Image, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy

The Gift of Pain, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy

Sit, Walk, Stand, by Watchman Nee

B. How to Preach

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee

Biblical Preaching, by Haddon Robinson

Jim McCracken’s outline on preaching


Perspectives on World Missions, by Ralph Winter and Stephen Hawthorne

Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot

Hitch Hiking by Brush Taxi, by Helen Arnseth Torvik (Ruth Thielke helped Helen get most of the writing done for her book. Ruth has copies of the book on hand.)

God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew

The Narrow Road, by Brother Andrew

The Calling, by Brother Andrew

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of WWII, by Darlene Diebler Rose

Gladys Aylward: Missionary to China, by Sam Wellman

I Dared to Call Him Father: The Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman’s Encounter With God, by Bilquis Sheikh and Richard H. Schneider

The Autobiography of Hudson Taylor: Missionary to China, by J. Hudson Taylor

Granny Brand, Her Story, by Dorothy Clarke Wilson


The Pastor’s Guide to Weddings and Funerals, by Victor D. Lehman

A Contemporary Handbook for Weddings & Funerals: And Other Occasions, by Aubrey Malphurs

Baker’s Wedding Handbook: Resources for Pastors, by Paul E. Engel

Baker’s Funeral Handbook: Resources for Pastors, by Paul E. Engel

James McCracken’s material on weddings

James McCracken’s material on funerals


Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than  To Make Us Happy?, by Gary L. Thomas

Fight Fair: Winning At Conflict Without Losing At Love, by Tim and Joy Downs

Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He So Desperately Needs, by Emerson Eggerichs


South Dakota & Minnesota
Return to Shetek: The Courage of the Fool Soldiers, DVD by Barbara Britain

Flash Point of Deceit: the U.S.- Dakota War of 1862, by Larry Stillwell

Grandmother’s Grandchild: My Crow Indian Life, by Alma Hogan Snell

I Was in Hell with Niemoeller, by Leo Stein

Kolbe, The Saint from Auschwitz, from website by Louis Bulow entitled The Holocaust: Crimes, Heroes, and Villains,

Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand

Russia and Eastern Europe During the Cold War
God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew

The Heavenly Man: the Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian, by Brother Yun

If Only the Rod Had Been Round, by Bridget Harris Volden, as told to Ruth Thielke
(Ruth has copies of this book on hand.)