Top Books For Christian Leaders

I’m wanting to compile this list of the top books for Christian Leaders to read in 2011.  It is understood that the Bible should always be the #1 book.  What I’d like to compile is a list thought leader, leadership and inspirational books that Christian Leaders need to read in 2011.   Recently published books are encouraged and oldies but goodies are welcome. We can update this list as the year goes on.

Please understand that “secular” leadership and business books are part of this list.  Seth Godin books are always great reads and are highly recommended by me.

The process is process is simple.  Simply leave a comment with the Author or Authors name and the Book Title. Feel free to share multiple books to the list.  Not required, but feel free to leave any brief commentary about the books that you or others share.

Ready, Set, Go!

  • “Searching for God Knows What” Donald Miller

  • “Unchristian” Gabe Lyons & Mike Kinnaman

  • Billy Wiginton

    The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons, The Reason For God by Timothy Keller, unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Lost and Found by Ed Stetzer, etc. There are so many good ones!

  • Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

  • Denny Burt

    Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels and The Way of The Shepherd by Kevin Leman.

  • J.I.Packer – “Knowing God”
    John Piper – “God is the Gospel”

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  • Killing Cockroaches- Tony Morgan
    Raving Fans- ken Blanchard
    Slow Fade
    Millenials- a must read and a little better than Unchristian

  • I recommend and have read almost all of John Maxwell’s books. Also, Coach John Wooden’s book.

  • Jason M

    The Five Dysfunctions of a Team & The Five Temptations of a CEO by Lencioni
    The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg
    Bounce: The Art of Turning Tough Times Into Triumph by Keith McFarland

  • BlessedPanda

    Warren W. Wiersbe- “50 People Every Christian Should Know”
    The lives of these people have challenged every aspect of my life and have pushed me to seek the Lord more fervently.

  • Great question! Here are some that made an impact for me over the past year. (Some aren’t new)

    Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard
    Missional Renaissance or The Present Future, Reggie McNeal
    The Leadership Baton by Rowland Forman
    Reverse Mentoring by Earl Creps
    Handoff by Jeff Myers
    Communicating for Change by Andy Stanley
    Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne
    Organic Community by Joseph Myers
    Church Unique by Will Mancini
    plus a business favorite: Good to Great by Jim Collins

  • Greg Finley

    I think Eric Metaxas’s Biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an excellent, thought-provoking read….

  • Anything by John Maxwell, but especially his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

  • Axiom by Bill Hybels
    Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
    Tough Choices by Carl Fiorina
    The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns
    Question behind the Question by John G Miller
    It by Craig Groeschel
    Silos, Politics and Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni
    Pop Goes the Church by Tim Stevens
    The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
    Seeing Gray in a Black and White World by Adam Hamilton
    The Barbarian Christian by Erwin McManus

  • Adam Bishop

    1) Good to Great by Jim Collins

    2) The Truth About Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

    3) The Contrarians Guide to Leadership by Steve Sample

    4) Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard

    5) What the Best CEO’s Know by Jeffrey Krames

    6) The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky

    7) The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How to Avoid Them by Jim Muelhausen

  • A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
    ~ simple book you could read in an hour but profound truths from the lives of Saul, David & Absalom. … it’s a study in brokenness – I read it every year.

    Total Forgiveness and Sensitivity of the Spirit by R.T. Kendall
    ~ Unforgiveness & Bitterness is something all leaders wrestle with – Total Forgiveness looks at the life of Joseph & teaches us how to be free.
    ~ We all desire the anointing & presence of the Holy Spirit on our lives & ministry – Sensitivity of the Spirit is a clear, provocational, challenge & guide.

    LOVE THIS POST! I’m gonna fill my Amazon Wish List – thanks EVERYONE!

    • Total Forgiveness and Sensitivity of the Spirit sounds interesting. I so need that in my life.

  • – “Children’s Ministry Leadership the you-can-do-it-guide” by Jim Wideman

    – do Christian books like by Bill Hybels, Steven Furtick, or Craig Groeschel count for leadership even if “leadership” isn’t part of the title?

  • ‘The Management Methods of Jesus’ by Bob Briner
    ‘The Leadership Lessons of Jesus’ by Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard
    ‘Becoming A Coaching Leader’ by Daniel Harkavy
    ‘Mentor Like Jesus’ by Regi Campbell

  • Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Chambers is a classic I’ve read 2 or 3 times and refer to often.

    • Its a must read for every Christian leader. One of the best Christian leadership books ever published

  • Triple-Threat Leadership by Alan Danielson

  • Sun Stand Still – Steven Furtick
    Choosing to Cheat – Andy Stanley

  • 1) Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
    2) Linchpin by Seth Godin
    3) Orange by Reggie Joiner (especially in area of family ministry)
    4) Visioneering by Andy Stanley
    5) From the Bible: Nehemiah, Judges, I & II Samuel

  • Winning with People by John Maxwell

  • Improving Your Serve by Charles Swindoll

  • The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
    This is one of the best leadership books I have read. Also I am a huge fan of John Maxwell and he recommends the book all the time.

    The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy

    The Talent Master by Bill Conaty
    The book talks about how the best company’s( Like GE) train the next generation of leaders.

  • Maria

    The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns

    The Externally Focused Church by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw

  • Wow, Scott, I’ve already got some big inspiration from your comments so far. So many I was going to say, and I may repeat one or two but here are my favorites:

    1. Think and Grow RichNapoleon Hill – I know it may be taboo to mention a book about getting money for a Church leader, but some of the classic principles for knowing what our vision is and going with deadset focus have really helped me in the days where my thoughts were sporadic.

    2. Soul CravingsErwin McManus

    3. Purple CowSeth Godin

    4. SMALL is the New BIG – Seth Godin – Just because I like creating irony on a blog called BIG is the New SMALL.

    5. Confessions of a PastorCraig Groeschel

    6. Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional LeadersEarl Creps – Earl Creps is a friend of mine and has had some pretty unusual discussions with some thought-provoking unconventional church leaders

    7. Secrets in the Dark: A Life in SermonsFrederich Buechner

    8. Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in ExileRob Bell and Don Golden

    9. A New Kind of ChristianBrian McLaren

    10. The 4 Hour Work WeekTimothy Ferriss – I know this doesn’t make much sense for church leaders, (Who wants a pastor who only works 4 hours a week?) but some of the ideas for thinking outside the box and learning how to manage your time better are brilliant!

    11. Church DiversityScott Williams – No, I didn’t get a leaked copy. Just know this is going to be a page turner. Just for you, Scott! 😉

    Okay, I’ll stop there. I could go all day!

  • 1. “Conformed into His Image” by Ken Boa. Dr. Boa’s book has shaped my Christian experience in profound ways. The best book I’ve read on the Christian life.

    2. “Grace Walk” By Steve McVey. This simple book is simply one of the best on how grace transforms lives.

    3. “Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer. This book is a gym. It’s wonderful theology written at the heart level.

    4. “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller. Thoughtful. Practical and worshipful.

    Pastor Derwin

  • Scott, I’ve been following your blog for sometime…and I am so very happy to see God blessing you and the community you serve. “FISTBUMPS” all the way homie!. God bless you my brother and hope one day to meet you personally. Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus stuff is good. The Leadership Challenge is a classic…21 Laws always rocks. Andy Stanley’s stuff good as well.

  • Great book list.

    Before I give you what I think to be the best book for a ministry leader to read, let me 2nd a few that have already been mentioned:

    1) Grace Walk – The most impactful book I’ve ever read.
    2) A Tale of Three Kings – Yes, a yearly read. So good.
    3) Spiritual Leadership – Just finished rereading it for probably the 5th or 6th time. So good.

    Drum roll please….

    This book has not been mentioned above, and is probably my most quoted book on organizational leadership. It is:

    Good to Great & The Social Sectors. It is the 30 or so page addendum to Jim Collins’ book. Great for ministry or non-profit leaders.

  • Anybody ever read Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet? Thinking about getting it.

  • 1) Switch by Dan and Chip Heath – Switch is all about how to lead change, even when you don’t have the authority or the resources, probably my favorite book outside of the Bible. My Review
    2) The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard – OMM provides simple tools on how to effectively manage people. Along with LOMM (below), OMM probably provides the most solid advice per minute of reading than any other leadership book I’ve read. You’ll only need about 90 minutes to get through it.
    3) Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard – LOMM teaches situational leadership, how to coach people based on their level of competency and motivation. It’s a simple concept, but a revolutionary one as well.

  • Lon

    lots of great ones already mentioned – i’d add ‘war of art’ by steve pressfield to the list – it applies to any creative endeavor including christian leadership in my view.

  • @lindseygilstrap

    My all-time fav is Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels. I also recommend:
    Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard
    Rethinking the Church by James Emery White
    Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
    The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg
    The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni

  • Bananaboatbunny

    I totally recommend “Do you think I’m beautiful?” by Angila Tomas. I’m a 15 year old girl that started a bible study at 13. When I read this book, my bible study went from half-baked to full blown. I’m from a small town, so usually avereged 15-20 people. After reading the book, we now average 40-45! This book changed my school, it will also change your life.

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