Books I Recommend to Young Leaders

I am often asked to suggest books for a leader to use in training and developing leaders.  Here is a current list:

1.     Allender, Dan. LEADING WITH A LIMP: TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF YOUR MOST POWERFUL WEAKNESS.  Waterbrook Press, 2006.  ISBN: 978-1-57856-952-6.  This book highlights how God uses our flaws, weaknesses and wounds as his most precious place to display his grace.

2.     Barna, George. HIGH IMPACT AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHUCHES: LEADERSHIP CONCEPTS FROM SOME OF TODAY’S MOST EFFECTIVE CHURCHES. Ventura: Gospel Light, 2004.  Exciting case study based research on effective churches in the United States.

3.     Cole, Neil.  CHURCH 3.0: UPGRADES FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.  ISBN:  978-0-470-52945-4. Cole examines trends impacting the church around the world and calls for a rethinking of how we approach being the church.

4.     Cook, Arnold L. HISTORICAL DRIFT: MUST MY CHURCH DIE?  Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000.  Cook will help you understand the life cycle of a church or denomination.

5.     Crabb, Larry. REAL CHURCH: DOES IT EXIST? CAN I FIND IT? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009.  ISBN:  978-0-7852-2920-9.  A very personal look at how empty and unsatisfying the evangelical experience of the church really is and what we can do about it.

6.     Drucker, Peter with Jim Collins, Philip Kotler, James Kouzes, Judith Rodin, V. Kasturi Rangan, Frances Hesselbein.  THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOU WILL EVER ASK ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.  ISBN:  978-0-470-22756-5.  This leadership book is on this list to help you take your framework on biblical leadership and examine it carefully under essentials of any non-profit organization.  Excellent guide for those in parachurch structures.

7.     George, Timothy & Robert Smith, Jr. A MIGHTY LONG JOURNEY: REFLECTIONS ON RACIAL RECONCILIATION.  Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000.  ISBN: 0-8054-1820-2. A collection of sixteen sermons and some additional bible studies on American racial reconciliation.  Very challenging and helpful for historical context and practical actions.

8.     Gilbreath, Edward.  RECONCILIATION BLUES: A BLACK EVANGELICAL’S INSIDE VIEW OF WHITE CHRISTIANITY.    Downers Grove: IVP, 2006.  ISBN: 978-0-8308-3362-7.  What do black students at CIU experience.  An insightful first person account.

9.     Hansen, David. THE ART OF PASTORING: MINISTRY WITHOUT ALL OF THE ANSWERS.  Downers Grove: IVP, 1994.  A classic!  The best book for the pastor of a church under 500 in attendance on everything from preaching to leadership.  I have read this book several times.

10.  Hirsch, Alan.  THE FORGOTTEN WAYS:REACTIVATING THE MISSIONAL CHURCH. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006.  ISBN: 978-1-58743-164-5.  An Australian church planter who has a ministry around the world offers practical biblical direction for the church.

11.  Hybels, Bill.  COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP.  Zondervan, 2002.  ISBN: 0-310-24823- Covers a variety of practical issues from vision to team building.

12.  McManus, Erwin R. AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE: DARING TO BECOME THE CHURCH GOD HAD IN MIND.  Loveland: Group, 2001.  A creative look at the kind of churches needed for the 21st Century.

13.  McNeal, Reggie.  PRACTICING GREATNESS: 7 DISCIPLINES OF EXTRAORDINARY SPIRITUAL LEADERS.  Jossey-Bass, 2006.  ISBN: 13:978-0-7879-7753-5 A practical guide to establishing habits in your life that will sustain you for a lifetime.

14.  McNeal Reggie.  MISSIONAL RENAISSANCE: CHANGING THE SCORECARD FOR THE CHURCH. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.  ISBN: 978-0-470-24344-2.  How would churches measure success differently if the Bible shaped the scorecard instead of our cultural views of size of the Sunday crowd?

15.  Rankin, Jerry & Ed Stetzer.  SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND MISSIONS: THE BATTLE FOR GOD’S GLORY AMONG THE NATIONS.  Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2010.  ISBN:  978-0-8054-4887-0.

An examination of Satan’s primary strategy of deceptions and distortions of truth used to paralyze the church.  A very convicting read.

16.  Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Integrity Publishers, 2006.  An excellent  follow-up to the Emotionally Healthy Church it provides much greater depth and examples of how to sustain personal and congregational health. 

17.  Van Yperen, Jim. Making Peace. Chicago: Moody, 2002.  The best treatment I have found on processing conflict in a congregation in a biblical way.

18.  Wilhoit, James.  SPIRITUAL FORMATION AS IF THE CHURCH MATTERED.  Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006.  ISBN:  978-0-8010-2776-5.  A serious in depth look at biblical community as the context for making disciples.


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