10 Books Church Leaders Should Read!

Contributor: Rob Shepherd

Full disclosure, I hate reading. I’d rather watch the movie over the book any day of the week. I don’t read to relax. I don’t read because I enjoy it. I read because I want to be a good leader. As John Maxwell so famously said, “Leaders are readers.”

To help me build the discipline of reading I form book clubs. Three times a year my staff goes through a book together. Every semester I join a small group that includes a book to read. I also have a friend who I meet with every other week to discuss a book of our choice. This is the only way I have been able to complete a book. And it’s made a huge difference in my life.

Reading has impacted my creativity, leadership, and relationships immensely! Below are the top 10 books church leaders should read.

1. Didn’t See It Coming by Carey Nieuwhof. Carey does an amazing job of articulating the 7 challenges that no one expects but everyone experiences in leadership.
2. The Self Aware Leader by Terry Linhart. Every leader has blind spots and Terry’s book does an amazing job of helping each person discover them.
3. How To Break Growth Barriers by Carl F. George. This is an amazing book on how to capture overlooked opportunities that can help your church grow.
4. When Your Church Feels Stuck by Chris Sonksen. This is one of the best books to take teams, elders, deacons, boards, or pastors through. It is so practical and will help you figure out how to get your church unstuck.
5. Hero Maker by Dave Ferguson. This is one of the best books to learn how to raise up other leaders. This book will help you maximize your leadership and help shift the culture of your church.
6. The Power of Moments by Chip Heath. Have you ever wondered why some moments have more of an impact than others? As pastors, we cannot manipulate or force the Holy Spirit to move, but there are some practical things we can do to set up opportunities. The Power of Moments is not a book written to pastors, but it is one of the most impactful books I’ve read for leading moments.
7. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. As church leaders, we are like Paul in that we want others to follow our example as we follow Jesus. So often we get in our own way. Peter’s book helps wade through our own junk in order to find the freedom to lead others to Jesus.
8. H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick. This is an amazing book on leadership! This is great to take a church staff though!
9. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read to help understand how to reach people for Jesus while helping them grow in their faith. If you want your church to reach the unchurched this is a must read!
10. Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne. Have you ever wondered, “How did it get this way?” That is how did leading a church come to mean turf battles, long meetings, and conflict at every decision. Larry does an amazing job of walking church leaders through practical ways to keep everyone on the same page.

There are so many great books out there! How many off of this list have you read? We love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments. Also, what books would you add to this list?

Showing 2 comments
  • Avatar
    Tiffany Henning

    I have read several of these but I think my favorite is Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. Your #11 should be Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro!

    • Avatar
      Mike King

      I couldn’t agree more! Thanks Tiffany!

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