Five Books To Change The Way You Lead Your Ministry

Something that I’ve done for years is set a book reading goal for each year.

Usually I aim for 52 books a year and while there have been seasons where I crushed that mark, I haven’t hit my target in a few years. Something about 5 kids and a demanding job.

Currently I’m on book 36. I’m thinking 16 books in 3 months is probably not going to happen. Oh well.

I’ll just keep reading.

I read because I never want to stop growing as a leader.

Not every book is a game changer but every once in a while…one is.

I could share a bunch of books that have altered the way I think and lead.

I thought I would share 5 books that I’ve read this year that have actually made an impact in the way I lead.

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

This book has been very helpful because I find myself at a middle level in my church.

I lead a department but I’m not the senior pastor. In fact, I’m two levels below him.

Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of influence in my church and other times I hear about a decision after the fact.

The mistake that we often make when we’re not in charge is thinking that we can’t lead. T

he central message of this book is that you can lead even when you don’t possess a leadership position.

I’m not in charge but I’m learning that I can still lead in meaningful ways.

This book could be helpful for you if you aren’t the senior pastor.

The Road Back to You & The Path Between Us

This year is the year that I discovered the enneagram.

If you’re unfamiliar, the enneagram is sort of a personality profiling tool.

I’ve taken a lot of personality tests but this has been the most helpful by far.

As a leader, I find that understanding the people I lead to be incredibly helpful.

Awareness of people’s tendencies, motivations, fears and strengths helps me relate to them better and lead them more effectively.

Also bonus points to these two books because the enneagram has helped me better understand and appreciate my wife as well. I’m always down for books that help my marriage!


The enneagram might not be your jam but I’ve found it to be very insightful.

If you want to test the waters, The Road Back to You is the place to start.

Radical Candor

I loved this book.

It’s #1 on my list for this year.

However, just the cover of the book might offend some of you so if you’re not interested in reading a leadership book written by a non-believer who curses a decent amount…just skip this recommendation.

I happen to be someone who embraces good ideas wherever I find them even if they aren’t—how should I put this?-perfectly sanitary.

Anyway, this book is about empowering people and helping others achieve their goals and ambitions. Watching the people you lead grow is one of the most fulfilled aspects of being a boss.

If you’re interested in growing in your ability to develop others and you don’t mind a little spice, this book might be a good fit.

The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

Funny thing. This book is really old.

But hey, some of the leadership mentors in my life are pretty old school and when a great leader tells you to read a book…you just do it.

Anyway, if you are in leadership and you feel too busy and stressed out, this is a must read.

Here’s the basic idea: Most managers end up getting managed by the people they manage because they take on their employees work.

If you find yourself maxed, this book just might provide the hope you need.

Maybe you’re thinking, 52 books!?! Or even 36 books?!?! Where do I find the time to actually read books? A couple ideas…

    1. First, my commute is 25 minutes. Over the last few years, I’ve averaged 2 books per month by using this time to listen to audio books. That equals 24 books read before I even crack open an actual book. Wait, do audio books count? PSH! There aren’t any rules here. As far as I can tell, there are no book police.
    2. One of my teammates decided to get serious about reading books that would help him grow as a leader. In order to achieve this goal he made the decision to wake up an hour earlier than normal and read. He’s already read 80 books this year. Insane!
    Maybe you’re one of those people who hates mornings. It’s all good. Even waking up 15 minutes early would likely net you 15-20 books in a year.
    3. If you really want to read more leadership books, invite others to read with you. Start a book club or discussion group around books. Accountability and chapter due dates do wonders when it comes to motivation.

Wrap Up

Well, there you have it, 5 books that have impacted the way I lead this year.

Hopefully one of these books sparked some interest or maybe this post has challenged you to read more. We’d love to hear about a few books that have impacted your leadership. Leave us a comment below.

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