Every so often I try to put together a little list of helpful reading. Here are some suggestions relating to leadership.
On church leadership I’d encourage you to start with reading that helps you think careful about what the church is about and what it means to be involved in leading a church. By the way, I’d encourage all those involved in church leadership to be reading and thinking about these sorts of things, not just pastors and elders.Some very helpful reading on what we are about as churches and church leaders includes:
Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor
John Piper, Brothers we are not professionals
Tim Keller, Center Church
These books are great because they get us back to the heart of the Gospel and keep us focused on what it means to be part of God’s family. Now, there are a lot of nuts and bolts questions about planning, strategy, organisation, leadership etc. There are two risks in this area. On the one hand, we can just ignore those questions and run away from practicalities. On the other hand, we can focus on them in a way that loses the Gospel heart of things and treating the church as a business. We are not called to be CEOs and sadly there are a lot of church leadership gurus about who don’t get that. Some of the books below are better at getting the Gospel heartbeat right than others (I’ve stayed clear of the extreme failures) but all of them have got something practical to offer
Aubrey Malphurs, Advance Strategic Planning – how do you make big decisions about a church’s future direction?
Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine – a helfpul reminder that whilst we do need to pay attention to structures and organisation (the trellis), our primary focus is “vine work” How do you disciple people, how do you spot and raise up future leaders? How do you move from firefighting and reacting to proactive discipleship?
Ray Evans, Ready Steady Grow This book comes from a concern to see healthy, growing churches. It’s based on Ray’s 30 years’ experience as a pastor. Ray also helpful recognises the effect that size has on a church and talks through the challenges experienced at different stages of growth
It’s good to learn from common wisdom and so a couple of books from a secular leadership perspective that you might find interesting and informative are
Marcus Buckingham, First Break all the rules
Jim Collins, From Good to Great
Finally Chris Green’s blog, Ministry Nuts and Bolts is brilliant. You’ll find lots to encourage, challenge and teach you.
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