Business Books for Ministry Leaders

I asked Christian leaders across the U.S. to recommend a book written primarily for business leaders that they’ve found helpful in their ministry leadership. The first 10 of these were originally published in the September 2016 issue of the Christian Standard in my monthly “Best Practices” column. (See the original article HERE.) I’ve added 5 more and included all 15 here:

The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, by Steven B. Sample. “It helped me think past the clichés of leadership to practices that reflect what I think is a leader’s honest self-evaluation before God.”
–Jon Weatherly, Professor of New Testament, Dean of the School of Bible and Theology at Johnson University

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, by Patrick Lencioni. “So much good stuff about why effective teams matter.”
–Monica Roberts, Executive Director of the Healing Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny. “Great book on how to navigate conflict without burning bridges.”
–Chuck Faber, Academic Dean and Professor of Theology and New Testament at Boise Bible College

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, and others.
–Josh Hunt, Author, Sunday School Trainer, and Pastor at Salem (New Mexico) Baptist Church

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. “Excellent overview of the management mindset needed to develop and maintain a culture of ongoing evaluation and improvement.”
–Bruce Stoker, Senior Minister at Athens (Ohio) Church of Christ

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcom Gladwell.
–Gary David Holt, Minister at Arlington (Indiana) Christian Church

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. “Two Navy Seals write about leadership, change, and responsibility.”
–Mark LaGrone, Minister of Discipleship and Small Groups at Collierville (Tennessee) First Baptist Church

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. “His presentation on the topic is one of the top 10 Ted Talks, but I still recommend reading the book.”
–Brad Himes, Adjunct Instructor at Eastern Illinois University and Involvement Director at Broadway Christian Church, Mattoon, Illinois

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, by Carmine Gallo. “It reinvigorated my passion for preaching and the power of the spoken word.”
—Dave Stone, senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, by Barry Posner and James M. Kouzes. “This book is backed by research and has more than 25 years of proven success.”
–Mark A. Watkins, Coach and Mentor

Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration, by Warren Bennis. “Opened my eyes to how great teams of people accomplish extraordinary things when they have clarity and commitment.”
–Brian Jones, Christ’s Church of the Valley, Royersford, Pennsylvania

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins. “I’ve applied many principles from this book about how to make small groups and ministry great rather than settling for good enough.”
–Michael C. Mack, writer, trainer, and coach at Small Group Leadership

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It stresses generosity and teaches the value of one another.
—Dave Stone, senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute. “It opened my eyes to ways we justify our own failings and blame others.” (Michael’s Note: I add my recommendation of this book. It’s helped me not only in my ministry but in all of my relationships.)
–Ken Harrah, Founder, Memory Ministries

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by Seth Godin.
–James E. Snapp, Minister at Curtisville Christian Church, Elwood, Indiana

QUESTIONS: Which of these books would you recommend? What business books would you add to this list? Please click the comment box, below, to jump into the discussion.

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years.

He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides.

See the “About Michael Mack” page under About Us for more about him.

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