Leadership is the act of leading, guiding or directing a person or group of people. An article from Forbes.com tackled the timeless argument of whether leadership traits are learned or inherited. According to that article written earlier this year:
“Researchers have found that leaders come by their talents partly through genetics but mostly through hard work and persistence. In fact, one study from The Leadership Quarterly on heritability (that is, the innate skills you bring to the table) and human development (what you learn along the way) estimated that leadership is 24 percent genetic and 76 percent learned.”
Wow! Is that saying that we can learn to be a leader despite our lack of inherited leadership traits? Biblical leaders are needed more than ever in today’s society, even more so in the Church. Since we have learned that 76 percent of leadership can be learned, why not be a part of that percentile and foster a culture that fulfills a much needed calling in our churches? To be an effective leader in the church, we need to first strengthen ourselves, strengthen our church, then take on the mission field! Jesus was and still is the Ultimate Leader. The Bible has great insight into leadership through Jesus and is by far the top book on leadership. In addition to reading the Bible, here is a list of 15 other powerful books written by modern-day authors that can help to bring a Christian perspective on leadership. There are many books out there, these are just a few to spark leadership in your church.
The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal
Author: Charles R. Swindoll
Description: In The Church Awakening, Charles R. Swindoll discusses the challenges, struggles, and priorities of the church in the 21st century. He reveals the problems inherent in the entertainment-based postmodern church and shows how a return to biblical teaching will restore its strength and impact.
Author: Jonathan K. Dodson
Description: This book helps us understand and experience the fullness of discipleship as God intended. It combines the mess and the weight, the imperfection and transformation, the honesty and wonder of being a disciple who revolves around Jesus. Here is a practical guide to discipleship that is Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, field-tested, and easily implemented.
AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything
Author: Kyle Idleman
Description: As a pastor, Kyle Idleman has heard dozens of stories from people about their “aha!” moments. In this book, he shares the common threads from their stories, and the story of the prodigal son that will help you reconnect with the love of our heavenly Father. Drawing on Scriptural truths, he outlines three key elements (Awakening, Honesty, Action) that will draw you closer to God and change your life for good.
Toughest People to Love
Author: Charles De Groat
Description: People – frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated – are the most difficult part of leadership; they challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. In this book, Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.
Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community
Author: Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
Description: An identity that shapes the whole of life so that life and mission become ‘total church.’ With that as their premise, they emphasize two overarching principles to govern the practice of church and mission: being gospel-centered and being community-centered. When these principles take precedence, say the authors, the truth of the Word is upheld, the mission of the gospel is carried out, and the priority of relationships is practiced in radical ways. The church becomes not just another commitment to juggle but a 24/7 lifestyle where programs, big events, and teaching from one person take a backseat to sharing lives, reaching out, and learning about God together.
Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God
Author: Bob Kauflin
Description: Nothing is more essential than knowing how to worship the God who created us. This book focuses readers on the essentials of God-honoring worship, combining biblical foundations with practical application in a way that works in the real world. The author, a pastor and noted songwriter, skillfully instructs pastors, musicians, and church leaders so that they can root their congregational worship in unchanging scriptural principles, not divisive cultural trends. Bob Kauflin covers a variety of topics such as the devastating effects of worshiping the wrong things, how to base our worship on God’s self-revelation rather than our assumptions, the fuel of worship, the community of worship, and the ways that eternity’s worship should affect our earthly worship.
Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ
Author: Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson
Description: To aid churches in ministering to broken and hurting people, the authors of Counsel from the Cross present a counseling model based on Scripture and powered by the work of the wonderful counselor, Jesus Christ. Through careful exegesis and helpful case studies, they demonstrate how to provide consistently biblical, gospel-centered counseling and explain why it is important to do so.
Leaders Who Last
Author: Dave Kraft
Description: Based on Dave Kraft’s thirty-five years of leading, teaching leadership, and coaching dozens of Christian leaders, Leaders Who Last moves through three stages of leadership: foundations, formation, and fruitfulness. Concise, anecdotal, and packed with wisdom, this book will help you aim your ambitions, refine your character, and position yourself to be an effective leader who endures.
Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer
Author: J. Oswald Sanders
Description: Discover why this timeless classic continues to equip tomorrow’s ministers–and challenge today’s shepherds–toward greater effectiveness! Revised and updated, Sanders’s hard-hitting study explores the essential qualities of a godly leader–and offers sterling examples from Scripture and Christian history.
Author: John Ortberg
Description: In Soul Keeping, bestselling author John Ortberg sheds light on the most overlooked, underrated, and least-understood part of your being. With a workable and relevant approach, he shows how living the “with God” life isn’t just a good idea–it’s the only way to find lasting peace and satisfaction.
Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul
Author: Bill Hybels
Description: Exhausted, overwhelmed, overscheduled–today’s breakneck pace can consume and control us. But what if you could live a different life? Offering practical tips and spiritual insights to help you declutter your soul, Bill Hybels encourages you to stop doing what doesn’t matter and create a God-first schedule so you can experience purpose, fulfillment, connectedness, and joyful productivity.
Author: Mark Miller
Description: As he did in “The Secret,” Mark Miller uses a compelling business fable to reveal profound yet easily grasped truths that can dramatically transform any organization. Debbie Brewster, the heroine of “The Secret,” has been promoted and is now struggling with taking her new team to the next level. Her old mentor, Jeff Brown, the company’s CEO, sends her out to find the secret of teams. On her journey she learns from three very different teams–the Special Forces, NASCAR, and a local restaurant.
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
Author: Peter F. Drucker
Description: The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.
Author: John P. Kotter
Description: Probably the best book on change leadership, this book has not lost any of its punch since it was first published in 1996. Every pastor will lead a congregation to some type of change. Kotter offers an eight-step process for leading change in any organization, including a local congregation. This book became a precursor to other books on change and innovation.
Good to Great
Author: Jim Collins
Description: Though this book was published in 2001, it continues to be a best-seller today. Every chapter has valuable insights for the pastor, but the chapter on Level 5 Leadership is my favorite. Though Collins makes no claims of being a Christian, there is much about this book that has biblical themes throughout. A pastor will find this book invaluable for both organizational leadership as well as personal leadership development.
Ultimately Jesus gave us the best example of leadership. But there are a lot of great books out there that can help to usher in the age of leadership through helpful experiences. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so start that spark in your church today.