We asked Tim Ahlman, senior pastor at Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran Church in Gilbert, Arizona, to share with us his thoughts about the best leadership books for the modern pastor. Here’s what he had to say!
Most pastors are in this business because they love people and love Jesus. But despite those genuine intentions, some pastors really struggle with leadership skills. I strongly believe that pastors need to invest in leadership books that are both sacred and secular, so they can grow in their ability to connect with their congregants and with the community.
There are so many great leadership books out there I could recommend—but these four (organized alphabetically by last name) are worth checking out as soon as possible.
1. The Four Disciplines Of Execution
By Sean Covey, Jim Huling, & Chris McChesney
“The Four Disciplines of Execution” is an excellent book for those who want to become better leaders. It walks through four distinct rules good leaders tap into: focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability.
While this book is written from a secular business perspective, its themes can easily be applied in a church setting. Many churches strategize well, but when the rubber meets the road and it comes time to carry out a plan, they get stuck in what this book calls the “whirlwind”—or the day-to-day grind. This is a very helpful read for anyone who feels like they may be stuck.
(If you want a sneak peak into the theme of the book, check out this Q&A with Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel and the three authors.)
2. Simplify: 10 Practices To Unclutter Your Soul
By Bill Hybels
Bill Hybels is a long-time pastor from Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area. He is one of my favorite authors in the Christian leadership genre because his work is so practical and applicable. “Simplify” talks about how the exhausting pace we live at can leave us spiritually drained—and offers advice on how you can break free from this harmful pattern.
3. The Ideal Team Player
By Patrick Lencioni
Patrick Lencioni is a best-selling author of many business leadership books, including “Death by Meeting” and “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.” In his most recent book “The Ideal Team Player,” Patrick identifies three different values or characteristics that define a key teammate: someone who is humble, hungry, and smart. This has been instrumental in helping me identify ways to interact with my non-paid and paid leadership staff.
You can learn more about Patrick and his work on his website.
4. Communicating For A Change: 7 Keys To Irresistible Communication
By Andy Stanley & Lane Jones
Andy Stanley is the pastor of North Point Community Church in the Atlanta area, and Lane Jones is the executive director of membership development there. Together, they created “Communicating for a Change,” which is a must-read for pastors today. In it, you’ll learn seven critical methods to connect with your congregants, like moving them through a “one point” sermon.
(Also, check out Andy Stanley’s website—he hosts a wonderful monthly podcast!)
What leadership book are you reading today?
Tweet us @strechinternet and let us know, and your recommendation might end up in an upcoming article!