The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.


Leading Change

  • Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive

    by Thom Rainer

    “No one wants to see a church die. And yet, far too many churches are dying. For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Thom Rainer has helped churches grow, reverse the trends of decline, and has autopsied those that have died. From this experience, he has discovered twelve consistent themes among those churches that have died. Yet, it’s not gloom and doom because from those twelve themes, lessons on how to keep your church alive have emerged.

    Whether your church is vibrant or dying, whether you are a pastor or a church member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church will walk you through the radical paths necessary to keep your church alive to the glory of God and advancement of Christ’s Kingdom!”

  • Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap

    by Thom Rainer. Publisher: Zondervan.

    Follows the lead of Good to Great by Jim Collins.

    Click to see full review

    To provide help to declining churches by examining those churches that reversed their decline and experienced God working in their midst.

    Real life case studies of 13 churches that moved from “stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness.” It is patterned after the principles of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great.

    This book gives hope and helpful insights to churches that are plateaued or in decline. The examples and stories should encourage and direct others to move ahead with developing their own “break out ministry”. The only caution I would give is that I believe each church is unique.  Therefore borrowing “mechanics” or strategies from another ministry may not fit your situation. Do not sidestep your need to connect with God when determining what to do next in your ministry. Just because something worked in many other ministries doesn’t mean it will work the same way in yours.

    Who will benefit?
    Pastors and lay leaders that need encouragement and know how.

    How does it benefit?
    Directs readers to the need for humble leaders that are dependent on the Lord and willing to be good stewards of the resources and opportunities entrusted to them. It provides examples of successful efforts to turn a church around.

    Where does it fit in the Ministry Design process?
    Research and examples of others that successfully faced the challenges faced when leading a declining church. It ministers to the heart not just the head.

    Aha Thought:
    “The breakout churches did not just look for the best qualified people to be a part of the ministry team.  They sought people who would be the right fit with their personalities and philosophies of ministry.  The “team” concept is vital in these churches. In the athletic world, we sometimes see a team of extraordinary athletes who perform poorly in competition because they don’t work well together. The same thing can happen in the church. Our breakout churches know how critical it is to have highly competent people on their ministry team who work well together.” (p. 101)

  • Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping

    by Brad Powell. Publisher: Thomas Nelson.

    Focuses on change without compromise

    Click to see full review


    To assist church leaders bring about change without compromise.


    The author introduces the book with the following 4 thoughts:

    •   Christians and churches have begun cherishing, valuing, and fighting for and against the wrong things.

    •   Any given church is simply a reflection of those who attend.

    •   I believe that the church is the hope of the world, with this one caveat…when it’s working right.

    •   The truth of Christianity is that, though Jesus died, He now lives. A dead church is an oxymoron.

    The author builds on these thoughts with the following observations:

    •   We’ve been doing church the way we like it, the way we enjoy it, the way we want it.

    •   Most churches are organized to serve the interests and well-being of the insiders rather than the outsiders.

    •   Acts is not meant to be a history of what the church once was but a picture of what the church is to be today.

    •   No amount of passion, concentration, or faith can compensate for a language barrier.

    •   This book is about changing the church in its conduct (practice) without compromising the character (principle) of God’s truth.

    •   When the truth appears irrelevant, God appears irrelevant.

    •   Jesus spoke the language of His culture.

    •   We must leave our heaven, our paradise, our comfort zone, and go to those who need God’s hope.

    These and many other observations are presented and developed in this book.


    This is a good, helpful book written by a pastor who has faced the challenges of leading a ministry through change without compromise.  I believe you will find it helpful on numerous levels.  While you will agree with many things and disagree others it will help you on your journey to lead your ministry to change without compromise.


    Who will benefit?

    Leaders facing the challenges of a declining or plateaued church.

    How will it benefit?

    I believe it will Inspire, encourage and educate the reader.

    Where does it fit in the ministry design process?

    At the front end of your ministry design.

    Aha Thought:

    “As a part of staying the course in ministry, I had to learn a very important lesson.  Transition is never done.  Every new day brings another new challenge.  We’ll need God as much tomorrow as we needed Him today.  When it’s done, it’s not done.  In fact, I’ve developed four thoughts to help me remember this important truth.

    •   Just because I’ve said it, doesn’t mean they’ve got it.

    •   Just because they’ve got it, doesn’t mean they embrace it.

    •   Just because they embrace it, doesn’t mean they’ll work for it.

    •   Just because they’re working it, doesn’t mean they will keep to the plan.

    Keep your eye on the ball. It’s your job to keep people seeing the vision, moving toward the purpose, living the values, and working the plan.  If you don’t, they won’t.” (p. 292-293)

  • Change Your Church or Die

    By Josh Hunt

    “Your church is perfectly tuned to get the results you are now getting. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what have been getting. If you change. . .

    Well, you might lose your job. It might be a big brouhaha.

    I would like to converse with you about how to change a church while keeping your job—and keeping the peace. I want to talk to you about introducing new music, a new small group strategy, and new technologies to help your church grow.”

  • Change Your Questions Change Your Church: How to Lead with Powerful Questions

    by J. Val Hastings

    How to master the right questions to move your ministry forward to the next level

  • Changing Church: How God is Leading His Church Into the Future

    by C. Peter Wagner. Publisher: Regal.

    It focuses on spiritual renewal of the church

  • Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

    By Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback

    “You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help—but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it—and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how.

    Preeminent leadership scholar Linda Hill, along with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, MIT researcher Emily Truelove, and Being the Boss coauthor Kent Lineback, found among leaders a widely shared, and mistaken, assumption: that a “good” leader in all other respects would also be an effective leader of innovation. The truth is, leading innovation takes a distinctive kind of leadership, one that unleashes and harnesses the “collective genius” of the people in the organization.

    Using vivid stories of individual leaders at companies like Volkswagen, Google, eBay, and Pfizer, as well as nonprofits and international government agencies, the authors show how successful leaders of innovation don’t create a vision and try to make innovation happen themselves. Rather, they create and sustain a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again—an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.

    Collective Genius will not only inspire you; it will give you the concrete, practical guidance you need to build innovation into the fabric of your business.”

  • Creating Your Church’s Culture: How to Uproot Mediocrity and Create a Healthy Organizational Culture

    By Stephen Blandino

    How do you create a thriving organizational culture in your church? Churches are committed to a spiritual mission, but it is often the organizational aspects of the church that hinder the mission from moving forward. Cultivating health in the organizational side of church culture requires a thorough understanding of the church’s vision, systems, staffing, relationships, and leadership. When the culture is healthy, it delivers consistently healthy outcomes that advance the mission of the church. But when cultures are unhealthy, or worse, toxic, they perpetuate constant dysfunction and derail the church’s purpose. In Creating Your Church’s Culture, Stephen Blandino gives you the tools and strategies to address the organizational side of your church’s culture. You’ll learn how to: 

    • Define your culture
    • Activate the Culture Equation
    • Hire staff who fit your culture
    • Infuse your values into your culture
    • Create a learning culture
    • Develop effective systems
    • Increase employee and volunteer engagement
    • Measure the health of your culture
    • Uproot bureaucracy 

    This practical book is loaded with wisdom and inspiration to help you improve the organizational aspects of your church’s culture. Plus, the book includes a culture assessment and implementation guide to help you apply what you are learning.

  • Effective Evangelistic Churches

    By Thom Rainer

    Part research project, part detective story, this book presents results from the most comprehensive study of successful churches in history. These 586 churches across America all excel in winning new souls for Christ, and have a remarkable range of things in common. Some stereotypes are shattered, some results are astonishing, and everything is written in a readable, non-technical style.– Includes churches with at least one baptism per 19 members annually– Churches range from 60 to 6,000 in membership; more than 2/3 claim 100-499 members– Reveals the seven evangelism tools most important to successful churches– Discusses popular misconceptions about church location, size, event evangelism and more

  • H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.

    By Brad Lomerick

    In his new book H3 LEADERSHIP: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle., Brad Lomenick shares his hard-earned insights from more than two decades of work alongside thought-leaders such as Jim Collins and Malcom Gladwell, Fortune 500 CEOs and start-up entrepreneurs. He categorizes 20 essential leadership habits organized into three distinct filters he calls “the 3 Hs”: Humble (Who am I?), Hungry (Where do I want to go?) and Hustle (How will I get there?). These powerful words describe the leader who is willing to work hard, get it done, and make sure it’s not about him or her; the leader who knows that influence is about developing the right habits for success. Lomenick provides a simple but effective guide on how to lead well in whatever capacity the reader may be in.

  • How to Lead Unwilling Followers: Strategies to Overcome Resistance

    By Frank McKinley

    What is always present in any good story?

    Conflict, right?

    Sure, it would be great to live a life free from conflict. But when you’re reading or watching a story, it can get boring quickly if there’s no challenge for the hero to overcome.

    Besides, life is full of conflicts, whether you like it or not.

    There is conflict at home. You and your spouse or roommate will not always agree on everything. There will be times that he or she might not even be willing to compromise one inch.

    There will be conflict at work. Coworkers won’t cooperate. Customers will complain. Your boss will find fault with your best efforts.

    And even when you’re by yourself, you can’t always avoid conflict. The car can break down. You might get a migraine. Or your appointment might stand you up.

    The key to properly handling conflict is not to run and hide. It’s not to become combative. Rather, it is best dealt with by using a good set of tools.

    This book will help provide those tools.

    Here’s what you’ll learn:

      • How to say what you mean so you can get what you want
      • How to provide consistency in an ever-changing world
      • How to decide what’s worth fighting about – and what isn’t
      • How to disagree without hating or attacking the other person
      • How to create an environment that prevents most conflicts
      • How to effectively deal with conflict when it comes
    • How to see every conflict as an opportunity

    If you’re new to leadership, this will keep you from quitting after the first month.

    If you’ve been a leader for a while, these tools might sharpen your ability to handle conflict more constructively.

    And if you’re already good at dealing with conflict, this is something you can give someone who isn’t.

    Now let’s get started, shall we? Scroll up and grab a copy now!

  • Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church-and What We Should Do Instead

    By Reggie McNeal

    “There’s a reason Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom come . . .” and not “Thy church come.”The church clearly plays an important role in God’s plans. It was established by Christ, and he is its Head. But have we put too much emphasis on the church? Have we confused a means of participating in God’s Kingdom with the Kingdom itself?
    In Kingdom Come, church ministry consultant Reggie McNeal reveals why it’s crucial to realign the church’s mission with God’s ultimate Kingdom agenda. You’ll discover how you can get in on—and help lead—the Kingdom movement currently underway.
    Join the mission to help the Kingdom break into our hearts…and break out into the world.”

    I believe this book will challenge your thinking! (Marshall Shannon)

  • Leadership Essentials: Shaping Vision, Multiplying Influence, Defining Character

    By Greg Ogden & Daniel Meyer

    “Leadership is essential.

    Maybe you’ve shied away from leadership because you don’t know what it will involve, or you feel too unsure of your own abilities. But your leadership is needed! In every sector of society, from families to businesses to churches, leadership roles remain empty, waiting for people willing and able to step up and make wise decisions that bring positive change. And, in a world with priorities vastly different from Christ’s, Christian leaders are especially needed to point people to him.

    Preparation is essential.

    As essential as the leadership itself is the preparation beforehand, which is why Greg Ogden, a seasoned leader himself, has created this interactive guide that will give you the tools you need to lead well, using your unique gifts and experience.”

  • Leadership: 33 Lessons on How to Become A Proactive Leader and Successfully Build A Phenomenal Team

    By Jeffrey Morales

    There are all kinds of leaders in the world: dictators and kings, chiefs and elected officials, military commanders and company directors, and employee managers. Even on a smaller scale, team leaders in the workplace, teachers and principals, and clerics are all leaders of other people – and will best succeed in their roles if they are proactive. This book will explain what proactive leadership is, and offers suggestions for improving your own leadership skills to the point where you will be able to build and manage an effective and successful team – no matter if your team is a group of executive financial advisors in a multi-million dollar banking company, or the lady’s auxiliary of your neighborhood volunteer fire department.

    Included in the book are:

    • An explanation of the difference between reactive and proactive leadership
    • The benefits of proactive leadership in various settings
    • 33 lessons for improving your proactive leadership abilities and building a phenomenal team
    • Troubleshooting for proactive leaders
    • Links to websites that offer courses, workshops, and self-assessments in proactive leadership
  • Leadership: How to Lead Effectively, Efficiently, and Vocally in a Way People Will Follow!

    By Derek Stanzma

    “You will get an in-depth look at how to lead effectively and efficiently. This book clearly illustrates to you how to start with a vision, and end up leaving a legacy. In the following chapters you’ll learn whether leaders are born or made, how to lead with your heart, and most importantly how to manage change in your life with poise, and discernment. So sit back and relax and finally learn how to lead the way you want too!

    Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn…


    • Whether leaders are born or made!
    • How to take a vision and turn it into something more!
    • How to lead with your heart!
    • How to manage change!
    • How to leave a lasting legacy for future generations!
    • How being a leader can change your life!
    • Plus much, much more!”
  • Leading Change

    by John P. Kotter

    “Millions worldwide have read and embraced John Kotter’s ideas on change management and leadership.
    From the ill-fated dot-com bubble to unprecedented M&A activity to scandal, greed, and ultimately, recession—we’ve learned that widespread and difficult change is no longer the exception. It’s the rule. Now with a new preface, this refreshed edition of the global bestseller Leading Change is more relevant than ever.

    John Kotter’s now-legendary eight-step process for managing change with positive results has become the foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. By outlining the process every organization must go through to achieve its goals, and by identifying where and how even top performers derail during the change process, Kotter provides a practical resource for leaders and managers charged with making change initiatives work. Leading Change is widely recognized as his seminal work and is an important precursor to his newer ideas on acceleration published in Harvard Business Review.

    Needed more today than at any time in the past, this bestselling business book serves as both visionary guide and practical toolkit on how to approach the difficult yet crucial work of leading change in any type of organization. Reading this highly personal book is like spending a day with the world’s foremost expert on business leadership. You’re sure to walk away inspired—and armed with the tools you need to inspire others.”

  • Leading Change Step-by-Step: Tactics, Tools, and Tales

    By Jody Spiro

    A practical, step-by-step guide to leading change efforts forsustainable results

    “Leading Change Step-by-Step offers a comprehensive andtactical guide for change leaders. Spiro’s approach has beenfield-tested for more than a decade and proven effective in a widevariety of public sector organizations including K-12 schools,universities, international agencies and non-profits. The book isfilled with proven tactics for implementing change successfully,with helpful tools to put change efforts into practice (includingforms, rubrics, and helpful questions to ask). Also included aresuccess stories that show how this approach has been usedeffectively in 22 states and internationally. The tools reveal howthe leader analyzes situations, identifies the groups needed to getdesired results, and works with them effectively to do so.

    • Includes engaging self-analyses for leaders to inform theirleadership when putting in place a change initiative
    • Jody Spiro is an experienced leader of systems change forpublic, nonprofit, and private sector organizations
    • Offers information on assessing a situation, engagingstakeholders, planning “early wins,” minimizing resistance,building a supportive culture and much more

    This important resource shows how to translate a vision of asustainable educational reform into a series of coordinated action steps.”

  • Leading Change Without Losing It: Five Strategies That Can Revolutionize How You Lead Change When Facing Opposition

    By Carey Nieuwhof

    “Leaders try to bring about change. And change almost always elicits opposition. So how do leaders navigate change, and the opposition to it, without giving up their dream for what could and should be? Carey Nieuwhof, pastor of Connexus Church near Toronto, examines five strategies that can help church leaders manage change:

    1. Determine who is for (or against) the change and why.
    2. Decide where to focus your attention.
    3. Develop the questions that will set your course.
    4. Learn to attack problems instead of people.
    5. Persevere until the critical breakthrough.”
  • Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for The Transformational Journey

    by Jim Herrington, Mike Bonem, James H. Furr. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.

    Focuses on the process for leading change.

  • Leading the DiscipleShift: Becoming a Disciple-Making Church

    by Brandon Guindon (Author) , Lance Wigton (Author) , Luke Yetter (Author)

    Equip church leaders with the tools and insights needed to rally people around renewed purpose. Drawing from biblical principles and the experience of Real Life Ministries, this workbook guides users to evaluate the power of ministry alignment and personal influence for the sake of each church’s God-given mission to make disciples.

    * 9 weeks of material designed for a church staff or ministry leadership team
    * Each week includes four personal exercises and one collaborative session for a team meeting
    * A thorough outline of practical steps for leading a new or established church toward a unified mission of disciple-making
    * Interactive workbook includes assessments for areas of ministry and leadership

  • Leading Turnaround Churches

    by Gene Wood. Publisher: ChurchSmart Resources.

    One pastor’s personal experience in revitalizing his church.

  • Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture

    By Aubrey Malphurs

    “Before you can lead your church, you have to know your church.

    Pastoral ministry is challenging work. It is made even more challenging when a pastor ignores the church’s “congregational culture” when seeking to minister to members or implement changes. Just as a pastor studies to interpret the Scriptures, he or she must also interpret the local church culture to better understand and move the church toward accomplishing its mission and vision.

    In Look Before You Lead, trusted church leadership expert Aubrey Malphurs shows pastors how to read their church’s unique local culture, how to change or revitalize it, and even how to combine two cultures when one church adopts another. This unique resource approaches leadership and discernment from a solid, biblical perspective and includes a number of helpful appendixes that are key to reading and understanding the culture.”

  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

    By Dan Heath and Chip Heath

    “Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others– struggle to make their ideas “stick.”

    Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

    In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds–from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony– draw their power from the same six traits.

    Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)– the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.”

  • Make or Break Your Church in 365 Days: A Daily Guide to Leading Effective Change

    By Paul D. Borden (Author)

  • Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change

    by William Bridges, PhD. Publisher: Lifelong Books.

    Teaches how to manage the transition created by changes in any organization.

  • Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches

    by Peter Greer, Chris Horst and Andy Crouch

    “Is your organization in danger of Mission Drift?

    Without careful attention, faith-based organizations drift from their founding mission. 

    It’s that simple. It will happen. 

    Slowly, silently, and with little fanfare, organizations routinely drift from their purpose, and many never return to their original intent. Harvard and the YMCA are among those that no longer embrace the Christian principles on which they were founded. But they didn’t drift off course overnight. Drift often happens in small and subtle ways. Left unchecked, it eventually becomes significant. 

    Yet Mission Drift is not inevitable. Organizations such as Compassion International and InterVarsity have exhibited intentional, long-term commitment to Christ.

    Why do so many organizations–including churches–wander from their mission, while others remain Mission True? Can drift be prevented? In Mission Drift, HOPE International executives Peter Greer and Chris Horst tackle these questions. They show how to determine whether your organization is in danger of drift, and they share the results of their research into Mission True and Mission Untrue organizations. Even if your organization is Mission True now, it’s wise to look for ways to inoculate yourself against drift. You’ll discover what you can do to prevent drift or get back on track and how to protect what matters most.”

  • Next: Pastoral Succession That Works

    by William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird

    “Every church and ministry goes through changes in leadership, and the issue is far bigger than the wave of pastors from the Baby Boomer generation who are moving toward retirement. When a pastor leaves a church, ministries are disrupted and members drift away. If the church is already struggling, it can find itself suddenly in very dire straits indeed. But the outcome doesn’t have to be that way.

    What if when a pastor moved on, the church knew exactly what to do to find a suitable replacement because a plan and a process had been in place for some time? While there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the puzzle of planning for a seamless pastoral succession, Next offers church leaders and pastors a guide to asking the right questions in order to plan for the future. Vanderbloemen, founder of a leading pastoral search firm, and Bird, an award-winning writer and researcher, share insider stories of succession successes and failures in dozens of churches, including some of the nation’s most influential. Through case studies, interviews, and real-time research, the authors demystify successful pastoral succession and help readers prepare for an even brighter future for their ministries.”

  • Obstacles in the Established Church: How Leaders Overcome Them

    By Sam Reiner

    “Many established churches in North America are struggling. But the obituaries are premature. Struggling churches can make a difference again. Many churches have several obstacles in front of them slowing growth and preventing health. While every church is a unique congregation in a specific local context, patterns present in one established church are often present in another. Rainer identifies these obstacles and reveals how churches can successfully overcome them. God does not give up on these congregations. Despite the obvious obstacles, we should not give up on them either.”

  • Pouring New Wine into Old Wineskins: How to Change a Church Without Destroying It

    by Aubrey Malphurs. Publisher: Baker Pub Group.

    Focuses on how to change existing ministries into Great Commission churches

    Click to see full review


    The purpose of the book is to assist leaders face the challenges and difficulties of the transition from a modern to postmodern culture.


    The book is divided into four parts:

    1.   The problem of change: leading churches to see the need for change (living and dying for change in America and the church)

    2.   The personnel for change: Finding the right leaders for change (the preparation and practice of assessment)

    3.   The practice of change: leading established churches through the process of change (Why people don’t change & the people of change, the times, process and tools for change)

    4.   The product of change: seeing established churches reach their goal of change ( The future church: a new face for the church)

    *Worksheets and suggestions for further reading are included.


    This book was written in 1993. I believe you will find some helpful information and suggestions in his material.


    Who will benefit?

    Pastors and his leadership team

    How will it benefit?

    It can assist you with the development of a game plan for leading your church into needed change.

    Where does it fit in the process?

    At the front end of your problem solving.

    Aha Thought:

    “The fact that God has sovereignly arranged all the parts of the body differently emphasizes the truth that Christians cannot serve God in whatever manner they please.  An eye cannot serve God effectively as an ear, nor can an ear serve as an eye.  This knowledge should save Christians from the ‘great assumption.’  Every year young men who have committed their lives to the Savior’s service enroll at seminaries or Bible colleges for training to become pastors of churches.  They do this with little thought as to whether or not God has designed them to be pastors.  The implicit assumption, which is based on the American dream, is that you can do anything you want.  Consequently, eagles try to swim and squirrels try to fly in the world of ministry.  Both accomplish neither, which results in ministry burnout and in time ministry dropout.” (p. 51)

  • Re:Vision: The Key to Transforming Your Church

    By Aubrey Malphurs

    “Still looking for the program, book, or sermon series that will turn your church around?
    What if the answer to revitalizing your church is . . . you?

    In a time when many pastors are jumping from church to church every few years as they search for the “right fit,” churches are suffering from a lack of sustained leadership from pastors with a viable vision for ministry. Packed with field-tested advice, self-diagnostic tools, and surveys, Re:Vision takes you through a process designed to help you re-envision your role, create a culture for positive change, and recruit people to come alongside you as helpers and encouragers.”

  • Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead, and Yours Can, Too

    By Molly Phinney Baskette

    Brian D. McLaren praises Real Good Church. . .
    “OK, folks: it’s here: the practical, encouraging, field-tested book to help pastors and lay leaders turn declining churches around. Really. This is it! It names the skills you need and books to help you get them, gives you samples of job descriptions and letters and lots of other super-practical stuff. As a veteran pastor, I can tell you that Molly has packed these pages with the guidance you need.”

    “This is a practical manual of everything our church did,” says author Molly Phinney Baskette, “to reverse our death spiral and become the healthy, stable, spirited and robust community it is today—evident in the large percentage of children and young adults in our church, and a sixfold increase in pledged giving in the last decade.”

    Baskette, pastor of First Church Somerville, UCC in the Boston area, strongly believes her church’s strategies will work for any church, in any setting, regardless of denomination, demographics, and political landscape. In this new book, she shares everything her church did, addressing topics such as: outreach and growth strategies, finances and giving, creative worship, church conflict and change, anxiety and humor, and much more.

    What makes Real Good Church unique in the field of church growth books? It’s practical. It actually tells churches what they can do. . .and how to do it.

    It offers beginning and intermediary steps for growth and renewal. Churches, no matter what situation they’re in, will be able to jump in and get to work.

    It has a sense of humor. Baskette’s easygoing, often self-deprecating writing style and approachable strategies will empower the reader and their church to revitalize itself. (If her church could do it, we can, too!)

    Real Good Church is a testament to Baskette’s and First Church Somerville UCC’s success and a gift of hope for all churches that find themselves struggling to keep their doors open.

  • Renovate or Die: 10 Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Bob Farr asserts that to change the world, we must first change the Church. As Adam Hamilton says in the Foreword, “Read [this book] carefully with other leaders in your church…You’ll soon discover both a desire to renovate your church and the tools to effectively lead your church forward.”  If we want to join Robert Schnase and claim radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity, we must also engage pastors and motivate churches. We must renovate and overhaul our churches and not merely redecorate and tinker with our church structure.

    With straight forward language and practical tips, this book will inspire and help you organize your church for new life on the mission field. Learn how to grow your church and discover the commitments that denominational leaders must make to guarantee the fruitfulness of local congregations.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 1

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of Leading Ideas, the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. This feature grew out of Director Lovett H. Weems’s realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Leaders are so accustomed to providing answers for the questions of others that they often fail to engage the people in identifying and addressing the major adaptive challenge in the current chapter of a congregation’s life. Since people tend to remember about 20 percent of what they are told, but about 80 percent of what they discover for themselves, questions have the beauty of allowing both the issues and the solutions to arise from within the life of a congregation.

    There is also great value in having a repertoire of questions that can be used in a range of settings along the path of leadership. Becoming an adept user of questions makes it less likely that your first response to any topic is to state your opinion or “answer.” Probing questions honor others and provide additional information for you and those with whom you are engaging. The customary reactions of “I think” or “my take on it is” tend to limit options rather than expand them.

    But question asking is not primarily a delaying tactic or a shrewd way to get more information before then giving your view. To use questions in this way quickly reveals a manipulative style and diminishes the leader. Instead, the use of questions is to gather more information in order to clarify for you and others exactly what is at stake.

    Questions are common in the Bible. Jesus was an adept questioner. The questions in this resource are more practical than profound, but the gift of thoughtful questioning can enhance leadership without necessarily rising to biblical significance.

    In response to requests for a collection of questions used in “The Right Question” column over the years, we have organized selected ones by topic and are making them available in this collection. The topics are: The Church’s Purpose; Remembering a Ministry’s Purpose; Identifying and Supporting Leaders; Communication; Reaching New Disciples; Seeing Your Church as Others Do; Reviewing Programs; Creative Abandonment; Assessing Differing Directions; Planning; Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Knowing What’s Going On; Making the Most of Meetings; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; and Personal Reflection and Assessment.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 2

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of “Leading Ideas,” the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. This feature grew out of Director Lovett H. Weems’s realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life, while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Leaders have great power, but it is often not the kind of power people assume goes with positions of authority. Few leaders, even at the highest levels of organizations, can — or should — simply decide something and make it happen. This is certainly true for lay and clergy leaders in congregations. God’s wisdom is far more abundant than that. However, leaders have tremendous power to set agendas and involve people in reflecting upon topics of concern. Virtually any formal leader can invite those involved in their sphere of leadership into conversations on topics that matter to them and to those with whom they serve.

    Leaders do well to frame those topics in clear relationship to the mission of the ministry, either the congregation or one of its specific ministries. More than likely, it is some dimension of that mission that needs special attention. The leader could announce that there are problems or opportunities related to this aspect of the mission, but this would position the leader more as an advocate than a leader. There is a time for advocacy but not most of the time. A more helpful stance is to be the one who opens subjects for discernment with probing open-ended questions that assume that those engaged are just as committed to a faithful outcome as the leader.

    When questioning becomes a way of life for a leader, a vast constituency of free “consultants” is constantly enriching your leadership with clues, ideas, patterns, and discoveries well beyond those available to other leaders.

    In response to requests for a collection of questions used in “The Right Question” column over the years, we have organized selected ones by topic and are making them available in this collection. The topics are: Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Supporting Leaders; Mission and Outreach; Reaching New Disciples; Staffing and Hiring; Reviewing Programs; Use of Time; Planning; In Times of Transition; Seeking Feedback; Fruitful Leadership; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; Preaching; Looking for Clues; and Personal Reflection and Assessment. We hope these questions will help you lead with the power that comes from better knowing the hearts and minds of those with whom you serve.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 3

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of Leading Ideas, the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (churchleadership.com) of Wesley Theological Seminary (wesleyseminary.edu). This feature grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life, while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Increasing evidence shows that the ability to ask questions and then listen and respond in ways consistent with your mission is key to strong organizations, including churches. Innovation comes from listening, especially listening to those you seek to serve. But listening must always be tied to the larger purpose of the ministry. The goal is not so much to satisfy constituents as it is improve how the mission is fulfilled.

    Increasingly, church leaders have less direct contact with the people the ministry seeks to help as more and more direct engagement is done by others, especially in larger churches — staff, church school teachers, congregational care teams, team leaders, youth counselors, etc. That is one reason why leaders must create opportunities to have ongoing conversations with a range of people who experience a church’s ministry.

    You see, to ask questions, leaders have to interact with people. Making such conversations commonplace provides a source of knowledge and renewal from such direct contact. One certainly sees things from a different perspective when talking with a diverse constituency. Insulation from those views does not help leaders or their ministries.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 4

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of Leading Ideas, the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (churchleadership.com) of Wesley Theological Seminary (wesleyseminary.edu). This feature grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life, while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Increasing evidence shows that the ability to ask questions and then listen and respond in ways consistent with your mission is key to strong organizations, including churches. Innovation comes from listening, especially listening to those you seek to serve. But listening must always be tied to the larger purpose of the ministry. The goal is not so much to satisfy constituents as it is improve how the mission is fulfilled.

    Increasingly, church leaders have less direct contact with the people the ministry seeks to help as more and more direct engagement is done by others, especially in larger churches — staff, church school teachers, congregational care teams, team leaders, youth counselors, etc. That is one reason why leaders must create opportunities to have ongoing conversations with a range of people who experience a church’s ministry.

    You see, to ask questions, leaders have to interact with people. Making such conversations commonplace provides a source of knowledge and renewal from such direct contact. One certainly sees things from a different perspective when talking with a diverse constituency. Insulation from those views does not help leaders or their ministries.

    In response to requests for a collection of questions used in “The Right Question” column over the years, we have organized selected ones by topic and are making them available in this collection. The topics are: Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Identifying and Supporting Leaders; Reviewing Programs; Planning; Facing Challenges; Looking for Clues; Creative Abandonment; Seeking Feedback; Evaluation of Others; Habits; Leading Groups; Making the Most of Meetings; Worship; Encouraging Creativity; Delegation; and Personal Reflection and Assessment. We hope these questions will help you lead with the power that comes from better knowing the hearts and minds of those with whom you serve.

  • Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry

    By Phil Maynard

    An exploration of 5 key shifts congregations must make to become vital, effective, and fruitful: 1. From Fellowship to Hospitality, 2. From Worship as an Event to Worship as a Lifestyle, 3. From Membership to Discipleship, 4. From ‘Serve Us’ to Service, and 5. From ‘Survival Mentality’ to Generosity.

    Based on years of research, coaching, and consulting with local congregations this book provides helpful, practical methods for developing effective ministry.

    Most twenty-first century churches are neither missional nor effective in reaching people with the gospel. That’s just the truth of the matter. Most of our churches are stuck, declining, aging and struggling in various ways. SHIFT is written most explicitly for the church that thought they had ministry figured out 30 years ago, but where nothing today is working as well as it used to work. If this is the case in the place that you call church this book may get your church’s leaders thinking through the key movements for effective ministry.

  • Strange Leadership

    by Greg Atkinson

    “Are you a leader in a Christian organization? Is your church, ministry, or business lacking innovation? Perhaps you’re experienced in trying new things and moving in new ways, but you haven’t ever tried anything strange. Truly innovative leaders are often considered strange. Don’t settle for everyday leadership; immerse yourself in Strange Leadership!”

  • Stuck in a Funk?: How to Get Your Church Moving Forward

    By Tony Morgan

    “Stuck in a Funk? is Tony Morgan’s well-crafted analysis of how leaders can help reinvigorate their churches and congregations while at the same time making a bigger impact in their ministry. Morgan’s work is simple and filled with practical, useful insights. The author seeks to help church pastors and other leaders to “get unstuck,” and remove any and all forms of clutter that might be blocking a new and better path for their ministry and congregation. The book is especially designed for the church that has been stuck for decades and is facing decline, or the church that has had a degree of success and strong impact in the recent past, yet somehow finds itself plateaued.

    Throughout the pages of Stuck in a Funk?, Morgan shares his desire to help churches have a bigger, more effective impact on people’s lives, as well as in the communities they serve. Morgan’s maverick, insightful strategies are not simply theory. Rather, they are time-tested ideas and methods that have been proven from his work with churches during his successful pastoral and consulting career.

    In terms of a broad, overarching theme that defines the author’s tactics for enhancing the quality of church leadership, Morgan prompts the reader to rethink their systems and strategies. He believes that one cannot hope to get different results without engaging a different approach.

    Morgan does this by providing essential wisdom and application to help churches take their next steps. Based on four previously released e-books in the Leisure Suit series, Stuck in a Funk? examines why churches get “stuck,” how a church can move forward under a new vision, how leaders can best enact change, and how to communicate when change is needed.

    Stuck in a Funk? includes guided self-assessment and a template for establishing an action plan. It is designed to be read and discussed with a leadership team who can work together to enact positive change.”

  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

    By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    “Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

    The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

    In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:  

    ●      The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.

    ●      The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.

    ●      The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service
    In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.”

  • Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church (Discoveries : Insights for Church Leadership)

    by Lovett Weems, Jr. Publisher: Abingdon Press.
  • Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church
    offers prescriptions for the top ten issues seen during church
    consultations. Bob Farr and Kay Kotan share their expertise from working
    with churches across the country, detailing the most common concerns
    and obstacles, and then go straight to the point: What to change, and
    how, for positive results. They offer a helpful approach to fixing
    common problems, and strategies to help congregations achieve success in
    specific areas of ministry. Proven success stories offer practical
    application, inspiration, and hope.

    I love the way this book addresses issues of mission, vision, worship,
    hospitality, outreach, and other important matters and offers concrete,
    pragmatic practices to fulfill these without compromising the gospel.
    This is a refreshing new guide for pastors and laity. –Tex Sample,
    Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society,
    Saint Paul School of Theology

    Bob and Kay have so much experience. They get it: the types of changes most
    churches need are not new. The pathway to health is not flashy. Basic,
    steady, strong: That is what you find in this very useful material. —
    Cathy Townley, Worship and Church Planting Consultant and Coach,
    Minnesota Annual Conference, UMC

    Bob Farr is a powerhouse of a leader who has a great grasp on what it takes
    for a congregation to discover the path toward vitality and health. As
    you read the prescriptions in this amazing book, you will see a catalyst
    for Jesus Christ. –Bob Crossman, New Church Strategist; author, Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life

    Nobody is better than Bob and Kay at explaining the concept — and the
    specifics — of  ‘Prescriptions’ than can improve local church health.
    Very few people have spent more hours in church basements, parlors and
    sanctuaries across the country helping churches diagnose – and
    overcome—the real life problems they face.  Leveraging years of
    experience and insights, this book is an easy-to-use, instrumental tool
    for clergy and laity in churches that are willing to take definitive
    steps toward a new future. –Jim Ozier, Church Consultant, Coach,
    Speaker; author, Clip In: Risking Hospitality in Your Church

  • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success

    By Jim Dethmer, Diana chapman & Kaley Klemp

    “You’ll never see leadership the same way again after reading this book.
    These fifteen commitments are a distillation of decades of work with CEOs and other leaders. They are radical or provocative for many. They have been game changers for us and for our clients. We trust that they will be for you too.
    Our experience is that unconscious leadership is not sustainable. It won’t work for you, your team or your organization in the long term. Unconscious leadership can deliver short term results, but the costs of living and leading unconsciously are great.
    Fear drives most leaders to make choices that are at odds with healthy relationships, vitality and balance. This fear leaves a toxic residue that won’t be as easily tolerated in an increasingly complex business environment.
    Conscious leadership offers the antidote to fear. These pages contain a comprehensive road map to guide you to shift from fear-based to trust-based leadership. Once you learn and start practicing conscious leadership you’ll get results in the form of more energy, clarity, focus and healthier relationships. You’ll do more and more of what you are passionate about, and less of what you do out of obligation. You’ll have more fun, be happier, experience less drama and be more on purpose.
    Your team will get results as well. They’ll be more collaborative, creative, energized and engaged. They’ll solve issues faster, and once resolved the issues won’t resurface. Drama and gossip will all but disappear, and the energy and resources that fueled them will be redirected towards innovation and creativity.
    Any one of these commitments will change your life. All of them together are revolutionary.
    Leaders who practice the 15 commitments:
    · End blame and criticism
    · Speak candidly, openly and honestly, in a way that invites others to do the same
    · Find their unique genius
    · Let go of taking everything—especially themselves and their problems—so seriously
    · Create win for all solutions
    · Experience a new relationship to time and money where there is always enough
    What do you need to bring to the table?
    Be curious.
    Sounds so simple, and yet in our experience it’s a skill few have mastered. Most of us are far more interested in being right and proving it, than we are in learning, growing and shifting out of our old patterns. By default we gravitate towards the familiar. We’re asking you to take a chance and explore the unfamiliar. You’ll get scared and reactive. We all do. So what? Just stay curious and let us introduce you to a whole new world of leadership.”

  • The Church Leader’s MBA: What Business School Instructors Wish Church Leaders Knew about Management

    by David Wright and Mark Smith

  • The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters

    by Albert Mohler

    The central focus of The Conviction to Lead is on changing minds. The author demonstrates that real leadership is a transferring of conviction to others, affecting their actions, motivations, intuition, and commitment. This practical guide walks the reader through what a leader needs to know, do, and be in order to affect change.

  • The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth

    By Dave Power

    “Why do most growth companies stop growing? These fast-growing businesses are the engines of economic growth and wealth creation, but most fall behind the curve before reaching their potential. Executives are surprised when their business models mature sooner than expected, victims of the familiar S-Curve. Tragically, once-promising companies are often sold by investors too ready to throw in the towel. So what can leaders do to keep moving forward? 

    To sustain growth, companies need to discover their next S-Curve. But few have a repeatable process for uncovering new opportunities before their core business stalls. The Curve Ahead offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth. It describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools.”

    While this book was written for the business world it has value to Pastors and Ministry Leaders.

  • The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community

    by Eric Swanson (Author), Rick Rusaw (Author)

    The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community is designed for church leaders who want to transform their churches to become less internally focused and more oriented to the world around them. The book includes the clear guidelines on the ten changes congregations must adopt to become truly outwardly focused. This book is not about getting all churches to have an annual day of community service as a tactic but changing the core of who they are and how they see themselves as a part of their community.

  • The Healthy Faith-Building Church: Constructing Change in Changing Times

    by Dr. James R. Jones Jr. Publisher: St. Paul Press.
  • The Heart of Change Field Guide: Tools And Tactics for Leading Change in Your Organization

    By Dan S. Cohen

    “In 1996, John P. Kotter’s Leading Change became a runaway best seller, outlining an eight-step program for organizational change that was embraced by executives around the world. Then, Kotter and co-author Dan Cohen’s The Heart of Change introduced the revolutionary “see-feel-change” approach, which helped executives understand the crucial role of emotion in successful change efforts. Now, The Heart of Change Field Guide provides leaders and managers tools, frameworks, and advice for bringing these breakthrough change methods to life within their own organizations. Written by Dan Cohen and with a foreword by John P. Kotter, the guide provides a practical framework for implementing each step in the change process, as well as a new three-phase approach to execution: creating a climate for change, engaging and enabling the whole organization, and implementing and sustaining change. Hands-on diagnostics–including a crucial “change readiness module”–reveal the dynamics that will help or hinder success at each phase of the change process. Both flexible and scaleable, the frameworks presented in this guide can be tailored for any size or type of change initiative. Filled with practical tools, checklists, and expert commentary, this must-have guide translates the most powerful approaches available for creating successful change into concrete, actionable steps for you and your organization. Dan Cohen is the co-author, with John P. Kotter, of The Heart of Change, and a principal with Deloitte Consulting, LLC.”

  • The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations

    By John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen

    “Why is change so hard? Because in order to make any transformation successful, you must change more than just the structure and operations of an organization—you need to change people’s behavior. And that is never easy.

    The Heart of Change is your guide to helping people think and feel differently in order to meet your shared goals. According to bestselling author and renowned leadership expert John Kotter and coauthor Dan Cohen, this focus on connecting with people’s emotions is what will spark the behavior change and actions that lead to success. Now freshly designed, The Heart of Change is the engaging and essential complement to Kotter’s worldwide bestsellerLeading Change.

    Building off of Kotter’s revolutionary eight-step process, this book vividly illustrates how large-scale change can work. With real-life stories of people in organizations, the authors show how teams and individuals get motivated and activated to overcome obstacles to change—and produce spectacular results. Kotter and Cohen argue that change initiatives often fail because leaders rely too exclusively on data and analysis to get buy-in from their teams instead of creatively showing or doing something that appeals to their emotions and inspires them to spring into action. They call this the see-feel-change dynamic, and it is crucial for the success of any true organizational transformation.

    Refreshingly clear and eminently practical, The Heart of Change is required reading for anyone facing the challenges inherent in leading change.”