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.
- Personal Development
- Development of Others
- Leading Change
- Pastoral Transition
- Leading Church Mergers
by Patrick Lencioni. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.
by Patrick Lencioni. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.
by Jim Tomberlin
By Dick Hardy
“What’s this book about? Everything But Preaching! Preaching is the fun stuff for most pastors. It’s everything but preaching that eats their lunch. This book tackles the ministry stuff that keeps pastors up at night. Dick Hardy provides clear, frank answers to 27 of the toughest questions pastors ask. Got questions? This book has answers!”
by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner & Lane Jones. Publisher: Multnomah.
Provides seasoned methods for churches to follow in maximizing their ministries.
By Tony Morgan
Though pastors and other church leaders are reticent to admit it, ministry silos are one of the most common dysfunctions at work in American churches.
People and ministries share the same roof but do nearly everything in isolation. Outside of Sundays, they rarely combine their efforts. Like members of a dysfunctional family, most church staff members know their team isn’t healthy, but they’ve learned to cope and get by, living separate lives within the same house.
It’s not hard to tell when a church has silos. The difficult part is discovering and eliminating their true causes. This eBook explores the triggers and symptoms of a “divided house” so you can identify the steps your church needs to take towards greater unity.
by Bill Easum. Publisher: Abingdon Press.
A call to spiritual renewal of the North American church.
by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. Publisher: Master Books.
Focuses on the existing crisis of the “Bridger Generation” rejecting church and what to do about it
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!”
by Jim Tomberlin. Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously In Charge [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Henry Cloud
Practical advice, from a seasoned veteran, on how to manage teams, coach direct reports, and instill an organization with strong values and culture
by James Collins and Jerry Porras. Publisher: Harper Business.
Foundational work for Good to Great
by J. Val Hastings
How to master the right questions to move your ministry forward to the next level
by Bruce Powers Publisher: B&H Books.
Provides academic processes.
By Greg Atkinson
“Think of this book as a toolbox full of leadership tools for pastors and other church leaders. Greg Atkinson has the uncanny ability to get to the heart of issues, and offer solutions and resolutions in a practical and meaningful way. He packs 34 key leadership principles into concise but powerful chapters. This book is the vital leadership training that many seminaries fail to offer. It can revolutionize your ministry.”
by John G. Stackhouse, Jr.. Publisher: Baker Books.
The author provides an honest perspective as he evaluates how we do things in church.
Samuel R. Chand, A Leadership Network Publication. Publisher: Jossey Bass.
It provides important insight into components of every organization that is foundational to their understanding.
Click to see full review
This book describes and defines the normal personality types that are found in organizational cultures. Dr. Chand gives the characteristics of the different types and categorizes them in the following ways: inspiring, accepting, stagnated, discouraging and toxic. The author does not leave the reader with simply the ability to identify which personality his organization has but also helps the reader formulate steps for correcting and changing a culture that is not inspiring.
He provides the reader with 7 keys of culture that forms an acrostic. They are control, understanding, leadership, trust, unafraid, responsive and execution – spelling out the word culture. He declares the first and most important step toward changing a culture is insight into these 7 keys.
This is a book that every person in an organization should read and reread in order to be reminded of the importance of people and how they treat each other from the very top to the very bottom. Dr. Chand makes it very clear that it is well-nigh impossible for a church or any organization to effectively fulfill their mission if they have an unhealthy culture. This book can help you get to the root of why your church or organization may be failing. Often leaders have sought to correct a failing organization by installing a new game plan with strategies, programs or projects instead of addressing the un-Christlike character of their culture.
This book provided some missing pieces for me as a ministry design coach. It helped me build a framework for assessing the health of any organization and develop pathways to bring about needed change. I have added this book to my recommended reading list and it will be a vital part of my coaching services going forward.
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.
by Patrick Lencioni
The principles shared in this book are transferable to ministry. An enjoyable read that is quick and easy. It’s story will captivate you.
by Patrick Lencioni. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.
by Tony Morgan
Addresses biblical leadership.
by Tony Morgan
In this eBook, among other learnings you’ll discover:
> Why leaders resist planning
> What happens when you do ministry without a plan
> Why planning is biblical
> The characteristics of good planning
> How good planning benefits your leadership
By Bob Buford
“In 1982 a young, ambitious East Texas entrepreneur, whose business is growing at double-digit rates, decides there must be more the life. So, oddly enough, he writes a letter to the man whose books he most treasures—Peter R. Drucker, father of modern management theory and practice. As they met over the years, Buford sees that “Drucker is to management what Shakespeare is to literature.” Their relationship progresses from paid consultant to mentor and close friend. Drucker & Me tells how two men discover a mutual passion and strategy that will literally change the world. Their disappointment with corporate America leads them to embrace the non-profit sector, including one of the most important developments in the last 30 years—the mega church movement. Believing non-profit organizations change lives, they begin work with Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and others to design a new management model for non-profits in the 20th century.”
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
No matter how great Sunday’s worship service was, there’s always another Sunday lurking at the end of the next week that must be planned. Church leaders often fall into ruts, working on automatic pilot just trying to get things together, which does not allow for much creativity or focus on designing services that lead to transformation for those involved in them.
Engage is a step-by-step, stress-free guide to planning worship services that allow for and foster true life change. Comprehensive in scope, Engage provides teaching pastors, worship leaders, and volunteers with the tools they need to work together to develop and implement a worship planning system that improves communication, enhances creativity, and honors Jesus every week.
by David Weinberger. Publisher: Holt Paperbooks.
Focuses on the power of technology that changes everything.
by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Publisher: Crown Business.
Nuts and bolts of how to succeed.
by Ron Susek. Publisher: Baker Book House Co.
Provides help in understanding the nature of heated church conflicts
by Mark L. Waltz. Publisher: Group Publishing(CO).
Tips for improving your worship environment
By Scott Morton
“Whether you are experienced at fundraising or just starting out, Funding Your Ministry will help answer your questions and put you on the biblical path for recruiting and maintaining donor support.”
by Nelson Searcy. Publisher: Regal.
by Jim Collins. Publisher: Harper Business.
The story of successful companies.
by John S. Dickerson (Author)
John Dickerson identifies six factors that are radically eroding the American church and offers biblical solutions to prepare evangelicals for spiritual success, even in the face of alarming trends.
By Nelson Searcy (Author)
by Nelson Searcy. Publisher: Church Leader Insights.
By Edgar Schein
“• A penetrating analysis of the psychological and social dynamics of helping relationships
• Named one of the best leadership books of 2009 by strategy+business magazine
Helping is a fundamental human activity, but it can also be a frustrating one. All too often, to our bewilderment, our sincere offers of help are resented, resisted, or refused—and we often react the same way when people try to help us. Why is it so difficult to provide or accept help? How can we make the whole process easier?
Many different words are used for helping: assisting, aiding, advising, caregiving, coaching, consulting, counseling, guiding, mentoring, supporting, teaching, and many more. In this seminal book on the topic, corporate culture and organizational development guru Ed Schein analyzes the social and psychological dynamics common to all types of helping relationships, explains why help is often not helpful, and shows what any would-be helpers must do to ensure that their assistance is both welcomed and genuinely useful.
The moment of asking for and offering help is a delicate and complex one, fraught with inequities and ambiguities. Schein helps us navigate that moment so we avoid potential pitfalls, mitigate power imbalances, and establish a solid foundation of trust. He identifies three roles a helper can play, explaining which one is nearly always the best starting point if we are to provide truly effective help. So that readers can determine exactly what kind of help is needed, he describes an inquiry process that puts the helper and the client on an equal footing, encouraging the client to open up and engage and giving the helper much better information to work with. And he shows how these techniques can be applied to teamwork and to organizational leadership.
Illustrated with examples from many types of relationships—husbands and wives, doctors and patients, consultants and clients—Helping is a concise, definitive analysis of what it takes to establish successful, mutually satisfying helping relationships.”
By Thom Rainer
For over a quarter of a century the problem of losing church members has progressively increased. Today the situation is so bad that less than one-third of the members in some churches attend worship services. Church leaders are crying for help. In an effort to help church leaders, the Billy Graham School of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary conducted a massive research project involving nearly 287 churches. The most revealing aspect of the study was that the higher expectations placed on members, the greater the likelihood that the members would stay and be involved with the church. Using the data gathered from this project, Thom Rainer presents the first-ever comprehensive study about ‘closing the back door.’ Rainer looks at why people are leaving the church and how church leaders can keep the members.
By Frank McKinley
What is always present in any good story?
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!
by John FinkeldeImprove your volunteer management skills while increasing your church volunteers base with this proven step-by-step guide.Imagine … a large group of volunteers who love serving.
Now … imagine those volunteers recruiting their friends to serve too.
Even more … imagine turning those volunteers into high performing leaders.
Not impossible at all if you use the solid, actionable steps in this practical guide to recruiting and motivating church volunteers.
Each chapter presents powerful concepts and practical steps you can take to:
Lead a recruitment drive that delivers fast, dramatic results.
Train volunteers utilizing current best practices that enable them to love serving.
Build a leadership pipeline that gives you a constant flow of fresh talent.
Discover and actually apply contemporary motivational methods in real life situations.
Turn church volunteers into high performing leaders of volunteers.
Draw upon John Finkelde’s 30 years of experience as a pastor and start increasing your volunteer base today.”
By Edgar H. Schein
“The Key to Effective Communication
Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry.
Ed Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.”
by Craig Groeschel
“When Craig Groeschel founded LifeChurch.tv, the congregation met in a borrowed two-car garage, with ratty furnishings and faulty audiovisual equipment. But people were drawn there, sensing a powerful, life-changing force Groeschel calls “It.” What is It, and how can you and your ministry get — and keep — It? Combining in-your-face honesty with off-the-wall humor, Groeschel — one of today’s most innovative church leaders — provides profile interviews with Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble, Tim Stevens, Mark Batterson, Jud Wilhite, and Dino Rizzo. This book tells how any believer can obtain It, get It back, and guard It. “
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)
Jame D. Berkley, Editor. Publisher: Baker Books.
Compilation of articles by various church leaders to discuss management of daily issues.
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
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:
- Determine who is for (or against) the change and why.
- Decide where to focus your attention.
- Develop the questions that will set your course.
- Learn to attack problems instead of people.
- Persevere until the critical breakthrough.”
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.”
by Ed Stetzer. Publisher: B & H Publishing Group.
An analysis of churches that are successfully reaching the younger generation of adults
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.”
By Paul D. Borden (Author)
by Peter Drucker. Publisher: Harper Collins.
Focuses on management techniques