10 Business Books Every Ministry Leader Should Read

By Michael C. Mack

We asked ministry leaders to tell us what book written primarily for business leaders they’ve found helpful in their ministry leadership.

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

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

Pile of books Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny. “Great book on how to navigate conflict without burning bridges.”
—Chuck Faber, academic dean and professor of theology and New Testament at Boise (Idaho) Bible College

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, and others.
—Josh Hunt, author, Sunday school trainer, and pastor at Salem (New Mexico) Baptist Church

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

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. “Excellent overview of the management mind-set needed to develop and maintain a culture of ongoing evaluation and improvement.”
—Bruce Stoker, senior minister at Athens (Ohio) Church of Christ

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. “Two Navy Seals write about leadership, change, and responsibility.”
—Mark LaGrone, minister of discipleship and small groups at Collierville (Tennessee) First Baptist Church

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. “His presentation on the topic is one of the top 10 TED Talks, but I still recommend reading the book.”
—Brad Himes, adjunct instructor at Eastern Illinois University and involvement director at Broadway Christian Church, Mattoon, Illinois

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

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

See an extended list of business books at the Small Group Leadership blog.

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