A few years ago another pastor told me he was concerned for me because my blog only reviewed leadership books but not a lot of “gospel centered or theology books” as he said. The other day another pastor asked me why I don’t review more of those books and then said, “Do you even read theology books?”
The short answer is “yes I do read them” but I believe pastors (especially ones in my Acts 29 tribe) read too many theology books and not enough leadership books.
In fact, when I shared what churches could learn from Amazon, I got comments about how business thinking and learnings fail the church and pastors need to spend less time learning from CEO’s.
Here’s a few reasons pastors should read more leadership books:
- It’s the language people in your church are speaking. If your church is like mine, it is filled with leaders and businesspeople. They respond to strong leadership, budgets, systems, and marketing (and yes your church markets simply by having a website and a place to meet).
- The church is like a business. I didn’t say it was a business, but like one. Money comes in and goes out. There are bills. Each church has a target audience. Each church competes with things (ie. sports, trips, activities on Sunday mornings, school, work). Churches do not compete with other churches, but there are a lot of things vying for people’s attention on Sunday’s.
- You need to be stretched. Most pastors are very smart when it comes to doctrine and theology. Yes, you should grow in those areas, but most pastors are well on their way in those things. They can counsel people well, preach well, but struggle to lead meetings, handle budgets and build systems for follow up with guests, new givers and new believers (most pastors give me blank stares when I ask what happens for all those things in their churches.
Robert Bruce Shaw in his book Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter said, “My fundamental belief is that if a company wants to see the future, 80 percent of what it is going to have to learn will be from outside its own industry…Leaders need to master the details of their business but also need to remain curious about a broader range of topics that can enrich their ability to seize opportunities and recognize threats.”
I am blown away at the sermon material I get simply by reading the latest business book. A lot of our discipleship ideas have been taken from business books because they are stronger in the areas of developing leaders and a pipeline.
I remember talking to someone and they asked, “But how do you expect your leaders to grow in doctrine if you encourage them to read more leadership books?” The short answer I gave, “well, they do read their bibles.”
If you are looking for a good place to start, here are 10 books I think every Christian leader should read.