Let's face it, there are a lot of things that clamor for our time in the ministry. Most of the time, when I come home from the office or from some activity, the last thing I want to do is pick up a book and spend an hour or two reading before I go to bed. I would much rather pick up a remote, shut my mind off, and watch an hour or two of some mind-numbing form of entertainment (I have to "some" because it is entirely dependent upon who gets to the remote control first, if it is me it will be something on espn...if Sarah gets it though, it is likely to be some form of a reality show).How different would we be as leaders though, if we would put down the remote and pick up a book? I have been mentored by some of the greatest leaders of my generation simply by reading what they have written. Reading is an investment. It will cost you time, energy, and probably a little bit of money to read on a regular basis; but it is an investment that can pay almost immediate dividends. I have been struggling with an issue at church, and I will go home and pick up my reading material for the night, and a completely workable solution will be right there on the pages I am scheduled to read that night (almost like a God-thing or something).
I have been asked on more than one occasion, what should I read? So, here is my top ten list (in no particular order) for books that you should read if you are in a ministry leadership position:
1. Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley
2. Confessions of a Pastor by Craig Groeschel
3. The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell by Oren Harari
4. Leading from the Second Chair by Bonem & Patterson
5. In a Pit with A Lion by Mark Batterson
6. If You want to Walk on Water You've Got to get out of the Boat by John Ortberg
7. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton
8. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni
9. Leadership Gold by John C. Maxwell
10. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
I have intentionally only listed one book from each of these authors. Most of them have multiple works that have shaped me as a leader and helped to cultivate thoughts and visions in my life that have brought me to where I am today. A book that just barely missed this Top Ten List is Tony Dungy's latest book The Mentor Leader. Maybe because I have only read it once and I just finished it about a week ago. There was so much to unpack in that book that I think I will be rereading it soon.
No matter what you choose to read, start making reading a habit. It can dramatically affect you and your leadership abilities!