9 Books for Pastors and Leaders Who Want to Last

By David Sanford

If you still have a heart to last well beyond obstacles and detours, as a pastor or a leader, I highly recommend 9 powerful books for pastors and leaders to equip you. They address issues like trust, disagreements, doctrine, and so much more, and offer constructive and sometimes counter-intuitive perspectives.

It happened again this past Monday. A dedicated, hard-working veteran pastor told me about some of the worst problems within his church. He listed a number of tell-tale markers as he expressed his deep frustrations. I couldn’t help noticing the pain lines written across his face. I admire this man and want the best for him—even through the toughest times.

When you’re tasked with shepherding souls in our gravely fallen world, pastors and leaders naturally face days, or seasons, of discouragement. Even though you know you’re meant to serve in this way, some days can feel like your last.

Every pastor and leader who still wants to be in the ministry five years from now needs to carefully read these books.

All 9 books for pastors and leaders have been game-changers for me.

  1. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute (Berrett-Koehler). This international mainstream best-seller applies what turns out to be the Golden Rule and a few other biblical principles to daily life including marriage, family, work, and ministry. Foundational truth of this book: We all have blindspots. By definition, we can’t identify, let alone address, our blind spots on our own. Instead, we need to invite a few respected, trusted individuals to speak into our lives with love and truth about each blind spot, weakness, and failing.
  2. Leadership Above the Line by Sarah Sumner (Tyndale). On the back cover I’m quoted saying: “If you lead leaders, push other books aside—and make this the next one you read. Leadership Above the Line is 60 percent story, 100 percent breakthrough insights on leadership formation. Dr. Sarah Sumner’s character-based model is clear, her story is compelling, and her application tools are transformational. Highly recommended!” Rarely does a book offer so much between two covers. I took my staff through it with great results, and you can too.
  3. The Ascent of a Leader:How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and Ken McElrath. This best-seller redefined what it means to climb to the top of the ladder. The authors forcefully argue against the traditional leadership ladder and, in its place, present a compelling, biblical, and counterintuitive character-based ladder developed in the context of relationships of respect and trust.
  4. TrueFaced: Trust God and Others with Who You Really Are by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and John Lynch. Building on their best-selling breakthrough work, the authors emphasize the pivotal role of trust. Without trust, they argue, we effectively shut out God and others from speaking into our lives—speaking into our character development and the destiny God has planned specifically for you and for me.

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Source: Church Leaders