4 Great Books for Church Leaders and Their Teams
Are you thinking about your leadership development for next year? Perhaps you’re looking for a book to give to your team for Christmas? Here are four books that I’ve read and consider great options for pastors and church leaders to use with their teams:
- The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution // This book reviews the 100+ year history and development of the personal computer and the internet. Written by Walter Isaacson, who also wrote that biography about Steve Jobs a few years ago, The Innovators tells the meandering story of how the technology we use every day came to be. Isaacson’s thesis is that world-rocking innovations come from teams of people … not inspired individuals. It’s a great framework for asking about innovation at your church. The last chapter is an incredible summation that asks what all this innovation means and how we should think about the future of technology. Warning: This book is 500+ pages and can’t be crammed before your next team meeting. It’s for people who are interested in technology; otherwise it will be difficult to wade through.
- God Enters Stage Left // In this book, Tim Day summarizes the entire Biblical narrative using the structure of a play. It’s a creative and thought-provoking take on the story that matters so much to us. I love how he pulls out the essential themes and plot points that the entire Bible turns on. Although this is written for people who are seeking to understand what the Bible has to say for the first time … it’s also a refreshing read for people who are familiar with the text, because of how Tim handles the meta-narrative. This would be great book for your team to work through weekly, as the chapters are quick to read and get right to the point. Early in the book there is a micro-summary of the entire Bible in about 2 pages … it’s breathtaking and humbling to see how the author handles that! It’s worth checking out for sure.
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration // Pixar might be the most influential creative organization in the world. This group of less than 1,000 people has released 14 critically and commercially acclaimed films. Their stories have become woven into the fabric of the dominant Western culture and they show no signs of slowing down! Creativity, Inc. is part history of the studio and part “how we work.” Authors Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace provide insight to what’s behind the movie-making magic. The chapter on the Pixar “Brain Trust” is worth the cost of the book and could spur conversations with your team on how you make decisions and get stuff done. This book is a fairly easy read, because the stories are familiar to so many and everyone loves to hear where those ideas came from. It’s an honest take on how creativity works that attempts (successfully) to demystify the process, and leaders will find lessons they can apply at their churches.
- Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work // How does your team make decisions? As your church grows, the decisions you face are more complex. Have you ever stepped outside of your team and asked what the process looks like? In this book, Chip and Dan Heath give some great insights and provide a solid framework for understanding how decisions should be made. It’s a great mirror for thinking about how you can make sharper decisions next year. If you want to provide fascinating tension to your team … pair this book with Ruth Haley Barton’s Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups. That oughta create some interesting conversations!