Top 10 Books Every New Pastor or Church Leader Should Read


As a new pastor or church leader, there are many things that you need to know how to keep your church alive to how to keep people coming back. With books being such an important part of church culture, here is a list of the top ten books that every new pastor and church leader should read.

1. Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

In today’s world, the gospel and discipleship are often misunderstood and has been changed and manipulated to suit certain people.  Dodson argues that the motivation for Christian obedience needs to be reformed, and he explains to the reader how this can be done. He ultimately charts out a grace-driven path that once again makes the gospel-centered discipleship a way of life. Furthermore, Dodson provides a model for creating gospel-centered discipleship groups for members of the church to fight for faith together.

2. Knowing God by J.I Packer

This book has been acknowledged as one of the top books that have shaped religion, as we know it. This book ultimately brings together the two factors of knowing about God and knowing God through his relationship with Jesus. Through Packer’s writing, you will not only have a deeper understanding who God is but also how you can relate to him.

This book is written in three sections:

  1. How and why we know God
  2. The attributes of God
  3. The benefits of a greater understanding of God.

3. Simple Church by Thom Rainer

This book by Thom Rainer takes religion back to the basics. This book serves as a guide for Christians to get back to the simple, gospel-sharing ways of Jesus Christ. The author takes his insight from 400 case studies across the United States. Rainer calls this practice the simple revolution, and it might just be right for you.

4. Church Unique by Will Mancini

Will Mancini is a church consultant with a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a ministry that leads to redemptive motive. Mancini emphasizes the importance of community upon religions and a focus outwards rather than inwards. He ultimately explains that each church has their culture that develops over time based on their values and beliefs which a pastor can use to structure his teachings.

5. The 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley

This book directly speaks to the ministry leader and helps lead the way to a more effective approach to ministry. The book tells of one overwhelmed pastor and his downfall followed by seven success stories. These stories are reinforced with strategic practices that can turn any ministry into a winning team.

6. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

Hybels begins this book by telling the reader that they have the potential to change the world through their leadership. He claims that it is the reader’s responsibility to use their special talents and gifts to help those who are far from God. In this powerful book, the author insists that you use your spiritual gift or leadership to help bring others to God. By reading this, you will learn leadership strategies and techniques to become one of today’s foremost Christian leaders.

7. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Although not so much based on religion, this book teaches pastors and church leaders how to become great leaders within their church. He ultimately questions why some people go to work inspired while others are dissatisfied, and it leads to one clear answer: it is the environment in which you work. This concept of leaders eating last is an ancient concept in which the leader must want their people to survive and must always put their people in front of themselves.

8. Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

Through reading this book, you will learn that it is God’s will to change you because our outward behavior does not change your heart. Willard lays out a Biblical foundation for understanding the transformation of spirit. This fresh approach explains why we need to undergo a change in six aspects of life: thought, feelings, will, body, social context, and soul.

9. Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer

For over twenty-five years, Thom Rainer has helped churches grow and autopsied those that have died. He has discovered twelve consistent themes among those churches that did not make it. This book will walk you through the steps necessary to keep your church alive.

10. Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero and Warren Bird

This book brings refreshing new insight on what it takes to lead your church. The authors believe that churches are in trouble because of the people leading them. The author says that we have to take a new approach to being a pastor or church leader. Written in a passionate and personal way this book includes hands-on tools and real-life stories to help you.

If you are a pastor or church leader, these books will be extremely helpful for the success of your church. These ten books are recognized for their helpfulness in the success of a group and community within the church.