As a new pastor or church leader, there are many things you need to know in order to keep your church alive and encourage people to keep coming back. Here is a list of the top ten books that we think you should read.

1. Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

In today’s world, the gospel and discipleship are often misunderstood. Dodson argues that the motivation for Christian obedience needs to be reformed, and he explains how this can be done. He ultimately charts out a grace-driven path that makes gospel-centered discipleship a way of life once again. Furthermore, Dodson provides a model for creating gospel-centered discipleship groups to help members ban 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. After reading Packer’s book, you will have a deeper understanding of who God is and how you can relate to him.

3. Simple Church by Thom Rainer

This book by Thom Rainer takes religion back to the basics. It 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: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement by Will Mancini

Will Mancini is a church consultant who has created a new kind of vision development process to help churches develop a ministry that leads to redemptive motive. Mancini emphasizes the importance of community regarding religion, and he encourages people to put their focus outward instead of inward. He explains that each church has a unique culture that develops over time based on values and beliefs. A pastor should embrace this culture and use it to inform teachings.

5. Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Lane Jones, and Reggie Joiner

This book speaks directly to ministry leaders and helps them find 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. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Although not specific to religion, this book can teach pastors and others how to become great leaders within their church. Sinek questions why some people go to work inspired while others are dissatisfied, and it leads to one clear answer: it’s 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 the needs of their people before of their own needs.

7. Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

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.

8. Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive by Thom Rainer

For more than 25 years, Rainer has helped churches grow by taking a close look at churches that have failed. He has discovered 12 consistent themes among those failed churches, and this book will walk you through the necessary steps for keeping your church alive.

9. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

In this book, Brené Brown offers leaders a transformative roadmap to effective leadership within their communities. Through real-life stories and practical strategies, Brown explores the power of vulnerability, empathy, and authenticity in fostering connection and trust. While the book is not specific to religion, Brown’s insight empowers ministry leaders to embrace the unique culture of their parishioners, inspire meaningful change, and foster a community of belonging and growth.

10. Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero and Warren Bird

This book provides refreshing new insight into what it takes to lead your church. The authors believe that if a church is struggling, it’s because of the people who lead that church. The author says that we must take a new approach in order to be an effective pastor or church leader. Written in a passionate and personal way, this book includes hands-on tools and real-life stories to help you.

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