Reading. Most of us have every intention to read more, but few of us actually read much.
But reading is one of the easiest and best ways to grow ourselves. And as leaders, we have a responsibility to grow ourselves in order to lead well.
Statistics show that reading by leaders is in decline. In fact, the lack of reading on the leadership level has declined to the point that some might consider it a crisis. Michael Hyatt, in his article called “5 Ways Reading Makes You a Better Leader,” says, “A readership crisis is really a leadership crisis.” And it really is. If you are a leader who doesn’t read, don’t count on leading well for very long. In fact, Hyatt says that reading helps you lead better in these five ways:
- Reading makes us better thinkers.
- Reading improves our people skills.
- Reading helps us master communication.
- Reading helps us relax.
- Reading keeps us young.
I’m pretty sure all of these will help you lead your ministry better!
With that in mind, I encourage you to read! I know it can be a challenge, but when we make it a priority and make it a habit, it is amazing how much reading you can get done. In fact, here’s a tip I was given early on that really helped me make reading a regular practice. Ready? Here it is: Commit to reading just one chapter a day.
Can you read one chapter per day? Virtually everyone can. And guess how many books you will read each year if you do this…about TWENTY FIVE books! Since less than half of all people read more than four books per year (see recent research here), reading 25 books would probably put you in the top 1 percent of readers. More importantly, it would go a long way toward equipping you to lead your ministry better.
10 Great Books Every Children’s Ministry Leader Should Read
These are in no particular order. I encourage you to choose what sequence to read them in based on your most immediate need.
1. Developing the Leader Within You (2.0) by John Maxwell
I began ministry under the leadership of John Maxwell, right about the time the original version of this book came out. In the 25 years since, I have leaned on what I learned from John more than any other source. This is the updated version of John’s classic and, in my opinion, is a must read for anyone leading anywhere.
What you will learn: foundational leadership principles which every ministry leader ought to master.
2. Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland
Full disclosure: Dan is a good friend of mine and has been a mentor for 25 years. He’s also recognized as one of the best executive pastors in the country and one of the best ministry coaches—in fact, he is known as the “pastor’s coach”! He knows leadership and he knows ministry. And he has packaged that knowledge into what I would consider the best ministry leadership book available.
What you will learn: five practices to establish leadership, influence people and impact others.
3. Don’t Quit by Gina McClain and Jessica Bealer
Recently published, this book addresses some of the key issues that take down ministry leaders and cause them to walk away from their calling. Instead, we want to be leaders who “don’t quit.” But in order to survive and thrive in ministry long-term, we’ve got to have an intentional strategy to do it. This book provides that strategy.
What you will learn: strategies for dealing with specific, key issues with which virtually all ministry leaders struggle.
* Bonus recommendation: The Myth of Balance by Frank Bealer (Jessica’s husband)
4. How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins
One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you must be in charge in order to lead. This can be especially true for children’s ministry leaders. But it’s just not true, and great leaders don’t buy it. Great leaders lead with or without the authority and learn to unleash their influence wherever they are.
What you will learn: how to nurture your vision and cultivate influence, even when you lack authority in your organization.