10 Great Books Every Children’s Ministry Leader Should Read

10 Great Books Every Children’s Ministry Leader Should Read

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 5 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 is it: 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 4 books per year (see recent research here), reading 25 books would probably put you in the top 1% 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 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: 5 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 which 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.

?5. Children’s Ministry on Purpose?by Steve Adams

In this terrific book by Steve Adams, Children’s Pastor at Saddleback Church, you will learn how to ask and answer five simple but powerful questions:

  • Why are we on this journey?
  • Where are you and where are you going?
  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • How will we move our children towards spiritual health?
  • What are the essential elements necessary for the journey?

Questions we all need to answer as Children’s Ministry Leaders.

What you will learn:?A proven process to follow to lead Children’s Ministry on purpose.

?6. 7 Family Ministry Essentials by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman

You’ve heard me say it over and over again: “Children’s Ministry is Family Ministry and Family Ministry is Children’s Ministry”. Michelle and Megan offer a simple framework which will allow you to offer “family ministry” whether your ministry is called Family Ministry, or not.

What you will learn: Practical steps, inspirational stories, and biblical foundation you need as you lead those in your ministry.

?7. A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet & Brett Kunkle

If you are leading in the church today, you need to understand culture. Culture is, perhaps, changing faster than it ever has in history. Certainly, our kids are facing cultural challenges and questions that most of us, as leaders, never have. If that’s the case, how do we lead them well? How do we guide them? This book answers those kind of questions.

What you will learn: how to equip kids to rise above the culture.

? 8. Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger & Kevin Peck

Developing leaders in the church and, specifically, in your ministry, is the best and only way to really maximize it’s potential. But the church as a whole, and most children’s ministries, do not do a good job of developing leaders. Designed to Lead offers a framework for based on the conviction to develop leaders, developing a culture of leadership development, and providing constructs for practical development of leaders.

What you will learn: a framework for the most important element of your ministry leadership – developing leaders.

?9. The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzaro

Going beyond simply offering a quick fix or new technique,?The Emotionally Healthy Leader?gets to the core, beneath-the-surface issues of uniquely Christian leadership. This book is more than a book you will read; it is a resource you will?come back to over and over again.

What you will learn:?how to develop a deep, inner life with Christ, examining its profound implications on virtually everything to do with your ministry leadership.

?10. Sustainable Children’s Ministry by Mark DeVries & Annette Safstrom

A brand new book (literally just published this week!) which focuses on helping the Children’s Ministry Leader go from last-minute scrambling (we’ve all been there!) to long-term solutions (not all of us have found that sweet spot). This book offers practical, foundational advice for creating ministry designed to last for the long-term.

What you will learn: how to recruit volunteers, partner with parents, navigate politics, and care for your own soul instead of frantically scrambling to do it all yourself.

What book would you add as a “must-read” for Children’s Ministry Leaders?

(please share in the comments below)

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader at Children's Ministry Leader
My passion is seeing the lives of children transformed. I believe the best way to do that is to equip leaders in the local church to serve children, volunteers and parents to invest in the lives of children at church and in the home. That?s what we do here at Children?s Ministry Leader ? equip leaders to create healthy Children?s & Family Ministry.
I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children?s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

6 Responses to 10 Great Books Every Children’s Ministry Leader Should Read

  1. Great list, I would like to add “The Way of the Shepherd” by Kevin Leman and William Pentak!

Please share your thoughts ~

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Here’s a great resource to offer your families, created by our friends Sweet Sleep. And it’s free!

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#VBS #SweetSleepWelcome to the Sweet Sleep Family Experience!
Join us this summer as we explore what life is like for children and families in Uganda. The program is designed to help families have fun experiences together, while learning some important truths about how God provides True Rest, and how we can learn to love and serve others as He calls us to do.

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Fun is not a 4-letter word. 🙂

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Stop begging trying to fill the needs in your ministry! IF people respond, it will likely be only short term. Obligatory service doesn’t inspire people to stick around.

Instead, understand the grand vision we are pursuing by investing in children’s lives for eternity!

Practice articulating that vision and start sharing it in every conversation. It’s a privilege and honor to be part of such important service, so INVITE people into that opportunity.

And, of course, never forget the foundation for building our team, found in Luke 10:2: “These were his [Jesus’] instructions to them: ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’”

#KidMin #YouthMin #StuMin #FamMin #ChildrensMinistry #ChildrensMinistryLeader #KidsMinistry #Pastors #Church #Ministry
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