20 Books I’ve Read This Year – 2014

books i've read in 2014

This year I was challenged to read a book a week.  I kept up really well the first six months and have been trying to catch up since.  Either way, I read more this past year than I have in recent history!

Here’s a list of books that I recommend from my reading this year.

I have been able to get many of these books from the library. But if you choose to buy one and use these links, Harvest receives a small percentage of the sale!

Here are 20 Books I’ve Read This Year:


by Patrick Lencioni

Big Takeaway: Everyone, no matter their role, needs these three things to feel fulfilled in their job:1) To feel known in their role, 2) To feel like what they are doing matters 3) Have some way of measuring success each day. These things can be life changers for an employee or team member and the good thing is, none of them cost any money to implement.

Related Posts:  How to get outstanding performance from your church staff 

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 


by Ken Blanchard 

Big Takeaway: There are so many practical applications from this book that could be easily related to the leadership of church staff and leadership of church members.  Here are some questions:  What if the whole church had a mindset of being an employee? What if every member looked at themselves as the front line to customer service? What if every member considered it their obligation and role to help serve each customer (those that don’t currently attend church) with an empowered and energetic heart for turning them into “raving fans” of Christians, the church and Jesus?

Related Posts:  Are your church members customers or employees? 

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 



By Charles Duhigg

Big Takeaway: Habits can be both a blessing a curse.  The trick is replacing the bad habits with good ones. Since reading this book, I have not only developed a series of tiny new habits, but have documented them and allowed them to become part of my life.   The real power comes when one of the tiny habits becomes a keystone habit that begins to change everything else.  Fascinating stuff.

Related Posts:  A Morning Routine That Helps Me Accomplish More

How to Increase Church Momentum With a Collective Keystone Habit

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By Andy Stanley 

Big TakeawayThis book is good for any age, but especially for young adults.  The  big idea from this book is that that each choice you make leads you down a particular path, with a destination.  Direction trumps intention every time.

Related Posts:  A Great Prayer to Pray                             Young Adult Life Prescription

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By Jim and Jennifer Cowart 

Big Takeaway: Among many other practical ideas, this book had some great information about how pastors should preach about money.  The best time is not as people are being asked to give, but when people need to hear about how to get their finances and hearts in order.

Related Posts: 12 Quotes from this book about money, ministry and preaching.

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by TImothy Ferriss

Big TakeawayThis book was really interesting, although, some of it doesn’t apply to someone who feels called to be in his place of work or ministry.  But the principles of freeing yourself up for what you are really called to do are powerful!  The ideas of automating and developing systems so we don’t have to be there can really increase our time (and money). Working more intentionally is powerful.  I also like the intentional look at taking mini retirements instead of just waiting 40 years to do one big one.  

Related Posts:  Check in at home

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by Michael Gerber

Big TakeawayThis is an older book that I just recently read.  One big idea from this book is the power of systems in order to provide the a level of consistent ministry to your group over a long period of time.  The problem most leaders face with handing off the ministry is that they then try to take it back – which results in never growing past organization infancy – you’re trying to do it all yourself, which is too much.  

Related Posts:  To grow the church, grow the leader 

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by Jason Hatley and Nelson Searcy

Big Takeaway: This book has a great outline for preparing worship services in advance and gives practical thoughts on planning, preparing and systems needed to make it all happen each week.  As Jason says, “Sunday comes around with amazing regularity” and we don’t want to be caught in the week to week trap.

Related Posts:  From blah to fantastic: 9 Worship Leadership Tips

5 Foundational components for creating great worship service flow

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by Kevin Watson

Big Takeaway: Class Meetings is a primer for getting small groups together within your church.  It’s used as a tool to talk about the process as well as lead the process.  The main idea is that class meetings (the name of small groups in early Methodism) were more about transformation than information.

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 





by Lee Cockerell

Big TakeawayThis book, broken into 39 chapters, is full of great advice for offering hospitality. One role a leader plays is the Chief Ecologist, making sure the environment is right all the time! 

Related Posts:  Read the post about the Chief Ecologist.

Make it better; your customers make it bigger. 

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by Tony Cooke

Big Takeaway: A must read for any church staff member! Great overall thoughts on what it means to be in a supportive ministry role.  Helping the visionary leader accomplish the work they were called to do, all while leading from below is powerful.  

Related Posts: Read this list of 11 Great Traits of Supportive Ministers 

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by Bryan Tracy

Big Takeaway: A great reminder for anyone who wants to use their time wisely. There are several scriptures that teach us to order our lives for maximum potential – making the most of every opportunity.  This book, full of practical tips, helps.

Related Posts:  5 Reasons to develop a compulsion for closure 

Five ministry time savers 


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by Ken Blanchard

Big Takeaway:  The big question everyone is asking is, “Do they care about me here?”  When this question gets answered correctly, people feel comfortable.  Guest Services should be a role the whole church plays – not just one person here and there.  It’s more than a job, it’s a mindset.

Related Posts:  Five little known guest service training tips for any church.

You don’t have to be a big church to have a great church staff. 

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by Timothy Tennent 

Big Takeaway: This is a tiny little book that really bring the Apostles Creed to life. Dr. Timothy Tennent is the current president of Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY.


Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 





by Zach Williams

Big Takeaway: One key thought in this book is that “Maintenance is not the goal for a church.” If you want to move from “settled in” to an outward focus, you have to apply some principles.

Related Posts:  Here’s a small post I wrote after reading this book.

11 Indications your church has shifted from battleship to cruise ship.

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by Dave Ramsey

Big Takeaway: Definately get this from the library!  You’ll feel awful if you buy it using a credit card.  I’ve read the Total Money Makeover, and though we haven’t totally done that plan, we learned from it.  I believe this book is older than that one, but it was also a great reminder. Freedom from financial stress makes life so much better and it requires intentional discipline to make it happen.

Related Posts:  How our family saved $5,500 drinking water. 

12 money quotes for church leaders. 

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 




By Nelson Searcy 

Big Takeaway: Why are you in ministry?  What was your calling like?  Did you imagine you would wind up here?  This book helps sharpen  the basics of ministry – from living out the call, to balancing ministry and family to maximizing the church.

Related Posts:  10 Characteristics of church staff 

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 




by Rueben Job

Big TakeawayThis tiny little book is really easy to read and covers three basic rules 1) Do no harm, 2) Do good and 3) Stay in love with God.  What simple wisdom and easy to remember practical advice!  

Related Posts:  Three Simple Rules, a great theme for a youth retreat! 

Click the image of the book to pick up your copy! 




By Seth Godin

Big TakeawayThis book, though a little older, is great for churches and leaders.  The deal is that we all have a tribe we are leading and that tribe is asking you to lead them strongly and faithfully. You discover the three ingredients for a movement to take place and a host of amazing quotes such as, “Defending medocrity is exhausting” and “Don’t tell them what do to, lead them to it.” 

Related Posts:  Move beyond the ordinary to generate leadership



When I find time to read?  A Morning Routine that helps me accomplish more //  Four things to do each morning. 

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