Books I’ve Read This Year 2015

books-ive-read 2015


We’re winding down 2015 and I made a commitment myself this year to read seven books per month.  I didn’t quite make it a few months, but I came close. Here’s a list of some of the books I’ve read and I wanted to share them with you.

I know that leaders need to be reading – it’s one of the keys to staying fresh. And it doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money either – I have been getting book from the library this year – which makes a few of these books a little older, but they have still been great!

If you do happen to purchase one of these books, and you use the link from this post, Harvest receives a portion of the revenue! Thanks for your purchase.



Essentialism – Greg McKeown

The essentialist lifestyle isn’t about getting more done, it’s about getting the right things done.  I read this book toward the beginning of the year and it’s come to mind several times.  One key to doing the essentials is saying no the non essentials.  Here are six kind ways you can say no to people and opportunities.


Pick up a copy here.




When Work and Family Collide – Andy Stanley


This was a great book for anyone who is a ministry leader and has a family.  I love the concepts in this book of leaving your family “holding the rock.”  You can do it for a while, but not for too long.  I also love the concept of working 45 hours a week and praying that the Lord can use that time to build the church.  Practical List: five bedtime questions you can ask your kids.

Order a copy.




Simplify – Bill Hybels


Simpllify Your Life – Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul was a great book from Bill Hybels. This book inspired me to write about having a Life Verse and many more thoughts. It was also helpful to me to be reminded – which needs to happen quite often.

Order This Book              READ: 18 Ways To Simplify Your Life 




The Divine Mentor – Wayne Cordeiro

The Divine Mentor is all about the importance of seeking God every day, trusting in Him to lead us in the big and small things of life. His Word has so much – it’s almost overwhelming. Those in paid ministry roles, especially ought to read this book.


Order the Book                           Read:  Why Church Leaders Need Daily Devotions




Everyone Communicates, Few Connect – John Maxwell

Here’s a great book for every preacher, speaker and communicator!  In Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the most effective people do differently, John Maxwell comes up with great stuff to teach anyone who speaks in front of people on a regular basis. I learned quite a bit from this 2010 book of his.  Thanks to Deb for letting me borrow it.


Pick up the book.           READ:  Eight Tips To Maximize Connection With An Audience




Vital Church Staffing – Bill Easum

The church staff needs to be comprised around these four needs in ministry: bringing people to Christ and the church, retaining them, discipling them and sending them back out. This book if full of practical advice for churches and each different size barrier.  It has great steps for the pastor to take to lead at a higher level of attendance than before.


Get a copy of this book.              Read:  The pastor and networking.  





Zombies, Football and The Gospel – Reggie Joiner

This book is really cool – each section broken down the one bite sized “game changer.” There tons of quotes, discussion questions for leaders and lots of great information.


Pick up the book.        Read:  If want to reach people no one is reaching we must…




Worship Ways – Tom Bandy

I love the descriptions of the styles of worship in this book – it’s a good way to see where your worship style is and what style your prefer / lead towards.  It’s a great book for any church, pastor or worship leader.


Get the book.         READ:  Our Sunday Morning Worship Schedule





Autopsy of a Deceased Church – Thom Rainer

A huge percentage of churches are plateaued or dwindling.  This small book gives lots of practical insight into why churches decline and what can be done to turn things around.


Get the book.                      READ:  9 Indications your church is in trouble.     






Give Your Kids The Keys – Adam Stadtmiller

Using an analogy of either being a gas pedal parent or a brake pedal parent, Adam gives lots of practical insight into raising kids to be faithful. Navigating the faith of your family is a vital for Christian parents.  You can’t make the decision to grow in faith for them, but you can nurture it.  Every parent and children’s ministry worker should read this book.

Buy this book.                Read:  Give your kids the keys.  




Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions – George Barna

A child’s moral compass is set by the age of nine. Whether that compass points toward faith in God or is drawn toward the things of this world is, in large part, up to those influencing the lives of our children from the very earliest years. Parents tend to leave that spiritual training up to the church, yet churches often focus on older children.  My heart is attracted to these types of books because I have two young daughters.  It’s a great book.

Get this book.                          Read: How to build a biblical worldview into kids



What’s Gone Wrong With Youth Ministry And How To Get It Right – David Olshine

I read this book and used many ideas in it as I presented at The Well this fall.  Early next year, we will be releasing those sessions on video to be used by youth workers and volunteer teams.  It’s a great book to help get a focus in your ministry to students.  Deep down, the church wants to make a difference.  Students want to make sense of life.  The answer it found in Jesus, but too often gets bogged down in activity of youth ministry.


Pick up this little book.




Ten Most Influential Churches (and how they impact you today) – Elmer Towns

This is a great book about the stories of ten churches and the way their influence has stretched around the globe for years.  Some fascinating stories of many different styles and sizes of churches that made a huge dent in history.  I met Elmer Towns during an event in Orlando and I like his spirit and the way he talks about the ministry of the church. In this book, one story inspired me to write some thoughts about marketing your church to the world around you.


Pick up a copy of the book here.        READ:  For the sake of the culture, market your church!


The Art of Influence – Chris Widener

I love these leadership stories – parables that teach simple truths.  The art of influence isn’t about getting your way, but starts within you and grows outward.


Buy the book.           READ:  The Power Of Now





Practical Guide To Leading Staff – Stan Toler

This is great little book for any pastor or church staff leader.  It’s full of practical thoughts and wisdom regarding the management of staff.  We don’t manage our staff well so that we can be more business like, but so we can be more church like!


Get the book.     READ:  The gift of resourcefulness and why it should matter to church leaders.



The Present Future -Reggie McNeal

This book presents several questions that need to be asked of and answered by the church, if we are to remain faithful and viable in North America over the next century.


Buy the book.  READ:  Quotes from the Present Future by Reggie McNeal 




Today Matters – John Maxwell

I have most all of John Maxwell’s books and I always enjoy reading them.  His books are always full of great stories and quotes to use in sermons and in speaking.  This book talks about the importance of decisions we make today and how they influence the future.


Get the book.      READ:  Ask these three simple questions to align your priorities.




44 Steps up Off the Plateau – Lyle Schaller

This book was written over twenty years ago now, but much can be gleaned from these practical ideas for moving your church forward when worship attendance become stuck on a plateau.


I think you can still get this book.    READ:  The three most promising steps up off the plateau. 





You Don’t need a title to be a leader – Mark Sanborn

True leadership doesn’t require a certain title.  We’ve all seen people with a title who weren’t leading and true leaders who didn’t have a title at all. This book is about every person being able to lead in whatever area of life they have desire to help make better.


Buy the book.         READ:  7 Ways Leaders Avoid Burnout





  1. The Power of a Whisper – Bill Hybels
  2. Don’t Know Much About The American Presidents? – Kenneth C. Davis 
  3. The Cause Within You – Matthew Barnett
  4. The Present – Spencer Johnson
  5. Powerfully SImple Meetings – Peter Kidd, Bryan Field
  6. Building a ministry that builds disciples- Duffy Robbins
  7. Leadership 101 – John C. Maxwell 
  8. Altar Ego – Craig Groeschel 
  9. Toxic Charity – Robert Lupton 
  10. Eat That Frog  – Bryan Tracy
  11. Why American Overeat  – David Kessler 
  12. Mentor like Jesus – Regi Campbell
  13. Axioms – Hybels
  14. Wisdom of our Fathers – Tim Russert
  15. I’m a church member – Thom Rainer 


Some of the books my 10 year old and I read together outloud:

  1. Tuesdays at the Castle
  2. Holes
  3. The Borrowers
  4. Tangled
  5. Anne of Green Gables
  6. The Golden Cowrie


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