Great Books for 2016!

Each year for the XP-Seminar, we cull the book world for great books on management and leadership.

Some of the books are classics on leadership–let’s never forget about great books from the past!
Some are written by XPs on their experience as an XP.
Some are secular books on leadership–our friends in the business world have some lessons to teach us.
Some are from national Christian thought leaders on vital topics.

Of course, if you come to the XP-Seminar, these will all be offered at the “Free Book Table.”  And so that we won’t force you to pay for extra weight in your luggage, we limit each person to two free books.

Enjoy the list and see if there is something here that will help you grow to the next level! And, you can find more recommended books here.

Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God

Mike Erre

In Astonished, Pastor Mike Erre calls Christians away from simplistic formulas to honest and rugged faith in the mysterious and unpredictable God. In Astonished, you will see how we are far more comfortable with tips, steps and techniques for living, than we are with ruthlessly trusting the mysterious God of the Bible. God asks us to follow Him into tension, frustration, and difficulty because He wants our trust, not just our intellectual agreement. He calls us to seek Him even as we live in awe of all that is yet to be known about Him. Astonished is an invitation to question in a culture that wants answers, to wonder in a world with little mystery left, and to believe in what is unseen and find it beautiful.

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them

George Barna and David Kinnaman

Churchless people are all around us: among our closest loved ones, at our workplaces, in our neighborhoods. And more and more, they are becoming the norm: The number of churchless adults in the U.S. has grown by nearly one-third in the past decade. Yet the startling truth is that many of these people claim they are looking for a genuine, powerful encounter with God―but they just don’t find it in church. What are they (or we) missing? How can we better reach out to them? What can we say or do that would inspire them to want to join a community of faith? Containing groundbreaking new research from the Barna Group, and edited by bestselling authors George Barna (Revolution) and David Kinnaman (You Lost Me), Churchless reveals the results of a five-year study based on interviews with thousands of churchless men and women. Looking past the surface of church attendance to deeper spiritual realities, Churchless will help us understand those who choose not to be part of a church, build trust-based relationships with them, and be empowered to successfully invite them to engage.

Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church

Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard

What does it look like when pastors cultivate a culture of generosity in the church by actively teaching and mentoring people in the spiritual act of giving? It’s generosity that’s contagious. A growing number of leaders are beginning to discover that there are key factors that make some churches thrive with abundant resources while others struggle with shrinking budgets. Jim Sheppard and Chris Willard have spent years consulting with church leaders across a broad spectrum of church settings and have gathered their observations into this resource, part of the Leadership Network Innovations Series. Contagious Generosity highlights the best practices gleaned from real-life church leadership situations and shows how church leaders can effectively cultivate a culture of generous giving in the local church. It explains why some churches are experiencing unexplainable ministry growth and unprecedented church funding … even in the midst of tough economic times.

Crisis Leadership: Personal Accounts From Leaders Who Found Their Way and Thrived

Scott Barfoot and David Fletcher–Editors

Crisis Leadership takes a fresh and compelling look inside the hearts, minds and personal stories of nine remarkable leaders who battle challenging crises in the frontlines of life and ministry. This short read is packed full of vital wisdom, hope and encouragement to help you be even more effective in your place of leadership.

Defining the Executive Pastor Role

Phil Taylor

What is an Executive Pastor? Are you wired to be an XP? How is an XP different than an Associate Pastor? Should XP’s have a degree in pastoral ministry, business, or both? Does your church need an XP? What should a church look for in seeking to fill this often overlooked, undervalued, yet critical position? These and other questions are the focus of this short work on defining the Executive Pastor Role. Written with a brevity designed to allow you to read or skim quickly, you’ll still find enough depth to provide meaningful direction and insight. Current and future XP’s should read this book for definition. Potential XP’s should read this book to clarify their calling. And church leaders considering hiring an XP should read this book before beginning their search.

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.

Brad Lomenick

In his new book H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle, Brad Lomenick shares his hard-earned insights from more than two decades of work alongside thought-leaders such as Jim Collins and Malcolm Gladwell, Fortune 500 CEOs and start-up entrepreneurs. He categorizes twenty essential leadership habits organized into three distinct filters he calls “the 3 Hs”: Humble (Who am I?), Hungry (Where do I want to go?) and Hustle (How will I get there?) These powerful words describe the leader who is willing to work hard, get it done, and make sure it’s not about him or her; the leader who knows that influence is about developing the right habits for success. Lomenick provides a simple but effective guide on how to lead well in whatever capacity the reader may be in.

The High-Definition Leader: Building Multi-Ethnic Churches in a Multi-Ethnic World

Derwin L. Gray

The High-Definition Leader is an invitation of grace for churches and their leaders to grasp the ancient call of the early New Testament Church that crossed ethnic and socioeconomic barriers to create heavenly colonies of love, reconciliation, and unity on earth. In it, you will learn the theology and practices that will help you build a mission-shaped, multi-ethnic church.

I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian

Thom S. Rainer

Could you be the answer to the problems you see? Every day we are faced with the needs of those around us. Emotional. Physical. Spiritual. What are we to do about it? Are these problems for our pastors to address or is there a way for the church member to make an impact that will last? Bestselling author Thom S. Rainer answers these questions by offering nine simple traits that you can incorporate into your life no matter your background, stage of life, or sense of capability. You can do it. Now it’s time to just stand up and say you will!

Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow

Carey Nieuwhof

You’ve probably noticed … Churches aren’t growing. Young adults are walking away. Volunteers are hard to recruit. Leaders are burning out. And the culture is changing faster than ever before. There’s no doubt the church is in a moment in history for which few church leaders are prepared. You can look for answers, but the right response depends on having the right conversation. In Lasting Impact, Carey Nieuwhof leads you and your team through seven conversations that will help your church grow and have a lasting impact. What if …

  • Having the right conversations could change your trajectory?
  • There was more hope than you realized?
  • The potential to grow was greater than the potential to decline?
  • Your community was waiting for a church to offer the hope they’re looking for?
  • Your best days as a church were ahead of you?

Maybe the future belongs to the churches that are willing to have the most honest conversations at a critical time. That’s what Lasting Impact is designed to facilitate.

Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth

Samuel Chand

Do you want to be a better leader? Raise the threshold of your pain. Do you want your church to grow or your business to reach higher goals? Reluctance to face pain is your greatest limitation. There is no growth without change, no change without loss, and no loss without pain. Bottom line: if you’re not hurting, you’re not leading. But this book is not a theological treatise on pain. Rather in Leadership Pain Samuel Chand—best-selling author recognized as “the leader’s leader”—provides a concrete, practical understanding of the pain we experience to help us interpret pain more accurately and learn the lessons God has in it for us. Chand is ruthlessly honest and highly practical as he examines the principles and practices that make our pain a means of fulfilling God’s divine purposes for our churches, communities, and us.

Passing the Leadership Baton: A Winning Transition Plan for Your Ministry

Tom Mullins

Successfully handing off the leadership baton to the next leader is essential to give our organization the best opportunity to thrive after our time of service. A smooth handoff requires meticulous planning and forethought. Yet most leaders put off even thinking about leadership transition until they are faced with a situation where they have no choice but to make a change. The results of not planning ahead can be devastating for both you and your beloved organization. Passing the Leadership Baton will help you manage the emotional transition yourself while fully supporting the next leader. Creating a seamless succession can be a challenge, but done successfully, it may very well be one of the greatest rewards you’ll experience as a leader.

People Patterns: Discovering Giftedness in the Sunlight and Shadow of Relationship

David Fletcher

There are Five People Patterns of how we talk to ourselves and relate to others. We all have Sunlight and Shadow in our lives. Artists and great authors have painted pictures with oils and words to show the light and dark in human relationships. Rembrandt van Rijn, the great Dutch artist, often painted using a strong light source, creating deep shadows on his subject. Some of the uniqueness that is you is easy to see. Another part of you is much harder to understand.

To see our Sunlight and Shadows, we can use the Five People Patterns: Mentor—coach and develop others; Administrator—set rules for successful living; Catalyst—spur others on to new levels of success; Relational—bring harmony and compassion to others; Overseer—keep people on track and organized. As sunlight falls on you, others can easily see who you are. In deep shadows, it is far harder for others to see you. In the same way, we reflect our personality to others in the Sunlight Pattern. In the sunlight we show our strengths for all to see. Our Shadow contains our weaknesses and limitations, things that are awkward or harder for us to do. In the bright sunlight we see our strengths and in the shadows we see our limitations. Sunlight and Shadow form the People Pattern.

Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups to Reach the Fringes

Chris Surratt

Most churches in America struggle to have a significant percentage of their adult attendance in small groups. According to recent research done by Lifeway Research, only “33 percent of churchgoers attend classes or groups for adults (such as Sunday school, Bible study, small groups, or Adult Bible Fellowships) four or more times in a typical month. Fourteen percent attend two or three times a month.” Life transformation happens best within the context of community, so if a church is going to be intentional about discipleship they have to develop on-ramps to small groups that reach people on the fringes and beyond. If we continue to offer small groups to the normal church attenders, a majority of the people who show up to church are never reached. Pastors, church staff and small group leaders are trying to figure out how to make small groups work in their church and they don’t know how. Small Groups for the Rest of Us gives them practical, proven strategies on moving people from the fringes into biblically-based communities.

unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why it Matters

David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental,” young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of … unchristian. Groundbreaking research into the perceptions of sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds reveals that Christians have taken several giant steps backward in one of their most important assignments. The surprising details of the study, commissioned by Q and conducted by The Barna Group, are presented with uncompromising honesty in unChristian. Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christ-like manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.