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Great Books 2019

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About the ‘Great Books’ List

Each year for the XP-Seminar, we cull the book world for great books on personal enrichment, management and leadership. There are …

Classics—never forget about the great ones!
Business books—our friends in the business world have lessons to teach us.
Christian books—national thought leaders writing on vital topics.

All are offered at the XP-Seminar Free Book Table.  So that we won’t force you to pay for extra weight in your luggage, we limit each person to two free books, sometimes more!

Enjoy the list. See if there is something here that will help you grow to the next level!

Great Books 2019!

Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World

Andy Stanley

Once upon a time there was a version of our faith that was practically . . . irresistible. But that was then. Today we preach, teach, write, and communicate as if nothing has changed.  As if “The Bible says it,” still settles it.

It’s time to hit pause on much of what we’re doing and consider the faith modeled by our first-century brothers and sisters who had no official Bible, no status, and humanly speaking, little chance of survival.

What did they know that we don’t? What made their faith so compelling, so defensible, so irresistible?

Buckle up … you’re about to find out. More importantly, Andy will invite you to embrace the version of faith that, against all odds, initiated a chain of events resulting in the most significant and extensive cultural transformation the world has ever seen. A version we must embrace if we are to be salt and light in an increasingly savorless and dark world.   ~Amazon

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brené Brown

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.

But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question:  How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?  ~Amazon

Didn’t See It Coming

Carey Nieuwhof

An influential pastor, podcaster, and thought leader believes it’s not only possible to predict life’s hardest moments, but also to alter outcomes, overcome challenges, and defeat your fiercest adversaries.

Founding Pastor of one of North America’s most influential churches, Carey Nieuwhof wants to help you avoid and overcome life’s seven hardest and most crippling challenges: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness. These are challenges that few of us expect but that we all experience at some point. If you have yet to confront these obstacles, Carey provides clear tools and guidelines for anticipation and avoidance. On the other hand, if you already feel stuck in a painful experience or are wrestling with one of these challenges, he provides the steps you need to find a way out and a way forward into a more powerful and vibrant future.  ~Amazon

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority

Clay Scroggins

Are you letting your lack of authority paralyze you? One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you must be in charge in order to lead. Great leaders don’t buy it. Great leaders lead with or without the authority and learn to unleash their influence wherever they are.

With practical wisdom and humor, Clay Scroggins will help you nurture your vision and cultivate influence, even when you lack authority in your organization. And he will free you to become the great leader you want to be so you can make a difference right where you are. Even when you’re not in charge.  ~Amazon

No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry

Daniel Im

What if I told you that you were only one step away from unlocking new levels of maturity and growth in your church? The myth of the silver bullet still exists because we desperately want it to. We all prefer quick fixes and bandage solutions to the long, hard, slow work that produces real change. So the moment we learn about a new ministry or strategy and see its effect in another church, we run to implement it in our own. Unfortunately, this impulse is usually met by opposition, skepticism, and ultimately, rejection.

What if the solution isn’t a new model or a complicated strategy, but a shift in perspective? What if you could keep your church’s current vision, values, and model, and simply make a few micro-shifts … leading to macro-changes?

This book explores five micro-shifts that have the potential to produce macro-changes in your church. As you read, you will discover how to integrate these micro-shifts into the life of your church, starting with the way you disciple. You will finish by developing a plan to structure, communicate, and evaluate these changes to ensure that they take root and pave the way for lasting change and kingdom impact.   ~Amazon

Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders

Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird

Everybody wants to be a hero, but few understand the power of being a hero maker.

In Hero Maker you will learn how to bring real change to your church and community by developing the practical skills to help others reach their leadership potential. Drawing on five powerful practices found in the ministry of Jesus, Hero Maker presents the key steps of apprenticeship that will build up other leaders and provides strategies for how you can activate gifts, help others take ownership, and develop a simple scorecard for measuring your kingdom-building progress.

Besides rich insights from the Gospels, Hero Maker is packed with real-life ministry stories ranging from paid staff to volunteer leaders and from established churches to new church plants. A practical tool accompanies each of the five practices, with several illustrations for how to use it.

Whether you lead ten people or ten thousand, Hero Maker will not only help you maximize your leadership, but in doing so you will also help shift today’s church culture to a model of reproduction and multiplication. Authors Dave Ferguson (a Chicago pastor and church planter) and Warren Bird (an award-winning writer) make a compelling case that God’s power and purpose are best revealed when we train and release others, who in turn do likewise. Become that rare breed of leader who brings change into our world by sacrificially investing in others who become the heroes. By becoming a hero maker, you will join a movement of influencers that are impacting hundreds, thousands and perhaps millions of people around the world.  ~Amazon

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen

Donald Miller

New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.

Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media. Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.   ~Amazon

Developing Female Leaders: Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church

Kadi Cole

How to More Effectively Leverage the Leadership Gifts and Abilities of Women in Your Church

What would your church look like in the future if it were to maximize the dormant gifts of the women God has brought there? In Developing Female Leaders, Kadi Cole, twenty-year veteran in leadership and people development, offers a practical strategy to help church and organizational leaders craft cultures that facilitate the development of women as volunteer and staff leaders.

Using interviews and surveys of more than one thousand women in key church and organizational roles, combined with current research, the author has created eight easy-to-implement “best practices” that help accelerate a woman’s organizational contribution.

Thorough appendices and references add even more guidance for setting vision, milestones, and goals. Developing Female Leaders is a one-of-a-kind resource for identifying what is missing today in your church to help it flourish in the future.   ~Amazon

High Impact Teams: Where Healthy Meets High Performance

Lance Witt

No matter how big an organization, we all do ministry with a team, whether paid or volunteer. Anyone who has been part of a great team knows it’s something special. When there is good chemistry, everyone is operating from their sweet spot, the objectives are clear, and kingdom progress is being made, it is incredibly fulfilling and fun.

On the flip side, we’re painfully aware what happens when there is dysfunction in the team—stress, tension, politics, and posturing. It’s not much fun for anyone, and we end up squandering our divine assignment.

Lance Witt, founder of Replenish ministries and a former executive and teaching pastor at Saddleback Church, knows what it takes to keep teams functioning at the highest level of impact. He shows leaders how to build next-level teams that are spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy and productive and high-performing. Short, to-the-point chapters make the book easy to digest and the perfect resource for your team to read through together.  ~Amazon

God Over Good

Luke Norsworthy

It’s hard to say that God is good when God isn’t always what we expect good to be. A good father wouldn’t make it so difficult to get to know him, would he? And if God is all-powerful, wouldn’t he ensure that we never suffered? Either our understanding of God is incorrect, or our definition of good is inadequate.

In a world that is messy and a church that is imperfect, it’s easy to let our faith be lost. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose God. It means we must consider the fact that perhaps our idealized expectations are just plain wrong. With transparency about his own struggles with cynicism and doubt, pastor Luke Norsworthy helps frustrated Christians and skeptics trade their confinement of God in an anemic definition of good for confidence in the God who is present in everything, including our suffering.   ~Amazon

Empowering Leadership: How a Leadership Development Center Builds Better Leaders Faster

Michael Fletcher

A major problem in the local church today is lack of leadership. Simply put, we have more needs than we have leaders to meet those needs. So, how do we train better leaders faster?

The truth is, very few churches really have a well-thought-out leadership development plan. Growth requires continually adding healthy new leaders, who carry the church culture forward and embody its core values. Everyone knows it, but how do we achieve it?

In Empowering Leadership author and leadership consultant Michael Fletcher says leaders like this can’t simply be bought, nor can they be hired from someone else’s leadership assembly line. Developing leaders at every level, to create an environment that attracts potential leaders, and to build better leaders faster, an organization needs more than a pipeline. It needs a culture that develops leaders organically.

Finding the right kind of leaders to guide your church on a path of continual growth comes out of keeping the right focus, and that focus is not just on the leaders. In fact, as Fletcher says,

It isn’t about the leader. It never was about the leader. It will never be about the leader. It will always and only be about Jesus and his people.

It’s about the people. True leadership development includes the often messy, but necessary, interaction of life upon life. So hiring pastors and key staff roles from within the church is the very best policy—people who “breathe” the culture of the church and who have helped create the culture you want to maintain.

If your church or organization needs a good leadership development structure, then you’re holding the right book. Empowering Leadership details Michael’s greatest insights on how to build better leaders faster by creating a leadership development culture in your church or organization—naturally, organically, continually. Empower your church or organization through great leadership.  ~Amazon

Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church

Rich Birch

Are you ready to see your church impact more people than you have ever before?

Are you tired of church leadership books that are long on theory but short on practical help?

Have you wanted to reach more people in your community but you weren’t sure where to start?

Are you worried that your church isn’t reaching its full potential?

“Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church” is full of helpful insights to help your church reach more people starting today!

Bestselling author, Rich Birch, has pulled together his own hard-fought experience leading within one of the fastest growing churches in the country as well as over 200 interviews with church leaders from prevailing churches.   ~Amazon

The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health

Tony Morgan

Think about your church for a moment. Is it growing? Is it diminishing? Is it somewhere in between? Acclaimed church leader, blogger, and founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan has identified the seven stages of a church’s lifecycle that range from the hopeful and optimistic days of launch, to the stagnating last stages of life support.

Regardless of the stage in which you find your church, it carries with it the world’s greatest mission—to “go and make disciples of all the nations …” With eternity at stake the Church should be doing most everything within its power to see lives changed forever. The Church should strive for the pinnacle of the lifecycle, where they are continually making new disciples and experiencing what Morgan refers to as “sustained health.”

In The Unstuck Church, Morgan unpacks each phase of the church lifecycle, and offers specific and strategic next steps the church leader can take to find its way to sustained health … and finally become unstuck. The Unstuck Church is a call for an honest assessment of where your church sits on the lifecycle, and a challenge to move beyond it.   ~Amazon

Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace

William Vanderbloemen

The roadmap to making your company a great place to work in today’s job-hopping culture starts right here.

What could your company accomplish if it could attract and retain employees who buy into your organization’s mission 100%?

Culture Wins is a practical yet challenging modern guidebook for organizations that want to own the future. Its firsthand insights into building a contagious culture will drive sustainable growth and innovation for any organization. You will build a healthy workplace, increase revenue, and change the world with the lessons you’ll learn. Stop losing employees, grow your team, and build a contagious company culture that outlasts the competition.

There are books on general team building, there are books on workplace best practices, and there are books on leadership—but there is not a book that shows forward-thinking leaders how to integrate it into today’s new job-hopping culture. William Vanderbloemen uses his company’s proven experience in staffing and organizational consulting to provide a global perspective of effective, thriving cultures—and how to create them.   ~Amazon

And More …

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.

Rich Birch Unreasonable Churches: 10 Churches Who Zagged When Others Zigged and Saw More Impact Because of It

Rich Birch

In an era when 94% of churches are losing ground against the growth of the communities they serve, there is a new breed of churches who buck the trend.

Unreasonable Churches tells to stories of 10 churches who stopped copying the models of other churches and tried something new. You’ll be inspired to consider how your church could see great impact by blazing new trails!

Everyone’s a Genius: Unleashing Creativity for the Sake of the World

Alan Briggs

Church consultant and author, Alan Briggs, guides the church leader on a profound yet simple methodology on identifying the unique God-given abilities of their parishioners, and empowering them to their best use.

With every church member comes a unique set of skills and abilities. The church leader is charged with the weighty task of uncovering and validating all of them.

While some have easily identifiable skillsets, author and leadership consultant, Alan Briggs, believes that bringing out the abilities of the overlooked–those with a unique skill-set that aren’t as easily identifiable–remains a key component that