I once heard someone say that you become the people you interact with and the books you read. I think that is so true! I’ve been intentional about trying to surround myself with people I can constantly learn from and who encourage me to grow to my maximum potential. I have also taken seriously the books I read. I try to read 30 minutes a day books that allow me to grow both personally and professionally. Usually, my books are on leadership, ministry, change, relationships, and management. Broad topics, but there have been some great books that have come across my shelf and have shaped me as a ministry leader.
Here are a few that I have read recently that have had a tremendous impact on me.
Good to Great in the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great by Jim Collins. Collins’ team realized that their Good to Great book was helpful for businesses and companies whose goal is to make a profit. But the book needed to be translated for the non-profit world, where success is not ultimately measured in dollars and cents. Some key points I took away from this book:
- In business, money is both an input (resource) and an output (measure of success). For the non-profit, money is purely an input. Our outputs are much harder to define, but they need to be defined before we know where to put our resources, both money and people.
- In the social sector, “True leadership only exists if people follow when they have the freedom not to.” Depending on a formal hierarchical structure alone does not bring greatness. Influence is key.
- Social sectors need to spend more time defining its resource engine, which includes time, money, and branding.
Leading Change by John Kotter. Change management seems to be on the minds of many churches these days. How do we engage more youth and young adults in the life of the church? How do we go about revitalizing our liturgy and worship services? John Kotter offers a formula to leading change. Although I believe the formula is too simplistic for the adaptive changes needed in ministry these days, I do believe it offers a great framework to begin. His eight step process to leading change is as follows:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Pull together the guiding team
- Develop the change vision and strategy
- Communicate for understanding and buy-in
- Empower others to act
- Produce short-term wins
- Don’t let up
- Create a new culture
I wrote a more extended blog entry on Leading Change on our youth ministry web page.
What books have you read lately that have helped you grow and learn?