Five Non-ministry Books Every Pastor Should Read

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ONE: Made to Stick

Why do we love it?
Preaching is stressful. You spend all week preparing a talk that will last half an hour. How do you make your ideas stick? How do you be sure that your information leads to information? This book goes into the psychology of how ideas spread and ensuring your message sticks.

What’s our favorite part?
The section on the “curse of knowledge.” It’s insanely applicable to preachers.

Some Quotes We Liked

“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”

“The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it’s like to LACK that knowledge.”

TWO: Tribes

Why do we love it?
This book reads more like a church planting handbook than a business book. It is all about seeing your organization as a “tribe.” He says that growth is not about building organizations, but it’s about inspiring movements. This book sees leadership as serving more than speaking.

What’s our favorite part?
Godin’s discussion on “why some tribes loose momentum” is a game changer.

Some Quotes We Liked
“Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger. Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever be.”

“If you hear my idea but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; it’s mine. If you see my new product but don’t buy it, that’s my failure, not yours. If you attend my presentation and you’re bored, that’s my fault too.”

THREE: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Why do we love it?
No list on amazing leadership books would be complete without this masterpiece. As you read through this book, you will likely discover some strengths you didn’t know you had. You will also probably find many places you need to work on. This is loaded with wisdom, wit, and passion. If you are in any position where you influence people, you need to take this book to heart.

What’s our favorite part?
The chapter titled “The Law of Navigation” will help you create, discuss, and share your vision.

Some Quotes We Liked
“People dont care what you know until they know what you care”

“You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion…. The heart comes before the head.”

“Attitude is one of the most contagious qualities a human being possesses.”

FOUR: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Why do we love it?
So many pastors tell me, “Im just not creative.” This is both untrue & dangerous thinking — so much of your job is rooted in creativity. Thus, it’s helpful to learn how to embrace your creative side. This is one of the few books I have revisited on both audiobook and physical copy. It is all about creative living beyond fear. This book is full of stories of success, failure, and places in between. This tremendous work will help you unlock the creative potential inside of you.

What’s our favorite part?
Elizabeth explains that we must “show up and do the work- the process is the gift to you and the end result is a gift to the world.” As a person who likes the product more than the process, I really needed this.

Some Quotes We Liked
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

“Own your disappointment, acknowledge it for what it is, and move on.”

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”


FIVE: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Why do we love it?
This book is all about building a healthy culture for your team. Sinek uses his gifts as a story-teller, business leader, and researcher to show us that trust should be at the core of your company culture. Trust isn’t even that hard to cultivate.— just tell the truth and be clear with your intentions. “Organizations grow at the speed of trust.”

What’s our favorite part?
Simon explains that the goal of a leader is to give no orders. Leaders are to provide direction and intent and allow others to figure out what to do and how to get there. Train people to think, not comply. Responsibility is not doing as we told, that’s obedience. Responsibility is doing what is right.

Some Quotes We Liked
“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”

“Children are better off having a parent who works into the night in a job they love than a parent who works shorter hours but comes home unhappy.”

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About the Author

Jackson Garrell

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Jackson is a pastor, designer, and cheese enthusiast. He lives in New York with his wife and several dozen plants. When he is not building websites, consulting churches, or pastoring, you will probably find him trying to create the perfect omelette.

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