14 Great Leadership Books – Something For Everyone!

Leadership / Leadership //

There are literally thousands of books on leadership available. Where do you start? I thought I’d share a list of some of the favorite books I’ve read for leading effectively. None of these are “Children’s Ministry” books, but all of them have incredible applications to Children’s Ministry:

•   Developing the Leader Within You & Developing the Leaders Around You by John Maxwell. Yes, I know these are two books but, in my opinion, are inseparable and the first books any young leader should read. Anything else by John should be read next.

•   The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes & Barry Posner. THE classic book on leadership, for my money. They’ve had many other great contributions to the field, as well, including one of their newest one which is an incredible read on basic leadership principles: The Truth About Leadership.

•   Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership by James Strock; Leadership Secrets Of Attila The Hun by Wess Roberts & Lincoln On Leadership by Donald Phillips. Teddy Roosevelt is one of my heroes…I don’t know of anyone who ever accomplished more in a lifetime. Attila…well, not one of my heroes but a great leader nevertheless, and fascinating stories! Lincoln is just Lincoln!

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”  Theodore Roosevelt

This is incredibly applicable to Children’s Ministry!

•   EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. While we must always maintain a Biblical approach first and foremost, I believe there is much to be learned from business. This book provides a great overview of leadership principles from a business perspective – something many of us could really learn from in order to apply to our ministry leadership.

•   The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. The subtitle says it all: “The definitive guide to getting the right things done.

•   Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Not specifically a “leadership” book, but an historical work on Lincoln & how he brought many of his “rivals” into his cabinet and led them through the Civil War. Brilliant work & so many lessons.

•   Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland. My former Executive Pastor and mentor has written what I consider to be one of the best, most practical ministry leadership books…ever. Get it.

•   Toy Box Leadership by Ron Hunter, Jr. & Michael Waddell. Great little book that uses everyday toys to teach leadership lessons. This is a great resource for teaching leadership in Children’s Ministry, and fun, too!

•   Leading At A Higher Level by Ken Blanchard. Anything Blanchard writes is fantastic and, while it’s a secular business book, his Christian values shine through. This is a comprehensive work on leadership but an easy read.

•   ESPN The Company by Anthony Smith. OK, I had to let my love of sports out just a little bit! But this is more than the story of ESPN, it’s the story of how they built their business with principles that can certainly be applied to what we do in ministry.

Even as I write this I realize there are a hundred more I could easily list here!  But these are some of my own favorites and I have used every one of them in some way to help me lead or to help me develop leaders…which is the most important task I have as a KidMin leader.

What leadership book would you add?





About the Author

Greg is a children’s ministry veteran of over 25 years who blogs at He now serves Senior Director of Leadership Development at David C Cook, developing and delivering ministry training around the world. He’s a sports nut who married way over his head to Michele, and is kept on his toes by two teenage boys, Taylor and Garret. Website:;; http://Facebook/com/ChildrensMinistryLeader