personal productivity

7 Books to Add Your Christmas Break Reading List

Every year there is a lull in activity after Christmas but before things really heat up in January and I love taking some time to read in that window. I find that it’s a great time of year to reflect and reorient my own leadership as I look forward to a New Year. Here are some suggestions of potential books that you could read over the “break” this year and areas that it might help you in.

  • Strategy: Deep & Wide // This Andy Stanley book is required reading for all church leaders. With surprising candor and transparency he explains how one of the country’s largest churches began with a high-profile divorce and a church split. But that’s just the beginning… Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend.
  • hipsterreadingDonor Development: The Generosity Network // This book is targeted at “professional fundraisers” who are not necessarily within church. Through great personal stories, lots of ideas, and inspiring examples, the authors show nonprofit leaders how to build a community of engaged partners who share a common passion and are eager to provide the resources needed to change the world—not just money, but also time, talents, personal networks, creative thinking, public support, and all the other forms of social capital that often seem scanty yet are really abundant, waiting to be uncovered and mobilized. A great read if you are looking for some coaching in how you interact with donors at your church!
  • Fresh Perspective: David & Goliath // Malcolm Gladwell has written some very thought provoking books … The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers … just to name a few that have shaped me. In this book begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, he examines Northern Ireland’s Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms—all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity. This isn’t trying to be a theological text … but it’s great to see a Biblical narrative being used is the broader culture.
  • Personal Leadership: Multipliers // As I think about my leadership I want to increase my ability to release ministry and leaders into the people I work with. Liz Wiseman’s almost instant classic is a great resources to push your thinking in how you interact with the people around you. A thought-provoking, accessible, and essential exploration of why some leaders (“Diminishers”) drain capability and intelligence from their teams, while others (“Multipliers”) amplify it to produce better results.
  • Teaching Ideas: Love Does // Bob Goff is a rock star. This book is an inspirational read that will provides practical handles on how to live the message of Jesus in the here and now. Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude will inspire you to pursue a more abundant life. If you are looking for a “framework” for a great series in 2014 … Bob’s book would be a great place to start.
  • Team Culture: The Advantage // Patrick Lencioni argues that the seminal difference between successful organizations and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides. If you are needing to “tune up” your team culture in 2014 … start here!
  • Communications: Jab, Jab, Jab … Right Hook! // Social Media is going to matter more to your church’s communications strategy in 2014 than it’s ever before. This book is by Gary Vaynerchuk … social media maven and wine salesman! 🙂 Vaynerchuk shows that while content is still key in Social Media, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices—content tailor-made for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.

What about you? What are some books that you suggest we consider reading over the Christmas break this year to help us prepare for next year? Leave a comment!


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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.