Leadership is largely about influence—no matter your role. We asked Kathy Ferguson Litton, a consultant for the North American Mission Board, to give us her recommendation of books that leaders should absolutely have on their bookshelves. We hope these eight books will lead you to an even greater understanding of your influence.
#1 Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
This was the first book on leadership that I ever read. It called out the leader in me at a young age; a true, foundational classic that shaped my understanding that leadership was driven by character and personal holiness.
#2 The Servant Principle by Rick E. Ferguson
I married this man when I was 19 and had a front row seat to his servant life for 26 years. He debunks celebrity culture and calls it to be replaced by the servant model of Jesus. Jesus’ identity and security came exclusively through His relationship with His Father, which also produces our servant’s heart.
#3 Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt
No one treats the Titus 2 topic any better than Susan Hunt. This is a primer for any woman who takes seriously her impact. Her term “mothering” is so powerful to grasp and practice as we disciple women. Susan Hunt empowered me. She gave me a fresh vision of what my life should look like (my copy is tattered, torn, and marked on nearly every page).
#4 When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
This is a five star book in my library. It completely revolutionized my understanding of the need for theology for women and how I taught. Women shoulder a huge responsibility in building up the church. Carolyn’s observation about women in a crisis: “…they arrived with casseroles but they also brought their theology”. That theology must be vigorous. When my “life and belief collided,” it was solid theology that steadied my rocked world.
#5 Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Lane Jones, Reggie Joiner
This was a very timely read when I joined the staff at a large church. It is helpful tool for operating within any type of ministry structure.
#6 Just Lead!: A No-Whining, No-Complaining, No-Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron
It is not easy to find guidance as a female leader in a male-dominated church culture. With practical wisdom, Just Lead helps women navigate the tricky steps of leadership.
#7 The Leadership Ellipse by Robert Fryling
The Leadership Ellipse is an important book with this powerful premise: “How I lead is shaped by who I am.” We struggle to live with external integrity because we struggle with internal integrity. This is a well-written spiritual formation leadership book. The chapter on wholeheartedness was life-changing for me.
#8 Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman
This was my most current read. The very idea of “multiplying” hints at disciple-making, yet this is purely a business context. But anyone who works with people needs this book. Wiseman will provoke you to think differently about how to engage the people around you. The research information is very helpful. This is a critical read for church leaders who want to multiply their staff without adding to the payroll. Get this book!
Kathy Ferguson Litton lives in Mobile, Ala. with her husband Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist North Mobile. Both Kathy and Ed lost former spouses in car accidents. God’s grace has navigated her journey in meeting Christ as a child, marrying a young preacher boy, having 26 years of adventure with him, and raising three wonderful children. His goodness has given her a new life and love. Twice a pastor’s wife, once a church staff member, and now National Consultant at NAMB for Ministry to Pastor’s Wives, she leads and directs NAMB’s Web site for ministry wives, flourish.me.