A Syllabus for Future Executive Pastors
About two or three times a month, I get a question about what a future Executive Pastor should read to prepare himself for that role. So here’s a complete answer: an entire three-part reading plan for exec pastors, like a self-directed M.A. in Executive Leadership, at very little cost to you.
Here’s the flow:
XP101: A Syllabus for Future Executive Pastors
Here, I’ve got what to read to explore the basics of leadership studies, management practice and other core competencies of the role. Note that I don’t think this is comprehensive reading for an XP. I’m assuming that you will develop a deep prayer life, study God’s Word, biblical studies, theology, missions and church history, and learn to shepherd, preach and make disciples through another program—these courses would build on that foundation specifically for an XP role.
XP201: A Syllabus for New Executive Pastors
Here, we’re going to go two or three resources deeper in each of the nine core competencies/fields from XP101. Progressively, I’ll be assigning less on self development and more on functions of management, strategy, communication, etc. This reading list would ideally be completed during the first 6-12 months of serving as an exec pastor.
XP301: A Syllabus for Established Executive Pastors
Once you’ve got the first 40-50 resources down and a few years of experience in the position, these resources will help broaden your exposure and focus your knowledge along the same competencies/fields.
You’ll notice that I’m relying primarily on articles and essays (titles are marked with quotation marks) rather than books. You are welcome. But where books are recommended, I’m providing an amazon link, but encourage you to buy local. In Louisville, all these books can be ordered from Carmichael’s, Book Nook or Lifeway. (Forgive the local economy plug.)
Alright, on to your XP101 reading, friends!
Tim Keller, “Ministry & Character”
C.J. Mahaney, “Biblical Productivity”
Daniel Goleman, “The Focused Leader”
John Piper, “The Marks of a Spiritual Leader”
Organization & Management
Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
John Kotter, “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail”
Strategy & Innovation
Chan et al., “Blue Ocean Strategy”
Michael Porter, “What is Strategy?”
Discipleship & Staffing
Marshall and Payne, The Trellis & the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything
Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism
Scott Thomas & Tom Wood, Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God
Money & Stewardship
Vision, Writing & Communication
Chris Anderson, “How to Give a Killer Presentation”
Andy Stanley, Making Vision Stick
These resources have been compiled by lists from myself and Tim Beltz, Sojourn Church’s senior executive pastor. Research and links have been provided by one of our deacons, Officer Logan Thrasher. Thanks, Logan! JSL