TOP BOOKS

MDI has curated a collection of powerful books that speak to ministry leadership. We are continually adding new resources to this library to sharpen your skills, challenge your thinking and give insights to achieve your goals.

Featured

Book List

Mission Drift

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Mission Drift

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Why do so many organizations wander from their mission, while others remain Mission True? Can drift be prevented? In Mission Drift, HOPE International executives Peter Greer and Chris Horst show how to determine whether your organization is in danger of drift, and they share the results of their research into Mission True and Mission Untrue organizations. Even if your organization is on course, it’s wise to look for ways to inoculate yourself against drift. You’ll discover what you can do to prevent drift or get back on track and how to protect what matters most.

The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership

by Jenni Catron

The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership

by Jenni Catron

In The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership, Jenni Catron, executive church leader and author of Clout, reveals the secrets to standout leadership found in the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Weaving a winsome narrative filled with inspiring real-life stories, hard-won wisdom, and practical applications, Catron unpacks four essential aspects of growing more influential: your heart for relational leadership, your soul for spiritual leadership, your mind for managerial leadership, and your strength for visionary leadership.
Leadership isn’t easy, but it is possible to move from ordinary to extraordinary. Jenni Catron shows the way.

Leadership as an Identity

by Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.

Leadership as an Identity

by Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.

The question itself assumes an atypical answer, simply because it leaves out so much. To ask only about one’s character seems inadequate when defining a leader. We surely need to ask about character, but also about personality, communication skills, IQ, education, previous experience, and more… don’t we?

Crawford Loritts disagrees. He answers the question with four simple words: Brokenness, communion, servanthood, and obedience.

These four traits form the framework for Leadership as an Identity. By examining each trait, Loritts undermines many pervasive assumptions about leadership that are unbiblical.
Nonprofit Sustainability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman

Extraordinary Board Leadership

by Doug Eadie

Extraordinary Board Leadership

by Doug Eadie

Many nonprofits never take full advantage of their board members. Extraordinary Board Leadership: The Keys to Governing deals with an incredibly important topic – “high-impact governing” – which is at the heart not only of a nonprofit’s effectiveness, but also the key to a positive, productive, and enduring board-CEO partnership. This text offers practical, hands-on guidance, which is based on in-depth real-life experience and can be put to immediate use. It goes beyond the old-fashioned “policy governance” approach – beyond the rules – in dealing with the board-CEO-executive staff partnership.

The Call of the Chair

by David L. McKenna

The Call of the Chair

by David L. McKenna

As Christ-centered ministries go through changing times, the leadership role of the board chair rises in significance. As manager of the board, the chair joins the CEO in responsibility for advancing the mission, partnering with the vision, governing by policy, and setting the tone for the morale of the ministry. Such leadership requires a chair who is appointed by God, gifted with integrity, trust and humility, and anointed by the Holy Spirit. With deft strokes written out of learning from professional practice, understanding from spiritual discipline, and insight from personal experience, David McKenna leaves no doubt. Unless chosen by God, the chair will fail; unless gifted with integrity, trust and humility, the board will fail; and unless obedient to the Spirit, the ministry will fail. Loud and clear, the message is sent to every Christ-centered ministry: The call of the chair is the call of God.

Building Better Boards

by David Nadler, Beverly A. Behan, and Mark B. Nadler

Building Better Boards

by David Nadler, Beverly A. Behan, and Mark B. Nadler

We’re nearing the end of an era. The age of the imperial CEO and the ornamental board of directors is waning, but what comes next isn’t clear. Every board of directors is approaching a fork in the road, forging new working relationships at the top of the corporation. The path each company takes will have huge implications for its shareholders, employees, and corporate leaders.
Building Better Boards is a practical and provocative blueprint for helping CEOs and boards create real value by striking the right balance between contention and collaboration. It’s an approach to corporate governance that goes far beyond minimum compliance with legal requirements; this is about enabling the board, for the first time, to perform as a team in a way that significantly improves the quality of management’s decisions without interfering with management’s prerogatives.

In an engaging style, Building Better Boards provides a unique glimpse at the complex interplay of egos, interests, and interpersonal dynamics that dictates how boards and CEOs operate. Based on Mercer Delta Consulting’s unparalleled experience in working with top corporate leaders, supplemented by rigorous research conducted with the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and with the National Association of Corporate Directors, the book is a unique and invaluable resource for all those involved with and concerned about the future of corporate governance.

Lead like Jesus

by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges

Lead like Jesus

by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges

With simple yet profound principles from the life of Jesus and dozens of stories and leadership examples from his life experiences, veteran author, speaker and leadership expert Ken Blanchard guides readers through the process of discovering how to lead like Jesus. He describes it as the process of aligning two internal domains-the heart and the head-and two external domains-the hands and the habits. These four dimensions of leadership form the outline for this very practical and transformational book.

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brene Brown

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, “What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?”

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”

Retention Fundraising

by Roger M. Craver

Retention Fundraising

by Roger M. Craver

For three years, Roger Craver immersed himself in a study of nonprofits in the U.S. and the U.K. His singular aim was to uncover why donors quit an organization and what can be done to make them stay. Among many findings, he uncovered seven key drivers that deepen a donor’s commitment, the eight primary reasons why donors stop giving, and the major barriers to donor retention. There’s gold in your current donors and Retention Fundraising is a detailed map for mining those riches.

Coach Your Champions

by Eric Foley

Coach Your Champions

by Eric Foley

Is your Christian nonprofit or church struggling financially? Do you find yourself saying, “If only we could find a few more givers with deep pockets to help us make budget?” It’s an understandable sentiment. But the Bible holds a totally different approach to major donor development – one completely counter to the secular fundraising approach ministries have been taught they must practice.

In this nuts and bolts nonprofit fable, you’ll learn how:

God has already sent your organization all the major donors you need.
Major donors are about more than big gifts; they’re champions awaiting your coaching to make a comprehensive difference in your cause.
Each and every person who comes to your ministry is sent as a gift and challenge from God – and God is holding you accountable to grow each one to their fullest potential.

As you set aside the secular shackles you’ve unwittingly placed on your Christian development program, you’ll lower the barriers to meaningful involvement in your cause while raising the bar for what you can expect from your ministry’s champions – all while having a lot more fun in fundraising.

The Fundraising Dinner Operations Manual

by Mission Increase Foundation

The Fundraising Dinner Operations Manual

by Mission Increase Foundation

Mission Increase Foundation believes there is a better way for ministries and donors to serve together. Every year billions of dollars are given to Christian charities, yet most donors do not believe they are being the stewards God desires them to be, and despite all the giving, most nonprofit organizations still lack the resources and skills they need to fulfill their mission.

Trauma Stewardship

by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk

Trauma Stewardship

by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk

A longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll taken on those working to make the world a better place. We may feel tired, cynical, or numb or like we can never do enough. These, and other symptoms, affect us individually and collectively, sapping the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are to benefit humankind, other living things, and the planet itself. In Trauma Stewardship, we are called to meet these challenges in an intentional way—to keep from becoming overwhelmed by developing a quality of mindful presence. Joining the wisdom of ancient cultural traditions with modern psychological research, Lipsky offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to remake ourselves—and ultimately the world.

Running on Empty

by Fil Anderson

Running on Empty

by Fil Anderson

Fil Anderson had accomplished more for God than most of his contemporaries, but his worn-out body housed an empty soul. His frenetic pace of ministry had earned him just one thing: greater pressure to do even more. He had fallen for the soul-killing lie that doing more for God would give his life meaning. Then the godly admonition of a spiritual director set this burned-out believer on a life-saving spiritual path.

This powerful story of a reawakened soul can be the story of every person who has pursued spiritual productivity over intimacy with God and come up empty. It’s the story of reclaiming your soul and finding a home in the center of God’s relentless love. It’s the journey from self-importance to God-importance.

The solution is not greater achievements for the kingdom of God. It’s time to stop living for God and start living with God.

In this candid and achingly authentic book, Fil Anderson shares the healing insights that restored his spiritual compass and guided him back to God … the God who specializes in filling empty souls.

The First 90 Days

by Michael D. Watkins

The First 90 Days

by Michael D. Watkins

Transitions are a critical time for leaders. In fact, most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. While transitions offer a chance to start fresh and make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a position of acute vulnerability. Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success.

Necessary Endings

by Dr. Henry Cloud

Necessary Endings

by Dr. Henry Cloud

If you’re hesitant to pull the trigger when things obviously aren’t working out, Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings may be the most important book you read all year.” —Dave Ramsey, New York Times bestselling author of The Total Money Makeover

“Cloud is a wise, experienced, and compassionate guide through [life’s] turbulent passages.” —Bob Buford, bestselling author of Halftime and Finishing Well; founder of the Leadership Network

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

by Gary Chapman and Paul White

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

by Gary Chapman and Paul White

Supervisors and managers will learn to effectively communicate appreciation and encouragement to their employees, resulting in improved staff morale, more positive relationships between managers and employees, and increased employee engagement. Most problems in any given organization come down to this: do people feel appreciated? This book will help you answer yes.
A bestseller in its own right—having over 250,000 copies in print, and translated into 15 languages—this book has a proven history of success. Its principles are about human behavior, and they’ve helped organizations of all kinds, including businesses, non-profits, hospitals, schools, government agencies, and even companies with remote workers.

Each book contains a free access code for taking the online Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory. The assessment identifies each person’s preferred languages of appreciation to help you apply the book. When managers and supervisors understand someone’s primary and secondary languages, as well as the specific ways to speak them, they can effectively communicate authentic appreciation, thus raising the level of buy-in and performance across an entire team or organization.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey

When it was first published in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was an almost instant bestseller–and quickly became a permanent part of the cultural lexicon. With over 25 million copies sold worldwide in over 40 languages since its first publication, this book continues to help millions of readers become more effective in both their personal and professional lives.

This is one of the rare books that has influenced presidents, CEOs, educators, and individuals all over the world not only to improve their businesses and careers but to live with integrity, service, dignity, and success in all areas of life. It has had an undeniable impact for the past 25 years–and will no doubt continue to be influential for many more.

Good to Great

by Jim Collins

Good to Great

by Jim Collins

Can a good company become a great one and, if so, how? After a five-year research project, Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organization to make the leap from good to great while other organizations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising – at times even shocking – to the modern mind. Good to Great achieves a rare distinction- a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel.C

Forces for Good

by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant

Forces for Good

by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant

An innovative guide to how great nonprofits achieve extraordinary social impact.What makes great nonprofits great? Authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant searched for the answer over several years, employing a rigorous research methodology which derived from books on for-profits like Built to Last. They studied 12 nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact—from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation—and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world. This book has lessons for all readers interested in creating significant social change, including nonprofit managers, donors and volunteers.

Traction

by Gino Wickman

Traction

by Gino Wickman

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical.The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

The Spirituality of Fundraising

by Henry J. M. Nouwen

The Spirituality of Fundraising

by Henry J. M. Nouwen

Christian leaders often feel uneasy about asking others for money. Rather than viewing fundraising as a necessary but unpleasant task in supporting spiritual endeavors, Henri Nouwen asserts that fundraising is a ministry. The question that Christians must explore is their relationship with money and whether they find security in God or their possessions.

Rising Strong

by Brene Brown

Rising Strong

by Brene Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.