Church Health Books

Dr. Sam Warren

far more consulting began with a deep passion for the local church

church health books

Walk into any bookstore today or log onto your favorite online resource website and you will not have any trouble tracking down books that claim to know the way to building a healthy church. The problem is not that these books aren't helpful or that they do not have information that would be useful to any pastor or church leader wanting to do an effective job of leading their church. The problem that really exists might surprise you.

While effective biblical preaching is absolutely critical to the health of the church and being able to build relationships with people that lead them to become fully devoted disciples of Christ is essential, most churches are weak in being able to recognize and navigate the challenges of bringing the gospel into a world that is very different than the world of our forefathers.

The books listed below will stretch your thinking when it comes to what it will require of the church as it seeks to reach a lost world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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Lincoln on leadership

Lincoln on Leadership is the first book to examine Abraham Lincoln's diverse leadership abilities and how they can be applied to today's complex world.

You think you have it rough?


Only ten days before Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861, the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union, taking all Federal agencies, forts, and arenas within their territory. To make matters worse, Lincoln, who was elected by a minority of the popular vote, was thought of by his own advisors as nothing more than a gawky second-rate country lawyer with no leadership experience.

What Lincoln did to become our most honored and revered president is history; now his wisdom and leadership philosophy can help you run your business. In Lincoln on Leadership you'll discover why you should:


  • Seize the initiative and never relinquish it.
  • Wage only one war at a time.
  • Avoid issuing order and instead request, imply, or make suggestions.
  • Once in a while, let things slip, unbeknownst-like
  • ... and much much more.

the worlds of the preacher

Building on Haddon Robinson's philosophical approach to preaching, this book brings together accomplished evangelical preachers and teachers to help students and pastors understand the worlds--biblical, cultural, and personal--that influence and impact their preaching. The contributors explore the various inner and outer worlds in which a preacher functions with the goal of helping preachers sharpen their craft. Foreword by Bryan Chapell.

4 Chair Discipling

Dann Spader is a disciple-maker who has spent his adult life exploring what it means to take someone from being a seeker to making disciples themselves. Over 750,000 people in 80 countries have been trained to make disciples through organizations he has led. Through studying the life of Christ and His disciple-making methods, Dann developed 4 Chair Discipling, a simple picture for others to follow. Jesus’ last words on earth had a few very specific instructions: Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.
But what does that mean for us today? Well, it’s not easy. But it is simple. Teacher and leader Dann Spader explains disciple-making as a process of moving people through four chairs, from someone seeking to know more about Christ to someone who makes disciples themselves.

Chair 1: Come and See (John 1:39)

Chair 2: Follow Me (John 1:43)

Chair 3: Become a Fisher of Men (Matthew 4:19)

Chair 4: Go and Bear Fruit (John 15:16)

In the process of His four-year ministry, Jesus realized that different people are at different stages of growth and development, and He works to challenge each of them to the next level. In 4 Chair Discipling, you’ll get a clear and simple picture of how to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and do the same thing.

canoeing the mountains

Explorers Lewis and Clark had to adapt. While they had prepared to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, instead they found themselves in the Rocky Mountains. You too may feel that you are leading in a cultural context you were not expecting. You may even feel that your training holds you back more often than it carries you along. Drawing from his extensive experience as a pastor and consultant, Tod Bolsinger brings decades of expertise in guiding churches and organizations through uncharted territory. He offers a combination of illuminating insights and practical tools to help you reimagine what effective leadership looks like in our rapidly changing world. If you're going to scale the mountains of ministry, you need to leave behind canoes and find new navigational tools. Now expanded with a study guide, this book will set you on the right course to lead with confidence and courage.

Real-Life discipleship

Real-Life Discipleship explains what should happen in the life of every Christian and in every small group so that the church becomes an army of believers dedicated to seeing the world saved. With the overriding goal to train disciples who know how to make more disciples, this book offers proven tools and strategies from Real Life Ministries, one of America's fastest-growing churches. Discover what the Bible says about true and effective discipleship with these strategies and practices.

how to pick up a stripper

The starting and ending points for all outreach have to be love. The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is through kindness outreach―showing God’s love in practical ways. This type of outreach is what Jesus modeled, is culturally relevant, and values people. The goal should be to invite people to take the next step from where they are.

Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. The church’s most radical kindness project is Nashville Strip Church, founded by Erin Stevens. Erin’s life changed when God told her to “go feed the strippers.” With home-cooked meals and gift bags, Erin shows dancers that God loves them. How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness includes the story of a dancer who has come to know Christ, left the strip club industry through Erin’s ministry, and is now serving with Erin to reach other strippers.

From feeding the homeless to Easter egg hunts for special needs children, to ministering in a strip club, How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness provides exciting ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways.

Features include:


  • Stories from kindness outreach events, including Strip Church
  • Ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways
  • Inspiration to step out of your comfort zone to serve people

new thinking, new future

“The way leaders think matters—it matters a lot. The problem is that we almost universally make a colossal subconscious assumption that the way we think is the only possible way to consider our situations.… It’s like our minds are running antiquated software that’s slow, glitchy, and unproductive—but it’s all we’ve ever known. We need to upgrade the software in our heads!”—Sam Chand
With candor, humor, and personal stories, Sam peels back the layers of our assumptions to challenge us to think more deeply, more clearly, and more productively than ever before. He addresses fundamental topics all leaders instinctively address, including security, location, ownership, team, growth, and benchmarks of success. And he provides questions that leaders can ask themselves to develop New Thinking for a New Future.

the unstuck church

Acclaimed church leader, blogger, founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan unpacks the lifecycle of a typical church, identifies characteristics of each phase, and provides practical next steps a church can take to move towards sustained health.

Think about your church for a moment. Is it growing? Is it diminishing? Is it somewhere in between? Acclaimed church leader, blogger, and founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan has identified the seven stages of a church's lifecycle that range from the hopeful and optimistic days of launch, to the stagnating last stages of life support.

Regardless of the stage in which you find your church, it carries with it the world's greatest mission—to "go and make disciples of all the nations . . ." With eternity at stake the Church should be doing most everything within its power to see lives changed forever. The Church should strive for the pinnacle of the lifecycle, where they are continually making new disciples and experiencing what Morgan refers to as "sustained health."

In The Unstuck Church, Morgan unpacks each phase of the church lifecycle, and offers specific and strategic next steps the church leader can take to find it's way to sustained health . . . and finally become unstuck.

The Unstuck Church is a call for honest an assessment of where your church sits on the lifecycle, and a challenge to move beyond it.

who stole my church

Has your church been stolen out from under you?

A storm hits a small New England town late one evening, but the pelting rain can’t keep a small group of church members from gathering to discuss issues that lately have been brewing beneath the surface of their congregation. They could see their church was changing. The choir had been replaced by a fl ashy “praise band.” The youth no longer dressed in their “Sunday best.” The beautiful pipe organ sat unused. How will this group overcome a deepening rift in their fellowship and nourish the relationship between the young and old? Can their church survive or even thrive?

Who Stole My Church? is a fictional story that tells the all too real tale of many church communities today. In this book you can walk alongside an imaginary community, led by real life pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife, Gail, and discover how to meet the needs of all believers without abandoning the dreams and desires of any.

going deep

Jump into the Deep End. What is a deep person? If you'd like to become one, would you know how? Would you like to help others become deep? If so, you have come to the right place. In this fascinating book, best-selling author Gordon MacDonald discovers that his small New England church could be headed for trouble. Why? Because of a serious shortage.

There are plenty of good people, well-meaning people, sincere people-but not enough deep people. In his celebrated and engaging style, Gordon transports you back to the fictional setting from his critically acclaimed book, Who Stole My Church? He identifies the crucial missing component in his community: people of true depth, people of real influence. And he offers unforgettable insights on how to cultivate spiritual maturity and exhibit life-altering faith.

As it turns out in Gordon's town-and probably yours what's needed is people who are willing to seek Christ passionately with a hunger to go deep. This may be exactly what you've been looking for.

Leading at the edge

Drawing on the amazing story of a polar exploration team’s survival against all odds, author Dennis N. T. Perkins demonstrates the importance of a strong leader in times of adversity, uncertainty, and change. Part adventure tale and part leadership guide, Leading at the Edge uncovers what the legendary Antarctic adventure of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of twenty-seven polar explorers can teach us about bringing order to chaos through true leadership.

Among other skills, you’ll learn how to instill optimism while staying grounded in reality, step up to risks worth taking, consistently reinforce your team message, set a personal example, find things to celebrate, laugh small things off, and--even in the face of extreme temperatures, hazardous ice, dwindling food, and complete isolation--never give up.

The book’s second edition features additional lessons, new case studies of the strategies in action, tools to uncover and resolve conflicts, and expanded resources. An updated epilogue compares the leadership styles of the famous polar explorers Shackleton, Amundsen, and Scott, which transcend the one-hundred-plus years since their historic race to the South Pole to help today’s leaders learn valuable lessons about the meaning of true success.

surprised by hope

In this groundbreaking book—available in paperback for the first time—renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright argues that Christians have not distorted the Bible’s message about heaven and what happens after we die.

For years, Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.

Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian’s future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright asserts that Christianity’s most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection, and provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, it will come as a great surprise to learn that heaven comes to earth instead of us going to heaven.

Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation—and if this has already begun in Jesus’s resurrection—the church cannot stop at "saving souls" but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God’s kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.