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Leaders Who Want to Last By David Sanford

Christian Leadership AllianceDiscover the 8 books for Christian leaders who want to last!

by David Sanford ~

 Every Christian leader who still wants to be in ministry five years from now needs to carefully read eight books. All eight have been game-changers for me.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute (Berrett-Koehler). This international mainstream best-seller applies what turns out to be the Golden Rule and a few other biblical principles to daily life including marriage, family, work, and ministry. Foundational truth of this book: We all have blindspots. By definition, we can’t identify, let alone address, our own blind spots. Instead, we need to invite a few respected, trusted individuals to speak into our lives with love and truth about each blind spot, weakness, and failing.

Leadership Above the Line by Sarah Sumner (Tyndale House). On the back cover I’m quoted saying: “If you lead leaders, push other books aside—and make this the next one you read. Leadership Above the Line is 60 percent story, 100 percent breakthrough insights on leadership formation. Dr. Sarah Sumner’s character-based model is clear, her story is compelling, and her application tools are transformational. Highly recommended!”

The Ascent of a Leader:How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence (Jossey-Bass) by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and Ken McElrath. This best-seller redefined what it means to climb to the top of the ladder. The authors forcefully argue against the traditional leadership ladder and, in its place, present a compelling, biblical, and counterintuitive character-based ladder developed in the context of relationships of respect and trust.

TrueFaced: Trust God and Others with Who You Really Are by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and John Lynch (NavPress). Building on their best-selling breakthrough work, the authors emphasize the pivotal role of trust. Without trust, they argue, we effectively shut out God and others from speaking into our lives—speaking into our character development and destiny.

Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer (ATD). Using personal stories and anecdotes, business and nonprofit consultant Bill Treasurer presents the big ideas behind open door leadership. It’s the responsibility of true leaders to notice, identify, and create opportunities for others. If I could put one book in the hands of every Christian leader mentoring a younger leader, this is it.

Free to Disagree: Moving Beyond the Arguments Over Christian Liberty by John Wecks (Kregel Publications). I sometimes jokingly say this book should be titled, Free to Disagree Agreeably. I recommend reading this book together with…

One Lord One Faith by Rex Koivisto (Baker Book House; Wipf & Stock). This book differentiates between what the author calls “the core of orthodoxy” over against secondary and tertiary points of doctrine and practice.

Finally, every Christian leader in it for the long-haul needs to read…

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Conflict by Ken Sande (Baker Books). When Ken Sande speaks, I listen. He’s an attorney, a pastor by heart, and a careful Bible teacher. In this landmark volume, Sande says that conflict consistently presents Christian leaders with the opportunity to demonstrate the presence and power of God at work among us. Definitely a must-read.


David Sanford coaches leaders passionate about demonstrating the relevance of Jesus Christ in every major sphere of life. His book and Bible projects have been published by Doubleday, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and Zondervan. His speaking engagements have ranged everywhere from UC Berkeley to The Billy Graham Center at the Cove. 

Leaders are readers and they are also individuals who seek out the resources they need to grow!  Christian Leadership Alliance presents a personal and unique opportunity for you to find a wise guide. That uniquely qualified person who can take you from where are to where you long to be. The 1:1 Outcomes Mentoring experience may be exactly what you need to radically advance your leadership impact.


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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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