Recommended Reading List for Communications Pastors

Recommended Reading List for Communications Pastors

As a communications director, your job is essentially to bridge the gap between the world of marketing and the world of ministry. To some in the church, that may sound like an impossible (or undesirable) task. But the reality is that good marketing empowers churches to better:

  • Communicate who they are
  • Execute their mission and vision through the media they create

You ensure that no effort or asset is wasted and that everything your church does is intentionally supporting and contributing to your church’s game plan.

We’ve picked out five books every communications pastor should read. Most of these came highly recommended from people who currently work in church communications. Enjoy!

Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Author: Donald Miller

Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership

Publishing date: 2017

About the book:

Over the last two decades, New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller has demonstrated his knack for storytelling. He made a name for himself writing thoughtful essays about faith and life, but more recently he’s focused his talent on organizations, helping businesses, nonprofits, churches, and leaders learn to tell their own stories.

Building a Story Brand breaks down how the seven universal elements of powerful stories help you connect with the people you’re trying to reach. Miller shows you how to tell your story in ways that resonate with people, how to simplify your message, and how to actually create messaging for your website, brochures, and social media.

About the author:

Donald Miller is the author of several books, including the NYT bestsellers, Scary Close, Blue Like Jazz, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He’s the founder of The Mentoring Project (a nonprofit that connects kids with mentors) and the founder of Storybrand, where he has helped more than 3,000 businesses tell better stories.

Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do

Author: Paul David Tripp

Publisher: Crossway

Publishing date: 2015

About the book:

Our hearts are always captured by something―that’s how God made us. But sin threatens to distract us from the glory of our Creator. All too often, we stand in awe of everything but God.

Uncovering the lies we believe about all the earthly things that promise us peace, life, and contentment, Paul Tripp redirects our gaze to God’s awe-inducing glory―showing how such a vision has the potential to impact our every thought, word, and deed.

About the author:

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, event speaker, and a best-selling and award-winning author. With more than 30 books and video series on Christian living, his passion is to connect the power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.

Dr. Tripp has planted a church, founded a Christian school, wrote worship songs, and toured with a Christian band. He was a faculty member at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) for many years, a lecturer in Biblical Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary, a Visiting Professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a pastor at Tenth Presbyterian Church. He founded Paul Tripp Ministries in 2006.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Author: Seth Godin

Publisher: Portfolio

Publishing date: 2018

About the book:

Seth Godin has long been hailed as one of the go-to gurus in marketing. This book asks readers to rethink what marketing is, challenging them to see how marketing truly relies on empathy, connection, and emotional labor―not spammy ads and manipulative messages.

For the communications pastor, This Is Marketing will change the way you present your church to your community and help you better connect with the people God has called you to reach.

About the author:

Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work and have been translated into 38 languages, including Purple Cow, Tribes, Linchpin, and All Marketers Are Liars.

Godin writes the most popular marketing blog in the world and speaks to audiences across the globe. He is the founder of the altMBA, the founder and former CEO of Squidoo.com, the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, and the founder of the pioneering online startup Yoyodyne.

Fun fact: Seth Godin was a keynote speaker at Summit in 2018. You can watch his session here.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Author: Ann Handley

Publisher: Wiley

Publishing date: 2014

About the book:

If you have a church website, you’re a publisher. If you’re on social media, you’re in marketing. And that means that you’re relying on your words to carry your marketing messages. You’re a writer.

Our writing can make us look smart or it can make us look stupid. It can make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it can also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring.

That means you have to choose words well, and write with economy, style, and honest empathy for your church members. And it means you put a new value on an often-overlooked skill in content marketing: How to write, and how to tell a true story really, really well.

In Everybody Writes, marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

About the author:

Forbes has called Ann Handley the most influential woman in social media, and ForbesWoman has recognized her as one of the top 20 women bloggers. She’s the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company with the largest community of marketers in its category. She is a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules.

Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

Author: Scott Harrison

Publisher: Currency

Publishing date: 2018

About the book:

In Thirst, Harrison recounts the twists and turns that built charity: water into one of the most trusted and admired nonprofits in the world. Renowned for its 100 percent donation model, bold storytelling, imaginative branding, and radical commitment to transparency, charity: water has disrupted how social entrepreneurs work while inspiring millions of people to join its mission of bringing clean water to everyone on the planet within our lifetime.

In the tradition of such bestselling books as Shoe Dog and Mountains Beyond Mountains, Thirst is a riveting account of how to build a better charity, a better business, a better life—and a gritty tale that proves it’s never too late to make a change.

About the author:

Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity: water, a non-profit that has mobilized over one million donors around the world to fund over 28,000 water projects in 26 countries that will serve more than 8.2 million people. Harrison has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list, Forbes’ Impact 30 list, and was ranked #10 in Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Fun fact: Scott Harrison was a keynote speaker at Summit in 2018. You can watch his session here.

Learn from the best

Books let us tap into some of the best leaders in our fields and learn from their experiences—good and bad. As a church communications pastor, you can take the insights from some of the best communicators in the world and apply them to your church. You can also discover new ways that your church’s mission and vision can express itself through everything you create.

We hope these books empower and inspire you to communicate better with the people God has called you to reach.

Want to get started with a free resource? Communications pastors nationwide have read the free ebook, Content Marketing for Churches. It’s an excellent resource for leaders looking to use communication best practices and expert strategies to help their church reach more people within their communities. Click here to get your copy today.

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson has been a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for nearly a decade. He writes in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and twin boys.