20 Resources for Effective Church Leadership Training

Leadership is more than just influence. It’s about building up those around you and equipping leaders to succeed in their ministry areas. Whether you are a new leader or have been leading for years, there are always opportunities to grow and improve. Today, there’s an abundance of leadership training resources available—including many free ones—from some of the most influential ministry leaders out there.

It’s time to level up your church leadership! In this blog post, we’ll cover a collection of training materials focused on leadership development, from podcasts to coaching, to help church leaders gain the skills and confidence they need for their calling.

What does effective church leadership look like?

Wondering what makes a great church leader? Let’s break it down: effective church leaders need to communicate effectively, share their vision for the church,address the needs and concerns of their congregation and have an intentional plan for leading their church. 

Part of that plan should include financial planning for their ministry. But sticking to free resources for developing leaders in your church may be tempting—after all, you have access to millions of free blogs, podcasts, and videos on church leadership. But this is a vital process and should be a line item in your church budget! Investing in quality Christian leadership training and development is key to creating a thriving church community. That’s why we’d encourage you to set aside some budget for this purpose right from the start. When done right, the ROI will be worth it. You’ll see improved morale, better communication, and, ultimately, growth in your church community.

What is the purpose of church leadership?

The church leadership team is an essential part of your church community. They help foster meaningful relationships and growth among a church’s members and provide essential guidance and structure that keep their congregation connected and focused on serving God.

Pastors and Christian leaders must have vision, courage, and wisdom to make decisions that align with the church’s mission. They also need patience and discernment to know when to lead from behind and when it’s time to act. With their role in guiding the congregation towards godliness, good leaders provide an example for others to follow—becoming responsible for themselves and extending care to those around them.

Strong leadership can create a culture of trust among members; people know they can count on their leaders for spiritual direction and emotional support. Members feel their faith is valued by having someone who understands their struggles and needs—someone who listens generously, prays faithfully, and advises wisely. When there’s trust between leader and follower, it creates an environment where learning can flourish, and churches can grow spiritually.

At its core, church leadership inspires fellow believers through example rather than simply maintaining order or presenting details. By being accessible yet authoritative, compassionate yet decisive, and wise without being arrogant, true leadership leads a church community in grace-filled ways. This passionate stewardship builds unity among those within the church walls, extending outwards into their local communities with great impact!

How do you build church leadership?

A church can achieve great things when the people in leadership are committed to the cause and devoted to making a positive impact. But how do you recognize a potential leader and build their leadership skills within your church? 

Building church leadership begins with assessing the church’s current state of leadership and examining its mission, vision, and values to see if they align with its objectives and desired culture. 

After assessing the church’s current leadership, church leaders can set clear goals and objectives for building leadership within your church. Then, decide how to best develop church leaders using the assessment as your guide. This could involve investing in professional leadership trainings like books, blogs, and coaching. We’ll cover some of the best resources later in this post.

As you make these changes to build up your leadership team, encourage communication between all levels of your team. This helps keep everyone on track toward achieving their goals while allowing creativity and innovation from each party involved with the project at hand!

By following these steps and understanding that developing strong leaders takes time—not just effort—you can cultivate an environment that encourages growth and creativity and ultimately leads to success! Develop leaders strategically within your church, and be intentional about helping them grow. 

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Types of Leadership Training Materials for Churches

Navigating leadership training resources in 2023 can be overwhelming. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to begin! But don’t worry–whether you’re looking for something to foster spiritual growth, increase engagement, or create a positive atmosphere within your church, there’s an abundance of free resources available. From podcasts and videos to assessments and books, these are some of the top picks from today’s most effective ministry leaders:


There are a lot of leadership blogs out there, especially in the church world. From experienced pastors to cutting-edge strategists, there’s something for everyone. And best of all? They’re just a few clicks away! 

Open Network from Life.Church: Life.Church has a hub of resources to equip and inspire church leaders. Drawing from more than two decades of ministry, their team knows which tools you’ll need to succeed and grow.

The Harvard Business Review: The longstanding and reliable magazine offers insight for effectively managing people and organizations. It offers a range of wisdom from the business world, giving you a different perspective than inside the Church.

The Unstuck Group: Tony Morgan and The Unstuck Group share blogs full of practical advice on creating multisite churches, volunteer development, and breaking growth barriers.

The Pushpay Blog: Okay, okay, we’re biased, but our blogs are written with pastors and church leaders just like you in mind, with insights from pastors, thought leaders, and Pushpay team members. You’ll find helpful advice for every step of your church leadership journey here.


Crack open a book (or two)! Whether you prefer physical copies with the classic ink and paper, scrolling through eBook pages, or listening to the audio version, plenty of books are out there to help you grow. From classics to modern bestsellers, you’ll be sure to discover something new and valuable that can help you grow as a leader.

The Servant Leader by James Autry: James reveals the servant leader’s tools, skills, and ideals that’ll transform how business is done. By following his method, readers are able to create a stronger church, and a more meaningful life.

The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren: Rick’s book lays out a five step plan for leaders to achieve their God-given purposes and build a thriving church: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. He also shares how those five steps can create a healthy church culture and ensure lasting growth. Rick writes, “If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church.”

Start with Why by Simon Sinek: This book shows that the leaders who have had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way; it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. It all starts with why.

The Resilient Pastor, by Glenn Packiam: Drawing on research from the Barna Group, Glenn reflects on wisdom from the Scripture and church history to discuss how to lead in these modern times, with so many changes happening in culture and Christianity.

The Way of the Warrior, by Erwin Raphael McManus: Erwin McManus inspires readers of this book to find inspiration and strength to become fierce faith warriors. By digging into Biblical stories, his teachings arm readers with the strength and courage to battle life’s challenges head-on.


With thousands of free videos, you can learn more about leading your church, exploring new ideas, and staying up to date with the latest trends in ministry. So whether you’re looking for a crash course or an in-depth analysis, YouTube has it all!

TED Talks: The TED Talks YouTube channel has over 200 talks from TED Conferences. From talks on tech to leadership, you’ll find plenty of inspiring leadership insights.

Maxwell Leadership: The YouTube channel helps grow leaders worldwide with practical leadership principles.


Whether you want to learn more about church leadership topics, gain insight into ministry, or get tips and strategies for conflict resolution — there’s a podcast for that! Here are some of our favorite podcasts for growing leaders. Tune in and join the conversation with some of the leading experts. 

Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast: William Vanderbloemen brings together his years of ministry experience and business experience for a podcast full of advice on church staffing, leadership, and team-building to help you bolster your church leaders and build a strong team. 

Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast: Hosted by church consultant and coach Carey Nieuwhof, this podcast offers insight from people who lead extraordinarily well—like Seth Godin, Adam Grant, Simon Sinek, Craig Groeschel, and Francis Chan. The episodes cover a range of topics designed for leaders, from conflict resolution to the latest modern church trends.

Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast: Craig Groeschel, pastor of Life.Church and author, uses his podcast and guests to empower listeners to grow personally and grow their church.

Pushpay’s Moving Mountains Podcast: Hosted by church technology solutions company Pushpay, each podcast episode is real talk from church leaders about overcoming challenges and growing their ministries, covering topics like technology tips and growth strategies.

Coaching and Courses

Coaches offer invaluable wisdom and guidance to help you build your strengths and tackle challenges as a church leader. Whether it’s in one-on-one sessions or a course, a coach can offer fresh perspectives to objectively evaluate your current situation, giving you tailored solutions. 

Pete Briscoe: After pastoring a megachurch for over 30 years, Pete Briscoe now pours into other pastors and leaders, helping them sharpen their skills, fix common mistakes, and create a path forward.

Church Fuel: This professional development community helps church leaders strengthen the daily business of their church and embrace the roots of your calling. They have a collection of courses and coaching that leaders can put to use right away.


Personality assessments help leaders gain insight into their leadership style and the personalities of those they lead. With this knowledge, leaders can more effectively bring out the best in everyone and maximize productivity and collaboration.

StrengthsFinder: The StrengthsFinder test reveals an individual’s five greatest strengths, which can be used to maximize church productivity and leadership. It can help church leaders identify their strengths and those of their staff.

Leadership360: Leadership 360 is a church leader assessment tool that helps church leaders improve by providing feedback from church staff, church members, and other church leaders. It provides an in-depth look at church leadership through self-assessment, church leader assessment, and church member feedback.

Build strong leadership with Pushpay

Leadership is key for any organization to succeed, including churches. From leading services to team-building and fundraising, strong leadership provides a foundation for a strong and vibrant church. Pushpay is proud to provide an all-in-one church management software designed specifically with the needs of church leaders in mind.

With comprehensive data tracking, resources, and analytics, ChurchStaq makes it easier for leaders to engage with their community and equips leaders with the tools they need to build a thriving ministry. Tour our digital product suite today and discover why it’s the simplest solution for leaders looking to know, grow, and keep their people.


Interested in more resources like this one? Check out these blogs!
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