5 Resources to Help you Become a Better Leader

Zachary McAlack
March 9th, 2021

1. Learn More About Yourself

There are a seemingly infinite number of personality tests that exist. But before you psychoanalyze why your Disney princess is Elsa and not Ariel, let me suggest a few other personality tests that may help you delve a little deeper into yourself. 

DISC.  Centered on 4 personality traits (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness), DISC focuses on how you tend to lead in groups, how your style can be perceived by others and how to communicate to different personalities. 

Myers-Briggs MBIT. This profile focuses on 4 traits, producing 16 personality profiles, that center around how you perceive the world and make decisions. Use it to learn why you see the world the way you do and how you can maximize the person God has made you to be. 

Enneagram. This ancient personality profile focuses on the core motivations of people centering around 3 emotional triads (Anger, Emotion and Fear) and 3 modes of expression (externalizing, internalizing, dismissing). The enneagram can help to provide you with a picture of emotional health for your profile and point you towards personal growth. 

2. Find A Mentor

I cannot understate the value of having someone who is ahead of you in ministry speaking into your life. My mentor is a senior pastor at another church who I have given the authority to ask me ANYTHING: Personal life, sin struggles, leadership conflicts, anything. In turn, I ask him about his own leadership, how he handles conflicts, how he stays motivated, how he casts vision, how he prepares for the pulpit. Here’s what you are looking for: Someone who has more ministry experience than you and you view as being a “step or two” ahead of you. I strongly advise AGAINST asking your immediate supervisor or report to be this person for you. If possible, find someone outside of your church or ministry so that you can be completely transparent without threat to your ministry. 

Here’s where to find this person:

  • A pastor or elder/deacon from another local church or ministry
  • A Family member who has been in ministry
  • A Professor from College or Seminary
  • A Pastor from your past
  • A regional director or superintendent (if you are part of a denomination that has those)

3. Ask for Peer Review

When I started at my current ministry, I asked a number of my own peers-people who had been involved previously in the church’s student ministry or who worked as counselors, teachers and in other positions where they were in contact with youth-to come to a youth group night and observe. Afterwards we would meet, and I would ask questions like these: 

“Based on what you saw, what do you think I value in ministry?”

“My mission is to connect students to the church; do you see that happening?” 

“Am I communicating in a way that they can understand?” 

“Who is being left out?”

“What am I not seeing?”

This provided an incredible opportunity for me to identify blind spots in my leadership and my teaching. 

4. Read the Classic: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Published for the first time in 1936, this book is a staple for business, sales, marketing and leadership professionals the world over. This book has sold over 30 Million Copies and in 2011 was 19 on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books. In some circles, this book has a bad reputation because of the way that many people have manipulated its teachings. But at its heart, Dale Carnegie explains the way to lead people is to put others and their needs first and then to take deep ownership of yourself. Highlights of this book include how to handle difficult people, how to win people to your way of thinking, and how to be a better conversationalist.

5. Books and Podcasts

First, you should go to the Youth Specialties Store and check out the “Digital Leadership Bundle” and all the other resources there. In addition, here’s a short list of books that have been incredibly insightful for me in recent months. 

Surprising Insights by Thom Rainer. There is a chapter in this book about the habits and patterns of the leaders who lead churches that reach the lost, it is worth the price of the book for that chapter alone. 

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Commander of Navy Seal Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser which served in the Battle of Ramadi, he shares his insights on how to lead which were learned through the literal fires of combat. 

Overcoming the Darkside of Leadership by Gary McIntosh and Samuel D Rima. This book highlights 5 leadership styles and demonstrates how the very impetus that motivates and fuels these styles can overwhelm and, if left unchecked, lead to leadership disaster. 
Deep Work by Cal Newport. A book about how to shut out distractions and get things done.

Rev. Zach McAlack is the Young Adult Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Easton, PA. You can check out my recent doctrine video series 2 Minute Theology at https://calvarybaptistpa.org/2minute.

Zachary McAlack

Zachary McAlack felt called to ministry while serving middle school students when he was 18. He has attended Philadelphia Biblical University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.