Warren books most popular with pastors: Younger clergy less likely to be influenced

June 28, 2005

Best-selling author Rick Warren’s books are the most popular overall among Protestant pastors, but younger clergy are less likely to be influenced by them, a Barna Group survey shows.

A nationwide survey of senior pastors by the California-based research firm found that of some 200 books that were deemed helpful to them in the past three years, only nine books were mentioned by at least 2 percent of pastors.

One out of every five senior pastors said Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was the most helpful book, with the California mega-church pastor’s earlier book, The Purpose Driven Church, cited as the next most popular book.

Among the seven other books mentioned by at least 2 percent of the 614 pastors surveyed by telephone last December were What’s So Amazing About Grace, by Philip Yancey; Courageous Leadership, by Bill Hybels; and 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John Maxwell.

The Purpose Driven Life was twice as popular among pastors born during the baby boom (1946-1964) than it was among pastors ages 40 and younger. Pastors in their mid-50s and older were less likely than the younger pastors to prefer leadership books. Books on prayer were popular among pastors under the age of 40, according to the Barna Group. –Religion News Service