Most churches merely exist.
Many churches do not develop leaders intentionally and consistently. When leaders emerge from some churches, it is often by accident. Something is missing. Something is off.
Authors Eric Geiger (author of bestselling Simple Church and Creature of the Word) and Kevin Peckargue that churches that consistently produce leaders have a strong conviction to develop leaders, a healthy culture for leadership development, and helpful constructs to systematically and intentionally build leaders. All three are essential for leaders to be formed through the ministry of a local church.
From the first recordings of history God has made it clear that He has designed creation to be led by His covenant people. More than that, He has decided what His people are to do with that leadership. Whether you are called to lead your home, in the marketplace, in God’s church, or in your community, if you are called by God you are called to lead others to worship the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
God has designed His people to lead.
- Theological concepts + practical constructs = real ministry impact
Should business management principles be applied in the church? Does the Bible actually speak to leadership development or is that a misappropriation of larger churches with misplaced priorities? These are tensions that have been at the forefront of the church growth conversation for at least the last three decades.
In Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development, Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck address these “big picture” tensions as well as the smaller day-to-day ones by focusing on something much older than the church growth movement—the purpose and mission of the church. This is a book that incorporates the theological as well as the practical in such a concisely comprehensive way, that it seems destined to become a go-to manual for church leaders for years to come.
Geiger and Peck are stubbornly theological, using the Bible as a starting point and not a proof-text reference. Also, they are “high church” in the best was possible: insisting that the church should be the primary leader-producing entity in the world. And not just leaders for vocational ministry, but leaders in every sector of society. The fruit of discipleship in the church should be transformational leaders in the culture—and so culture is transformed for Jesus.
On the “practical” side of the equation—although something tells me the authors would not appreciate “theological” and “practical” being separated—the book is a gift in so many ways. Geiger and Peck synthesize ideas from books that have been very influential for me: Good to Great, Scaling Up Excellence, and Simple Church, the latter also being co-authored by Geiger. I also appreciated insights that I assume were brought to the table by Peck, who is lead pastor at The Austin Stone, a church I follow closely and respect greatly in the area of leadership development.
Designed to Lead follows a logical progression, starting with chapters on “Convictions,” moving to chapters on organizational “Culture,” and finally addressing “Constructs” of leadership development. This layout ensures that readers are developing leaders from a place of biblical conviction in a church culture that won’t be counterproductive. The authors acknowledge the temptation to skip straight to the practical constructs, but of course they advise against this. A wise leader will heed this advice because the journey is important.
I highly recommend this book for church leaders who want to take seriously God’s call to make disciples and equip leaders. This book will make you think, give you the courage to address cultural issues, and move you from theory into the messy trenches of building leaders.
Jim Denison does an outstanding job on the narration of the audiobook version. His voice is perfectly suited for the tone of the book. My one quibble with the audiobook version is it is hard to go back and reference ideas and constructs. After listening I bought a print version of the book that I can highlight and write in, and use for later reference.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- Discipleship Redefined as Christian Leadership
Geiger and Peck have written a much needed book for our time. With "leadership" being such a buzz word in today's culture, the authors seek to clarify what leadership means in light of Scripture. This book is specifically geared towards developing leaders in a church context, and they provide a systematic method of growing leaders. Using the analogy of a pipeline, each potential leader is somewhere on that pipeline and the goal is to move them along to be even more useful for the kingdom. This is not a newly developed system, but it is tried and true. Many books have been written on how to develop Christian leaders, but the major problem comes when we actually get to practice. It sometimes sounds easy to do, but it is often the opposite in practice. And with the guide and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible and a waste of time. They make a great point that the church needs leaders and each local body needs to develop its own leaders. One critique of this work is that the authors present their method as one that works among many others. This is not necessarily bad, but there is not anything distinctly unique to make it a lasting contribution. It is not a collection of timeless principles but rather a practical method of achieving a desired result. The concept is simple: Churches should be developing leaders. There is nothing inherently negative in their approach. In fact, it is thoroughly evangelical and conservative. Yet this book will likely get lost in the mix of the sea of resources written about this subject. The truth is this: There is much talk about developing leaders in the church and very little leg work. This book is about discipleship, plain and simple. At the risk of oversimplification, Christian discipleship is Christian leadership, yet this should be distinguished from Church Government, i. e. eldership. Discipleship applies to all believers while certain disciples lead God's flock. Back to the point, calling the concept in this book "Christian Leadership" may have the appeal of a new concept, but it is really the painstakingly simple process called discipleship repackaged and shipped to a new generation. But maybe that is just what this generation needs.
- Depth and breadth
What a great book in depth and breadth. Love the style of writing as well as the content
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