Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. B&H Books. 248 pages. 2016
I was attracted to this book based on the subject matter and the fact that I regularly read Eric Geiger’s excellent leadership blog. Geiger writes this book with Kevin Peck, who is the Lead Pastor of the Austin Stone Community Church. The authors state that God has designed his people to lead and that the church should be the epicenter of leadership development as God has designed the church to develop leaders in all spheres of life – the church, workplace, home, community and world. They state that leadership development is obedience to the Great Commission. However the current lack of leadership development among God’s people is what led the authors to write this book.
The authors give us a helpful framework for developing leaders in our churches. This framework includes the following components:
- Conviction. Without conviction, leadership development will not occur.
- Culture. The health of a church’s culture is closely aligned with the health of its leaders. Managing the church culture is a pastoral function. The authors provide a framework of culture attributes. I appreciated the section on leading change, or cultural transformation.
- Constructs. These are the systems, processes, and programs utilized to help develop leaders. This was the “nuts and bolts” section of the book. The authors share leadership competencies which are also transferrable to most leadership positions outside of the church. The authors state that the systems you have in place tell others what is important in your organization. I found the discussion about the leadership pipeline to be helpful. Moving through the pipeline is not about progression but development. A pathway is an individual development plan along the pipeline. Idols to be aware of for leaders are control, approval and comfort.
The authors state that all believers are gifted for ministry. It is the pastor’s job to develop and disciple others, but it is not their job to do all of the ministry, as many believe.
In the church I attend, for example, we have existing leaders mentoring/discipling young men for our church leadership pipeline. But we can be doing much more to develop church members to lead outside of the church. This book can help with that.
A leader carries tremendous responsibilities. Leaders are to make known the glory of God. They are to reflect the glory of God, replicate and cultivate. Leaders are to lead to make much of God, not ourselves. We lead for the glory of God and the good of others. We lead for the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, the authors write that leaders today are not always trusted. The U.S. has a crisis of leadership; we need to redeem leadership and this book is a good step in that direction.
Although I am a leader in my church, my full-time vocation is outside of the church, or what the authors refer to as a societal leader. The authors helpfully emphasize the concepts of stewardship and culture making for societal leaders.
This is a very practical book. The authors use helpful examples from scripture (Moses, Adam, Paul, etc.) to illustrate their points.
I could see a follow-up workbook or workshops based on this material to help church leaders to drive leadership development in their churches. I recommend that pastors read and discuss with their leadership teams.