Faithful Leaders: and the Things That Matter Most by Rico Tice. The Good Book Company. 88 pages. 2021
In the “Foreword” for this book, Alistair Begg writes that he has come to understand that Christian leadership does not come naturally, and never becomes easy. He also states that the church does not progress beyond the spiritual progress of its leaders.
The author, a pastor in central London, tells us that our measure of success or failure will be what God says to us the day we die. It will either be “You fool”, or “Well done, good and faithful servant”. He writes that success is hearing “Well done” from the only lips that matter. Failure is being successful at things that don’t truly matter at all. This book is about what it takes to live so that we hear “Well done” instead of “You fool”. He wants us to live every day in a way that means that on that future day you’ll hear the divine “Well done”. To do that we must do two things:
- Get the word right
- Get our character right
The author tells us that we are to cut the word straight, so that people can see it clearly and simply. We do not want people to leave our sermons saying how clever or eloquent we are but how great Christ is. He encourages leaders to make sure your character matches up with your teaching.
The author tells us that you cannot lead others well if you cannot lead yourself well. Find a failure of pastoral leadership and, if you look underneath, you’ll see a failure of self-leadership. Self-leadership is essential, but it is not easy—and so being willing to listen and to be held accountable is key. He tells us that we need friends with whom we commit to confidentiality, intimacy and accountability.
The author tells us that the choice that everyone in Christian leadership must make is the choice between leading like Jesus, by pursuing Jesus-like greatness, and leading like the world, by pursuing what the world defines as greatness. Will your leadership be marked by self-seeking or self-sacrifice? True greatness shows itself in humble service. When you lead by serving, you get to be like Jesus. If you want people to follow you, to keep following you, and to be glad years later that they chose to follow you, then show them Christ in the way you lead them.
Among the topics the author addresses in this short book are false teaching, sin (using the story of Achan in Joshua 7), rest, accountability, being a servant leader (using Mark 10: 35-45) and listening.
This is a book for anyone in any kind of church leadership, though it will probably be most helpful to preaching pastors. Helpful questions for reflection or discussion, if reading with others, are included at the end of the book.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Some of us are very good at hiding our sin from others and even from ourselves, but he sees it all, and to him we must give an account.
- Your sin may be a private thing to you but it is not private to God, and it affects your family and your whole church.
- You will treasure the gospel to the degree that you remember its truths and to the degree that you see your sin.
- If we want to seek true greatness, then it is expressed in service.
- Christian leaders are called to be servants, not bosses.
- Our attitude towards leadership will always show itself in the way we treat those who can do little for us.