What? Another book on leadership? Yes it is, but Designed to Lead (The Church and Leadership Development) has a different take on the subject. As the subtitle suggests, Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck’s 2016 book focuses on the place of the local church in developing leaders for the whole wide world.
Think about it: If leaders for every area of society need to be men and women of integrity, men and women of emotional intelligence, selfless men and women of conviction, compassion and empathy, who better to train them than their congregation’s senior leaders?
I stumbled on this a few decades ago but never embraced it as Geiger and Peck have. I created a vigorous ministry within my congregation for equipping people for Christian ministry (including the Christian ministry of leadership). Accidentally, I found that the growth within individuals we were seeing was not just blessing our church: it was blessing other spheres of life that our people were involved in.
Ironically, there were folks whose growth in management and leadership skills led to promotions in the workplace that forced them to reduce their volunteer commitment in our congregation! This is exactly the kind of results which our authors are aiming for: Churches blessing the world with their “blessed product,” mature Christian leaders.
Specifically, Geiger and Peck insist that it’s not enough to have a conviction regarding leadership development, to create a culture for leadership development or to have constructs (programs) for leadership development. All three are needed.
Either of the two without the other will result in frustration and failure and the authors warn that the process of creating all three in a congregation may take some serious time.
I appreciate their candor. Creating servant leaders who can guide a congregation or a corporation into the future with selfless devotion and real concern for their followers is not an overnight project.
I was probably typical of many readers of Designed to Lead in that I couldn’t wait for the authors to get to the constructs, the programs, the magic-bullet solutions which will automatically kick out dynamos for Christ. But the book wasn’t constructed that way, because the process doesn’t work that way.
The authors, in fact, want their readers to think of leadership development as a natural extension of a process for making disciples, as opposed to being a separate, stand-alone program. In this sense, the book is a natural follow up for Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger’s deservedly famous Simple Church.
If the simple church has a simple process for creating mature followers of Christ, Designed to Lead advocates the creation of a culture and some simple (of course) constructs for helping believers become adept at the ministry of leadership.
There are more great contributions in this book I can only point you to:
- “…above all other requirements for Christian leadership, one attribute stands apart from the rest: Men and women that lead in God’s kingdom must be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.”
- “…people grow when godly leaders apply the truth of God to their hearts while they are in a teachable posture…Leaders are developed as knowledge (truth), experiences (posture) and coaching (leaders) converge.”
- The material on leadership pipelines and leadership pathways in chapter eight is invaluable and has applications far beyond the local church.
If you want your church to bless the world with Christ-honoring leaders, you will be blessed by Designed to Lead.