Have you ever wondered how to develop leaders in your local church? Maybe you haven’t even thought much about the importance of developing more leaders in your church? Sometimes it can seem like things are going just fine as they are. Why be concerned with developing other leaders when we are perfectly happy with the ones we have? Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck answer all of these questions and more in their newest book, Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development.
Geiger is known well for his work in books like Simple Church and Transformational Groups and is vice president of the resources division at Lifeway in addition to his service as lead pastor ofClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN; Peck is the lead pastor at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX (a church that trains hundreds of leaders a year), in addition to his work as Director for Emerging Regions with the Acts 29 church planting network. To say that these men know leadership and leadership development is an understatement, and in their latest work they place the importance of developing leaders in the local church front and center.
The most important argument and the foundation of everything said in the book is the large statement on the back: “God has designed his people to lead.” Beginning with this premise, the authors argue that the local church is the place and means God himself has designed to develop leaders not only for the church but for the world as well.
The authors note this important fact about discipleship: “The full extent of discipleship is the development of disciples who are able to lead and develop others, not merely people who gather together for worship once a week” (3). The Church is not designed to be a group of people who merely gather to sing songs and hear their leader(s) (singular or few in number) speak and preach. The Church is designed to be what the authors call a “leadership locus”. In other words, the Church is to be a people that develops leaders for what God has called them to, and this is not merely another thing the Church does, but is an integral part of the Church’s great mission of making disciples who make disciples. “God’s people are designed to influence others” (3).
How do the authors propose that the Church develops leaders? After all, most pastors are scrambling to find time for sermon prep and their families, with everything else that falls on their plates, and church members are used to going to the pastor to follow his leadership. How in the world are local churches to develop leaders in addition to everything else they are doing to make disciples? In short, they aren’t supposed to. They aren’t supposed to do it in addition to everything else, that is. They are to develop leaders as an integral part of everything they are already doing to make disciples (and if they aren’t making disciples, then a course correction is needed in the first place to say the least).
Local churches are to develop leaders consistently and intentionally through conviction, culture, and constructs (14). Conviction is meant to be “a God initiated passion that fuels a leader and a church…” (15) to develop leaders as a part of discipleship. “Culture is the shared beliefs and values that drive the behavior of a group of people…” (15), in this case that group of people is the church and those values have to do with developing and multiplying leaders. Then, finally, constructs are “the systems, processes, and programs developed to help develop leaders” (15). In other words, leadership development is something that the Church is all about in terms of what they believe, what they value, and what they do.
As leaders are developed and deployed, the Church grows and the world is impacted with the light of the gospel of Christ. We do this because it’s an integral part of our mission as believers and members of Christ’s body. It is a part of making disciples who make disciples.
Not only do Geiger and Peck give their readers the rationale and general structure for developing leaders, but they also give them some practical “how to” advice. This advice comes in the form of pipelines and pathways. A pipeline is something for a church as a whole. It is a part of their vision and methodology for discipling people and multiplying leaders towards that end. A pathway is an individual’s course towards leadership and development.
Success does not necessarily look like progression up the pathway or pipeline. Rather, success looks like development (197). The goal is not to get every leader to the highest levels of leadership, or even to get every member to serve in a “leadership role”. Rather, the goal is to develop leaders. Sometimes people reach their God given capacity and are rightly content with their place of service as it is what God has called them to. Our goal in the local church is to develop people to serve God in the roles he has called them to. We do this by intentionally thinking about how to develop leaders within the local church, and this occurs as we are intentional about developing a pipeline and a pathway according to biblical convictions, culture, and constructs.
If you’re a leader in the church, this book is a must read. If you care about church leadership, this book is a must read. If you want to learn more about God’s design for leadership, this book is a must read. Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck have written the best leadership book I have read yet, and though I know all things are possible with God, I’m not sure it will ever be topped in terms of what it seeks to prove and accomplish. “God has designed his people to lead!”
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H publishers, as a part of their blogger review program. More information about this program, as well as B&H publishers can be found at bhbloggers.com