Designed to Lead

Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, Designed to Lead Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2016, 234 pp. $16.16

The systematic and purposeful development of leaders in the church is sorely lacking. This reality is reinforced in Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. The authors argue at the outset that leaders must be developed in the church context: “The church is designed to lead, designed to disciple leaders who are, by God’s grace, commanded to disciple people in all spheres of life.” Therein lies the central theme of the book.

But make no mistake – Designed to Lead is not your typical leadership book. While the authors do interact with current leadership literature, their primary aim is to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The authors add, “The locus of the Church is and must be Jesus and His finished work for us. The center of the Church must be the gospel; for it is the gospel – His righteousness given to us in exchange for our sin – that created the Church, and it is the gospel that sustains the Church.” So as helpful as leadership theory may be, the real fuel of Designed to Lead is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The book is arranged in three parts. Part one explores conviction. Part two examines culture. And part three explains constructs.

Conviction

The conviction to develop leaders must undergird all of our efforts in the church. An equipped church is a healthy church. Or as the authors write, “Equipping must be viewed as foundational, as fundamental to what it means to actually be called a church.”

Pastors must embrace the paradigm of Ephesians 4:12 and strive to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. They must embrace a mentality of every-member ministry and strive to eliminate the so-called “clergy/laity split.”

Equipping, then, is at the core of every pastor’s calling. Geiger and Peck maintain, “Without a deep-seated conviction to develop leaders, without a passion for equipping – a church will not enjoy the beautiful effect of unity and maturity. A conviction for equipping is essential.”

The authors provide a basic template to help pastors develop their conviction for developing leaders:

  1. Leaders are called to reflect God’s glory
  2. Leaders are called to replicate
  3. Leaders are called to cultivate

The ultimate aim of our leadership development is to “guide others into joyful submission to King Jesus.” Such an approach helps develop leaders in the church who are prepared to impact people in every sphere of life. But none of this will come to pass until we have a deeply entrenched conviction about the importance of leadership development.

Culture

Developing conviction and culture are intertwined to be sure. So the authors argue, “Healthy cultures are conducive for leadership development.” Three layers of church culture are presented, namely, acutal beliefs, articulated beliefs, and artifacts.

Actual beliefsare the stated values of a given church. But actual beliefs are those beliefs that are truly cherished by a congregation.

Articulated beliefs are found in a vision statement or document that spells out what the church treasures.

Artifacts are the “visible, tangible expressions of a church’s actual and articulated beliefs.

These combined elements help make up a church culture. The authors argue that every church culture must be transformed. So churches must be assessed, vision must be cast, and specific goals must be in place for that transformation to take place.

Constructs

“Constructs are the systems, processes, and programs utilized to help develop leaders.” Section three provides readers with the practical tools to help develop leaders in the church. The authors present a framework for transformational leadership to occur. They maintain that “people grow when godly leaders apply the truth of God to their hearts while they are in a teachable posture. Discipleship occurs when truth, posture, and leaders converge.”

Additionally, three leadership components must be in place which includes delivering knowledge, providing experiences, and coaching.

Finally, pipelines must be developed that are directly applied to local congregations. “For a ministry, a leadership pipeline is a visible picture of how leaders can be developed and what their next step in the pipeline is.”

And pathways must be paved for individual sheep in a congregation. This pathway provides a tailor-made plan that helps a leader to fully develop.

Evaluation

Designed to Lead is a well-written and thoroughly researched book. The authors have done their homework and have tapped into top leadership resources. But the real strength of the book is the commitment to biblical discipleship which is grounded in the Great Commission imperative. Designed to Lead is saturated by Scripture and driven by a passion to obey God and help fulfill his kingdom mandate.

One helpful suggestion might be to include some transferable templates for pastors to immediately employ the principles set forth in the book.

Designed to Lead contains a wealth of biblical wisdom by two seasoned leaders who have paid their dues and deserve to be heard by pastors around the country. It is sure to receive a wide readership and help many pastors carry out the vision to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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