Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Leaders Who Last. By Dave Kraft.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft is a short, helpful book on leadership skills and strategies in a ministry context.

The author serves on the staff of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, under lead pastor Mark Driscoll. According to the foreword, Dave Kraft was able to help Driscoll significantly at certain points of his ministry, serving as his personal "ministry coach." Accordingly, I think his book will also help others who lead in ministry, although probably to a limited extent.

Regardless of what you think of the controversial Mark Driscoll (I happen to admire his ministry) the fact that Kraft served as one of his mentors is impressive: Mars Hill is an world-class behemoth of multi-site church campuses, outreach, mission, church planting, and contemporary strategy.

I approached this book thinking, "If Kraft could help Driscoll during a near burn-out phase, I am sure that he will be able to help me in my small 380-member congregation." He did. To a marginal degree.

While it will probably not become one of the enduring textbooks on leadership any time soon, Leaders Who Last does bring several of the primary facets of leadership to the fore: i.e. power, purpose, passion, priorities, and pacing. In this first major section, Kraft focuses on one's relationship with the Lord, time management (a constant challenge to all in leadership positions)and workday planning. Nothing completely original here, though.

Some of Kraft's guide-points in the latter half of the work are more valuable. For instance, his section on spending time developing future leaders and core staff rather than "draining people" (chapter 11) was helpful to me. Too, Kraft has a wise section on the importance of the pastor communicating his vision for the church (chapter 10) although Kraft does not at any point define what a "vision for the future" might look like, or provide an example of what he means by the term.

The book is filled with helpful nuggets and quotations throughout ("I have never heard of a statue in a park dedicated to a committee," p. 122. "It has been said that if you don't plan your life, someone will plan it for you," p. 136). But somehow I ended the book thinking I would rather have spent time with Dave Kraft the man, rather than Dave Kraft the author.

I am sure his wisdom would have a more profound effect on my own ministry context if I was able take the discussion out of generalities, and into more specifics!

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Fl.

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