Leaders Who Last
By: Dave Kraft
From the front cover: ONLY 30% of leaders last (p.20)
My question has nothing to do with the title of this book: What percentage of said 30% of leaders who last truly last after all? Taking into consideration that I count Bible Study leaders and other ministries’ leaders in a local church as “leaders”, I’m sure the statistic is much lower than 30%. I’m not contradicting what the author wrote in Chapter 6, which was written primarily for leaders who are called to full-time vocational Christian ministry (p. 77).
There are twelve chapters in this book: five are on “Foundations”, four are on “Formation”, and three are on “Fruitfulness”. I highly recommend those who serve as leaders to read all twelve chapters. I will write one chapter review from each section that I believe most leaders fail to recognize.
Part I: Foundations
Chapter 3: The Leader’s Passion
Passion is a God thing, not a personality thing. The Lord wants all of his leaders to be so in love with him, so excited about his purpose for their lives, that a deep, heartfelt passion results (p. 53). Dave Kraft reminds us again to keep in mind that passion is a God thing—something that the Holy Spirit of God creates in our hearts as a result of our “deep convictions about who he is and who we are in him” (p. 53).
The word “passion” has become just as numb as “God bless America”. Leaders often speak of passion, but show no mark that he is “so in love with [Him]” (p. 53). A leader can’t love Christ’s people unless he is so in love with Christ first.
Many leaders today have no “deep convictions about who he is and who we are in him” (p. 53). Please allow me to break this down to you, starting with the first half: “deep convictions about who he is”. I’m not a leader at my local church; my family and I attend, but I do talk with many of those who serve in leadership positions. I hardly hear them talk about Jesus when they gather together for a conversation. Here is the second half: “who we are in him”. This, in our theological language, is called “our union with Christ.” I’m not surprised that many leaders have no understanding of “our union with Christ.” Many leaders walked away from leadership positions when trials arose because they lacked the understanding of their union with Him.
Part II: Formation
Chapter 7: The Leader’s Gift
“Many are in leadership roles that they are not gifted to fulfill. They struggle greatly and bear little fruit, and they often quit or are removed.” (p. 90)
When a leader is not gifted, he is not able to “shepherd, develop, equip, and empower those being led” (p. 88). Many church committees nominate and put many candidates in leadership positions just to see them quit or removed a few months later.
In my humble, personal opinion, only a gifted leader can perform the aforementioned functions. This leader would train and raise up more leaders for his church. I’m afraid many churches will end up with many Rehoboams leading future generations.
Part III: Fruitfulness
Chapter 11: The Leader’s Influence
“Be careful with whom you spend the bulk of your time. A leader influences many by investing in a few and letting those few influence the rest” (p. 128). Paul says that he didn’t merely give the gospel, but his own life as well, because they had become dear to him (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Leaders have their greatest influence by being up close and personal (p. 129).
Be careful because many leaders have a habit of getting together with a few just to catch up on their sports teams’ current scores. Giving your life to others not only involves spending time, but also the willingness to invest financially in those whom we lead. I buy books and Study Bibles for those whom I teach (not lead, because I’m not a leader at my church), and share with them that they need to do the same for those whom the Lord will call them to lead.
I weep for those who enter into leadership positions just thinking about doing this or that and not taking leadership seriously as if they were going into battle. In order for a leader to go into this battlefield, he must read books such as this one to equip himself to lead and serve those whom the Lord calls him to lead and serve for His glory.