A few years ago I read and reviewed Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft, a professional ministry coach who helped bring Mark Driscoll through a past crisis of leadership. So grateful was Driscoll that he wrote the foreword to Kraft’s book, including the words:
Pastor Dave Kraft…brought me through a formal coaching process and helped me get my life and ministry in better order. He gave me permission to make some very difficult decisions for the well-being of my family and our church. He wanted me to be one of the leaders who last…Sadly, too few Christian leaders finish well and a combination of grace and wisdom cannot be overvalued. You will find both in this book.
The motivation of Kraft’s book is that “so many leaders are not doing well and are ending up shipwrecked.” He quotes statistics that show only 30% of leaders finish well. Kraft’s premise “is that you can learn how to be a good leader and finish your particular leadership race well.”
Definition of Christian Leadership
There are many good chapters in this book, but two areas stood out for me, the first being Kraft’s definition of Christian leadership:
A Christian leader is a humble, God-dependent, team-playing servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, develop, equip, and empower a specific group of believers to accomplish an agreed-upon vision from God.
The Leader’s Character
The second was Chapter 8: The Leader’s Character, which includes the following challenging quotes:
“The greatest crisis in the world today is a crisis of leadership, and the greatest crisis in leadership is a crisis of character” (Howard Hendricks).
“In many quarters there seems to be a tendency to overlook a lack of character in one’s person and private life in exchange for a high degree of success in one’s professional life.”
“Most leaders focus too much on competence and too little on character.”
“Ninety-nine per cent of leadership failures are failures of character” (General Norman Schwarzkopf)
“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are” (John Wooden).
“The three critical factors for success are: (1) Character in your person (2) Caring in your relationships (3) Competence in your endeavors. But by far the most important is character.”
“Men of genius are admired. Men of wealth are envied. Men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted” (Arthur Friedman).
“Character development is not a short-term project, but a lifelong pursuit.”
The chapter concludes with a list of character traits: Gentleness, Tactfulness, Thankfulness, Trust, Humility, Transparency, Patience, Vulnerability, Compassion, Affirmation, Forgiveness, Dependability, Honesty, Encouragement, Self-control.
Kraft then suggests four ways to use the list, which if we really believed 1 Corinthians 10:12, we’d all get serious about today.
- Rank how you are doing on each descriptive quality. Use a scale from one to five (one being poor, five being excellent)
- Pick one or two areas where you know God wants you to do something in your life.
- Write down what you can and will do to experience growth in that area.
- Choose a person to whom you will make yourself accountable.