Leadership books often in my experience major on self-help and how a team or individual leader can grow in his/her leadership skills as a leader. There is nothing wrong with reading books like this on occasion as long as its kept in mind that that the book is self-help in nature and reflect the opinions of man and not what the Bible teaches. Following from his very helpful book Leaders that Last seasoned Pastor Dave Kraft writes Mistakes Leaders Make to help leaders understand the major mistakes that can seriously harm not only churches but organizations of all kinds and types. These kinds of mistakes end effectiveness, the loss of important relationships and lead to disqualification from ministry.
One of the things I appreciated most about Mistakes Leaders Make is that this book is not just another book on leadership that is theory driven, but that Pastor Kraft actually seeks to apply what he is teaching to his own life and then to the lives of others. In other words, Pastor Kraft doesn’t write just as a theoretician but as a practitioner.
The other aspect of this book, and one that is essential for any distinctively book to be considered Christian in anyway is the fact that Pastor Kraft as with any good Pastor writes to point people to Jesus Christ. Kraft notes quoting Henri Nouwen that, “The main obstacle to loving God is service for God” (21). Kraft explains that this is ministry idolatry the idea of “not agreeing with Jesus that he has the rightful first place in our affections” (21). This is important, because in my own ministry experience, I have often failed in this area—failed to see my need for ongoing repentance and rather trust in my own self-sufficiency. The problem with this idea as I’m convinced and convicted of is that the Christian life from beginning to end is one of repentance—turning away from our sin and to the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Ministry idolatry I’ve learned is a direct affront to the glory of God, and one of the greatest dangers facing ministry leaders, but has at its roots the idea of self-sufficiency which makes it a battle with unbelief.
Kraft continues explaining that in order to guard against ministry idolatry leaders must “guard against ministry becoming a mistress” (22). Rather than being self-sufficient, Kraft urges leaders to realize that “ministry idolatry is an attitude, a mind-set as opposed to an action. It begins with the way I look at things, the way I think” (25). Rather than being focused on what we are doing for God we need to “ask for the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit to take center stage in our lives” (25).
Mistakes Leaders Make is an insightful, helpful and needed book that will help Christian leaders of any organization to finish the race well and leave a legacy that lasts by the grace of God for His glory. This is the kind of book I wish I had in my hands when I was in my twenties, but now thank God for in my thirties as I continue to grow in His grace and learn to lead people towards Jesus. Wherever you are in your Christian life and in leading people, Mistakes Leaders Make is necessary reading for every leader to learn from the success and failures of a man in Pastor Kraft who has been there and done that in his over forty years in ministry.
Author: Dave Kraft
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.