One of the central issues of our day is leadership. The decline of morality outside the church and the many scandals inside the Church among Christian leaders have caused many to question the importance and validity of the church. The real issue and one that is rarely considered among these types of issues is leadership. Christian leadership has less to do with being the boss and more about being a servant of others. Jesus served His apostles but He also led them through how He taught, lived and ministered among them. In Jesus we see the personification of what God expects of leadership. The Bible though has much to say about leadership from Moses to the Apostle John and everywhere in-between. Godly leadership that serves others and lifts up the glory of God is the type of leadership God blesses. In his new book Problems Of Christian Leadership the now deceased evangelical statesman John Stott writes about the challenges Christian leaders face and how they can deal with them.
Problems of Christian Leadership came into being from four talks given by Stott in 1985 in Quito, Ecuador, at a conference for the staff of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) in Latin America. The book tackles the problem of discouragement, self-discipline, relationships, youth, and concludes by looking at two Timothy’s.
Chapter two was particularly helpful to me. Here Stott helps his readers understand the importance of rest, of using one’s work time well and having hobbies. When I get working on a particular project I’ve been known to not eat most of the day or even get up until the project is done. While that may not be your style, I’m slowly learning in my 30’s the importance of what Stott says in this chapter—namely to use the time I have for work the best I can and to use my time for rest to actually rest.
Living in a culture that promotes an unhealthy view of work doesn’t help Christians. Yet, the Bible teaches the people of God that they are to take one day in their week for rest and relaxation for the Lord’s Day. One of the reasons that many people become burned out is they never rest. I’ve learned to combat this by making sure I take one day out of the week to rest. During the week I make sure that I stay focused on the tasks that I need to perform but not so focused that I don’t allow for other opportunities to take precedence over God moving me in another direction. Reading chapter two helped remind me of the importance of having a schedule and being disciplined to stick to it. This is especially important for those in ministry who don’t have a schedule but are still expected to produce sermons, or other types of content to help the people of God grow in the grace of God.
All in all—The Problems of Christian Leadership is leadership advice at its best—biblical, theological and practical. Here Stott distills years of leadership knowledge and insight he’s gain from studying and preaching the Bible and leading the people of God as a pastor and ministry leader. While this book is great for the younger leader, I think there is wisdom here for Christian leaders of all stages. The Problems of Christian Leadership is simple without being simplistic, theologically robust, and chalk full of insight from an evangelical statesman. I highly recommend this resource and pray the Lord uses it to help younger and older leaders to face the challenges of leadership by the grace of God.
Author: John Stott
Publisher: Intervarsity Press (2014)
I received this for free from Intervarsity book review program for this review. 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 Sarah Jenkins. 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, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Parler, 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.