Just wrapped up Leaders who Last by Dave Kraft. Well worth the time. Over the past year as I have had friends and collegaues fall out of ministry or quit and as other more well known pastors have quit or fallen out, I have become increasingly concerned with my spiritual, emotional, sexual, relational and mental health. For me, being a pastor is not a job or a hobby. It is a great calling on my life that I want to finish well. I hope to stand before God and hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” When Katie and I started Revolution, our goal was (and still is) to retire from Revolution.
Kraft defines a Christian leader as, “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.”
What he then does in the book is walk through several areas to accomplish this. The point of Christian leadership, like running Kraft says, “Is to finish the race, not just start it.” For me, that was a powerful metaphor. I know so many pastors who seem content to either start the leadership race overall or start the race at the church they are at or planted, but have no plans to finish it.
So, how do you finish well? According to Kraft, you need 3 things:
- Maintaining a vibrant and rich walk with Jesus.
- Having a solid relational network that includes at least one good friend with whom you can bare your soul.
- Making a lasting and God honoring contribution in your areas of passion and gifting.
He covered a variety of topics from spiritual gifts and talents, integrity, boundaries, vision, and developing leaders. The section that I read twice and grabbed me was the chapter on how a leader handles his time.
According to Kraft there are 5 types of people who a pastor/leader can spend time with:
- Resourceful people
- Important people
- Trainable people
- Nice people
- Draining people
The problem for many pastors is that they make “a serious mistake. They spend their time with the wrong people. The nice people are pleasant to be with, and the draining people requested so much time, leaders have little prime time left with for the resourceful and trainable people. None of the latter two make demands on the leader that the first two make. And because they make so few protests, leaders leave them alone as a rule because they think they are where they are needed most; an error of great magnitude.”
What he points out and what I am learning a lot recently is that who you spend your time with will make or break your ministry. As a pastor, there is always someone else to help, to counsel, to meet with, to talk to. As a leader, I am entrusted with the responsibility of choosing who I spend my time with. I cannot allow other people to make that choice for me. If I do, I will spend time with the wrong people. Kraft points out, “The people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.”
Recently, the elders reworked my job description to clarify how I am to spend my time. How much time I am to spend in sermon prep, meetings, leadership development, who I am supposed to meet with, who I am to pass off to other leaders and what responsibilities I should be a part of and what responsibilities I should delegate. Every person who comes to Revolution needs to be cared for and taken care of, but I am not capable of doing it alone, nor should I meet with everyone. That is why there are other leaders, small groups, elders and staff.
Kraft ended this particular chapter with a list of what highly ineffective leaders do:
- They spend too much time managing and not enough time leading.
- They spend too much time counseling the hurting and not enough time developing people with potential.
- They spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time lighting fires.
- They spend too much time doing and not enough time planning.
- They spend too much time teaching the crowd and not enough time training the core.
- They spend too much time doing it themselves and not enough time doing it through others.
- They make too decisions based on organizational policies and too few decisions based on biblical principles.
So how does an effective leader of a growing church allocate his/her time? By doing 3 things:
- Teaching and communicating
- Equipping and training other (leaders)
- Vision casting
The leader then needs to give everything else away.
What is encouraging after reading this book is that we are moving in this direction at Revolution.
For me, chapter 11 was worth the price of the book.
Still not convinced? Here is an interview with Dave Kraft from The Resurgence on the book.
If you are a leader at a church or business, this is definitely worth picking up. A great, fast read that will definitely challenge your leadership.