Brief Book Review of Leadership Next: Leaders in a Changing Culture by Eddie Gibbs

Title of Book: Leadership Next: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture, Eddie Gibbs, (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2005)

Overview:

Eddie Gibbs offers a look at leadership that is neither overly academic nor too narrow to be of any value. Gibbs wants to suggest a path for Christian leaders that is in sync with changing global realities. Styles of leadership are changing. Hierarchies are giving way to networks; “Departments” are giving way to “connectivity” and informal relational structures. Leadership Next is about beginning to rethink what leadership looks like in the 21st century.

Critique:

I felt that a number of times, Gibbs (and others for that matter) seems to make too much of the older/younger distinction. I.e. “Younger leaders” while “older leaders …” Here’s an example, “For younger leaders, the greatest concern isn’t how to get people to come to church but how best to take the church into the world.” (p. 44)

This is less and younger/older issue than it is missional/attractional issue. Missing this distinction mutes some of the force of the observation while at the same time creates barriers to persuading younger and older leaders to adopt more missional positions.

Applications:

Model leadership development after Jesus: (see page 38)

  1. Allow young leaders to learn by listening and doing.
  2. Allow young leaders to see you in real life interaction with people from all walks of life (“which included responding to their needs as well as challenging their assumptions”).
  3. Allow them to learn by being under supervision for a time.
  4. Allow them to learn by sending them out to do ministry on their own.
  5. Allow them to learn by leaving them. Don’t keep them dependent on you but help them to depend upon the Spirit of God.

Best Quotes:

“A Christian leader is a person with a God-given capacity and the God-given responsibility to influence a specific group of God’s people toward God’s purposes for the group.” – quoting J. Robert Clinton (p. 25)

“There is increasing evidence demonstrating that such high-profile, charismatic leadership is not sustainable in the long term and ultimately has a debilitating effect on the entire organization over which it has been imposed.” (p. 25f)

“Those churches that have the most significant influence among the under-thirty-five-year-old generation are those with 15-20 percent of the members in the over-sixty-year-old category.” (p. 36)  


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