Book review: Leaders who last

Leaders who last is written by a 70 year old man. Yet, this 70 year old is still learning, is able to be cutting edge and he on staff in one of the most progressive churches in the world. I’d never heard of Dave Kraft before, but I am desperate to read anything and everything by him now. Why? Because ‘Leaders who last’ is the best (short) book on leadership.

When the book first arrived I was really disappointed. I was expecting a huge book full of theology and strategy, but what I got was a 150 page book with large print. I honestly thought it was going to be rubbish. How wrong I was!

The reason I love the book so much is because it deals with the fears I have for church leaders today…especially men in full time ministry. At the moment I am geographically surrounded by men who have fallen into 1 of 3 great errors:

  1. They have forgotten the gospel and are ‘religion driven’ and just creating St Fagans type ‘churches’
  2. They are working crazy hours on things that aren’t effective and are therefore having breakdowns
  3. They have not guarded their hearts or eyes and have fallen into moral disobedience.

I find this really hard to watch. It breaks my heart to see churches become bowls to cover the light, and sometimes weapons of Satan to discredit the gospel (especially when there is a large moral fall). My prayers is that leaders read this book and apply it by God’s grace.

Here are the 5 main reasons I love this book, it is:

  • Short and simple

At only 150 pages, any pastor can find time to read this book. It is not a huge task. Also, you don’t have to think hard about what Kraft is saying. This is obviously the fruit of many years reflection and teaching and is therefore very often alliterated and set out in a logical and memorable way.

  • Scriptural and sane

This is not a collection of man-made business principles. Rather is is a collection of Biblical principles (that are often used in the business world). I love the fact that the book is sane….there are no crazy ideas, unrealistic expectations, or some ‘super secret’ that no one else has discovered before. This is simply a distilling of the Bibles teaching on leadership.

  • Summarises

I have been reading leadership books and attending conferences for about 10 years now. It would be fair to say that I have sat at the feet of some of the greatest leadership ‘guru’s’. Kraft basically steals everything they have said! And I love him for it. He has amazing quotes that make you think, and is able to summarise their larger books in simple sentences. Kraft will introduce to some of my favourite guys like John Ortberg, Andy Stanley, John Maxwell and Bill Hybels. Now, before my reformed brothers go blue, I love this. I love the way his boss is Mark Driscoll, he is clear on the gospel and is desperate to see a new generation of leaders grow. And I love the way he is able to chose the best from everyone and encourage with nuggets of gold from various camps and traditions.

  • Sharp

This book will cut you. There is no ‘there, there, poor leader…have a cup of tea…‘ . Kraft does not pull his punches, he goes for you. He knows what is at stake and is willing to challenge. I found the section on ‘the leaders influence’ really hard to read. This is an area I have been trying to deal with for about 3 years, but have been failing badly… I needed his push. Thank you Dave.

Don’t read this book if you want to continue in second rate ministry.

  • Sustainable

The basis of this book is that we need the power of Jesus: the gospel. What a great way to start! Kraft realises that all the theory in the world is only as good as the base you have. If you don’t have the gospel as your foundation, then everything else will fall. Therefore, he is desperate to show that we need the cross and power of Jesus Christ.

There were a few other reasons I loved the book. Firstly, he clarified the need for a ‘call’. Secondly, he gave loads of practical examples of how these things work out. Thirdly, he put in lots of quotes and illustrations that I can steal for my own sermons ;).

Who should read this book?

  • Leaders in their first 5 years of ministry
  • Those who think leadership books are rubbish
  • People, like me, who have read loads of leadership books, but still haven’t changed

I’ll be honest, if I was given £100 to bless others, I would buy 10 of my closest leader-friends a copy of this book and then take them for a coffee to discuss in a weeks time.

Anybody got £100?

Here is Kraft discussing his book:

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6 thoughts on “Book review: Leaders who last

  1. Leaders who last? Hmmm?

    The front cover of the book says, “Only 30% of leaders last.”

    Doesn’t that mean, 70% of leaders – FAIL.
    Seems like a very dangerous “position” to assume. “Leader.”

    Just wondering how you reconcile the use
    of the word “leader” With what Jesus said in Mt 23:10 KJV.

    The word “leader” seems like a “high place.” Yes?
    Jesus always took and recommended the “low place.” Yes?

    Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of no reputation
    and took on the form of a servant.
    Php 2:7

    Jesus in Mat 23:10 KJV told His disciples
    “NOT” to call themselves master/“leaders”
    for you have “ONE” master/”leader” the Christ.

    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for one is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders,
    for one is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders,
    you have only one leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader.
    your one and only leader is the Messiah.

    The Amplified-
    you must not be called masters ( leaders )
    for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

    Jesus told “His disciples” not to be called “leaders” and none did.
    Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ…
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus,the servants of Jesus Christ…
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, servant of Christ…
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God…
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God…
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant…

    His disciples “all” called themselves “servants.”
    None called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

    Why are we trying to train “Leaders for the ekklesia of God?”
    Why aren’t we training “Servants of Christ” like Jesus did?

    Isn’t “Servanthood” inclusive? Everyone can be a “Servant of Christ.”
    Isn’t “Leadership” exclusive? Only available to “A special few.”

    If Jesus instructed “His disciples” NOT to call themselves “leaders,”
    and someone calls them self a “leader,” or thinks they are a “leader;”

    Are they a “disciple of Christ?”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear “my voice;”
    and there shall be “one” fold, and “one” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

    Be blessed and be a blessing.

  2. Newydd brynnu’r llyfr yma ac yn edrych mlan i ddarllen e rol darllen hwn!

    Wish I didnt watch the video though – Kraft is one scary looking man!

  3. One of the greatest books I have read on leadership, especially in the world of Christianity. I have recommened it for our church to use to train missionaries wanting to make a difference.
    Great job Dave!

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