Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Leadership Next by Eddie Gibbs – A Literary Review

I read this book a while back, but never did post my review on it.  It was a great read, with some practical help.  I think if you read through this you will find some memorable quotes that might come in handy.  Also, if you want to check out some of the pages I suggested, you can go to amazon and take a peak by searching what it inside the book.  Also, note that the book is available on Amazon Kindle.  Do you have one yet?

I basically start with my sense of the author’s thesis, followed by a general overview of the book, and then I focus on themes that I want to remember for future use.

Gibbs declares that because we are experiencing discontinuous and unpredictable change, there needs to be a change in how we approach leadership.

In Leadership Next, Gibbs suggest that because of the type of change that we are experiencing in our world, new kind of leaders are required; we need navigators instead of map-readers.  He shares why we must change, what is different, the importance of team building as well as the traits, activities and attitudes of leaders that are needed in our time.  He closes with discussion about the cost of leadership and what we need to keep in mind when it comes to the development of leaders in the future.

The following is some of my favorite advice from the book that is instructive for missional leaders. In the chapter on refining leadership, Gibbs quotes Roger Greenleaf where he says, “True servant leaders are those who are prepared to take the initiative.  But before embarking on a course of action, they listen to God and to the voices around them in order to determine what God requires of them.  They are committed for the long haul, maintaining faith and hope, patience and fortitude.  They also make time, no matter how busy their schedules, to withdraw from the relentless demands of daily life in order to refocus and renew their strength.” (29) This thought is rich in so many respects and it something I want to take with me in my journey.

Gibbs’ balanced thoughts on character, charisma and competence are worth reviewing, (32) as well as understanding how the church needs navigators instead of map-readers, (66) the concept of polycentric leaders as opposed to centralized or decentralized, (104,5) as well as the difference between inspiration and enthusiasm (156,7). I appreciated the summary of what connective leaders are about, (124,5) as well as Leith Anderson’s advice for leaders. (194) The thoughts on how to survive criticism were helpful, (184,5) as well as how it takes longer to recover from emotional exhaustion than it does from physical exhaustion. (191) The thoughts on formation by participation were stimulating, (208,9) as well as the description of the various roles mentors fill. (214) Lastly, Gibbs’ basic advice for the development of leaders in the future, which is found in the last chapter of the book, warrants a closer look. (196-216)

Here are some quotes that missional leaders need to keep in mind.  “Yesterday’s solutions and procedures may not provide an adequate or appropriate response to the present challenges.  Hence, the biggest hurdles facing long-time leaders may not be in learning new insights and skills, but in unlearning what they consider to be tried and true and what thus provides them with a false sense of security.” (35) “The primary task of the leader is to reconnect ecclesiology and missiology in order that the church be defined first and foremost by its God-given mission.” (38) “If the Lord were to remove us overnight from our neighborhood, in what ways would the surrounding community become aware that we were no longer in their midst?” (45) Dominic Crossan on the postmodern predicament: “There is no lighthouse keeper.  There is no lighthouse.  There is no dry land.  There are only people living on rafts made from their own imaginations.  And there is sea.” (62) And lastly, “The church needs navigators tuned to the voice of God, not map readers.  Navigational skills have to be learned on the high seas and in the midst of varying conditions produced by the wind, waves, currents, fogbanks, darkness, storm clouds and perilous rocks.” (66)

2 Responses to Leadership Next by Eddie Gibbs – A Literary Review

  1. Esther says:

    i have never heard of the “polycentric leaders” – what does that look like? i really need a fresh understanding of leadership. about a year ago we came out of a church that had some crazy authority stuff going on and it really messed up any understanding i thought i had of leadership. basically i now know what i dont want it to look like! this is a topic i think about often and read a couple books on it but have not come up with something really helpful. perhaps this is a good read on this topic?

  2. Pingback: Dream Awakener » A Primer on Today’s Missional Church

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