Whenever I read Paul David Tripp, I am both convicted and encouraged. Yes, at times, he can be laborious in making his point, but the impact of his words remains for a long time. This book by him is very similar to his heart-exposing book for pastors (titled “Dangerous Calling”). “Lead” is aimed at ministry leaders, focusing on twelve gospel principles necessary for gospel-centered leadership. It’s a book that’s best read slowly, one that you’ll underline a lot and one that you’ll want to re-read at least once a year. It is that good!
According to Paul Tripp, one reason for the fall of many pastors is the failure of the leadership community surrounding them. He looks at twelve areas where the leadership community needs to engage and have regular conversations on. He shows us that the way to God-honoring leadership is through the rescuing, transforming grace of God in the gospel. The twelve areas he focuses on are: achievement, gospel, limits, balance, character, spiritual warfare, servanthood, candor, identity, restoration, longevity and presence. In each of these chapters, he highlights an essential gospel principle that should shape the heart of the leader. Tripp’s focus, as always, is the human heart!
While gospel-oriented achievement is a good thing, Tripp reminds us that the desire to achieve can become dangerous when it becomes a ruling desire in the hearts of leaders. Similarly, if leaders are to be tools of God’s grace, they need to nurture and grow in that grace themselves. So, he tells us that a gospel centered community needs to be nurturing, honest, humble, patient, forgiving, encouraging, protective and restorative. He also reminds leaders that they need to recognize their God-given limits of gifts, time, energy and maturity: “Every leader is a package of God-given gifts and God-assigned limits. It is dangerous to focus on the one without humbly remembering the other.” Further, recognizing and balancing the various callings in life is crucial to the success of the leader. This is a call to a heart in balance!
Tripp also shows us that a spiritually mature leadership community will understand that character is more important than performance or structure or strategies. The call for leaders is to be ambassadors of Christ, representing his message, methods and character. A leader must also recognize that leadership is spiritual warfare and that he is called to a life of willing sacrifice as a servant. Indeed, “to lead is to serve, to serve is being willing to suffer”. Further, a gospel-centered leader will be characterized by gospel candor, honestly confessing his weaknesses and sins with others in the community. He is able to do that ultimately only by the presence, power, promises and grace of Jesus. How important it is to be grounded in these gospel truths!
This book is indeed full of gospel truths that will convict and encourage the Christian leader. It’ll not only show us our sinful hearts, it’ll also point us to the One who is able to redeem us from ourselves. We get a glimpse into the heart of God and we see how different His values are from ours. Paul David Tripp succeeds admirably in explaining and illustrating these twelve gospel principles to help leaders lead well. I am happy to give this book my highest recommendation. Please get this book if you are a leader in Christian ministry or are considering to be one. 5/5 stars.
*I received this complimentary copy from Crossway and NetGalley, but was not required to write a positive review.*