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Ten Powerful Books on Leadership

Each chapter in each book in this small series of books is structured the way a Bible study is structured, and I encourage you to approach it that way. Each chapter can be read straight through, but I encourage you to read the scripture that begins each chapter slowly, perhaps read it twice, not like you are reading a book written by a mere mortal, whose words are not the bread of life, and whose words are not promised never to pass away. Rather, read the scripture as words of life, as a direct connection to the Divine Word, the one whose words do not pass away, but whose promises are more solid than the ground on which we walk or the walls that hold the roofs over our heads.

After you read the passages, you will find one or two questions for you to ponder before you turn the page. I encourage you to sit with those questions. Often, space on the page is provided on which to write your answers—you are certainly encouraged to take this space and spend a little time to do so. It may seem tedious and slow—but it is a part of the process. For I want you not merely to hear from me as I you read what I have written. Rather, I want something even more for my readers---that they hear from God. The slow scripture reading, the pondering, the tedious noting of your own thoughts, this is a part of the process of putting yourself in a frame where you can hear, more than just from me, really hear from God. There will be chances to hear from me aplenty in this small book, but hearing from God is of course what will really nurture you. Ultimately, I am sure it is what you hope happens whenever you open the Bible. So please do take a little time at this when you read passages from scripture in this book.

These chapters are short, but I do not encourage you to read more than one or two in a day. Take time, reflect, be amazed at the word of God, at the words of Jesus, at the timeless (and hopefully timely) words that draw you closer to God and closer to his vision and hope for your life, your relationships, your ministry, your family, your work, your present and your future. And, when you finish the chapter, you will find a small number of reflection questions. Feel under no tedious compulsion to work through them all, but again, do stop and think, read and reflect on what you have read and again about the scripture we have mediated on together. Perhaps you will gain clarity regarding a relationship that is currently troubled, or stuck, or in some other way failing to thrive. Perhaps you will gain clarity about a responsibility you have that could make progress through a change of attitude and behavior on your part. And perhaps, most importantly, you will fashion a prayer that you will be inclined to pray, nurturing a desire not just for success or for progress, but for more of God in your life, his word embedded in you, and his love at work through you.

Book 1: Shepherds and Servants




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God As Shepherd

Psalm 23, John 10:1-5, 10-15

Sketch 1


The Call of a Shepherd

John 21:15-19, Ezekiel 34:1-6

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Shepherds Appoint Shepherds

1 Peter 5:1-4

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Shepherd Leadership without Authority

Acts 27:21-28:22

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A Leader Leads by Serving

Mark 1:40-44, Mark 5:24-34

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A Leader Serves by Leading

John 13:1-17

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The Servant’s Question

Mark 10:32-52

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Servanthood and Power

2 Kings 2:1-22, 1 Kings 19:19-21

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Ambition to Serve

Matthew 6:31-33, Mark 10:41-45, Luke 14:7-11, 1 Timothy 3:1, James 3:13-16

Sketch 15


Why Be a Servant?

Mark 10:41-45

Sketch 5

A look at the two most common images the scripture uses for leadership and how Jesus teaches and models these classic leadership images for us. He calls us to be like him, shepherding the flock of God as he did and serving those in need, just as he did.

Leaders can be tempted to believe they are working for God, which makes them God’s heroes. We don’t work for God—he works for us. That makes him the hero of our lives, and he likes it that way.

  • Book 3: Gentle Influence and Wise Leadership: Studies on verbal influence, asking questions, addressing sin and conflict, reconciliation, and forgiveness. It also includes three studies on leading people into inductive, transformative Bible discussions in small groups.
  • Book 4: Focus on the Few for the Sake of the Many: Developing Disciples and Reproducing Leaders. Studies in the Gospel of Mark on the methods, model, and message of Jesus regarding how we grow as disciples and multiply our ministry and character in others.
  • Book 5: Becoming Rich Toward God: Developing Disciples and Other Treasure in Heaven. Studies on the surprising and surprisingly relevant Parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.
  • Book 6: Personal Leadership: Navigating Life’s Turns and Disappointments. A look at topics on burnout, failure, resistance to God’s work, disillusionment, anxiety, fear, suffering, loss, and death.
  • Book 7: Vision and Management: A look at the leadership wisdom of Moses, David, Solomon, Haggai, Elisha, Nehemiah, and Jesus regarding mobilizing teams and groups to accomplish the mission.
  • Book 8: Leadership in a Time of Crisis: A look at leadership choices when your original plan isn’t working or when facing internal or external opposition: leading when you don’t know what to do, leadership without authority.
  • Book 9: Missional Leadership: What principles can we glean from the teachings of Jesus and the stories of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts? How do we prepare for cross-cultural mission as servant leaders? How can we faithfully incarnate the gospel in our words and deeds?
  • Book 10: Judgment and Mercy: God’s Work in the World and Our Response. Studies in the first 11 chapters of Genesis, from the creation to the calling of Abraham at the beginning of chapter 12, and in the book of Habakkuk. Looking at God’s intentions with creation and the corruption of human nature due to the fall. This is a clear-eyed but surprisingly hopeful and relevant message for disciples today.
  • Basic Biblical Leadership (10-27 Sketches)
  • Gospel Survey Sequence: Ministry Insights from Jesus
  • Old Testament Foundations for Ministry
  • Jesus' Parables in Luke: Becoming Rich Toward God (13 Sketches)
  • Mark's Gospel: Making Disciples (20 Sketches)
  • Sermon on the Mount: Building to Last (5 Sketches)
  • Elijah and Elisha: Dependence on God and His Provision and Power (8 Sketches)
  • Genesis 1-12: Sin, Judgment and Mercy  (8 Sketches)
  • Hezekiah: Organizational Reform and Renewal (5 Sketches)
  • Habakkuk: God's Surprising Work in the World (3 Sketches)
  • OT Character Studies (Moses, David, Nehemiah)