Over the years of recommending books on this blog, I NEVER thought I’d be recommending a book of the genre that I am today. The book is entitled “Leaders Who Last” by a brilliant man named Dave Kraft. Yes, it’s a book on leadership. Before you instantly hit the back-page button and remove my RSS feed from your aggregators, give me a chance to break it down.
I was blessed to grow up in a mega church where the leaders took stock in my life, and did all they could to help me succeed as a leader. As a 15- 16 year old I enjoyed every afternoon sitting in on leadership meetings, going to strategy sessions and being mentored by my youth pastor -who had taken a small dwindling youth group and built it into a beast. As blessed as I was, one part I hated were the reading and writing assignments. Every day after school they’d have me read and take notes on some leadership book. John Maxwell’s 1,564 laws of leadership (number sarcastically exaggerated), Stephen Covey’s 7 laws, Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, Jim Collins, even Vince Lombardi- I spent much of my teenage years toiling through their books, tapes, and video series. Now nearly 15 years later am grateful, as I learned a great deal that I apply everyday. However and for that reason, I vowed to NEVER read another book on leadership again. Most leadership books I’ve read are clichéd, humanistic, self centered, and filled with endless, and shameless “Ra-Ra Ra” self motivation. So a month ago when my mom handed me this book, “Leader who Last” I did an eye roll that would’ve put Stephanie from Full House to shame. Never the less, my Mom has never given me a book to read that I’ve regretted, so gave it a shot.
Another reason I don’t like leadership books, is because they are a bit like weight loss books. They try to dress up their program like it’s new and unique, but at the end of the day they all say the same thing: Exercise and eat right. Kraft’s little book does NOT do that.
What struck me first is the endorsement in the beginning by one of my favorite Christian Leaders, Mark Driscoll. I’ve followed Driscoll for years, and knew that in his early years he had been a bit of a loose cannon, and not totally grounded. Then a couple years back calmed down, and his ministry and depth in teaching soared. In his endorsement, he credits Kraft’s mentor-ship to his turn around. Instantly I was hooked.
I tore through the book in about an hour and a half, and loved every second. Kraft started off with his philosophy that leadership born out of anywhere but the place of prayer, will ultimately fail. Leaders have nothing to offer the world apart from that which Christ provides. Prayer being our primary calling, leadership being our second. This blessed me. As every Christian leadership book I’ve read, NEVER emphasizes this enough. In fact that is why they are lacking as resources, and why the church is in the state it is. To quote Covey: “We have to keep the Main thing the Main thing” However I insert Jesus as the “main thing”.
Kraft breaks the book down into 3 sections:
Part One: Foundations
Chapter 1. The Leader’s Power (focus on prayer)
Chapter 2. The Leader’s Purpose
Chapter 3. The Leader’s Passion
Chapter 4. The Leader’s Priorities
Chapter 5. The Leader’s Pacing
Part Two: Formation
Chapter 6. The Leader’s Calling
Chapter 7. The Leader’s Gifts
Chapter 8. The Leader’s Character
Chapter 9. The Leader’s Growth
Part Three: Fruitfulness
Chapter 10. The Leader’s Vision
Chapter 11. The Leader’s Influence
Chapter 12. The Leader’s Legacy
Every chapter is short and precise with great analogies and stories. However I would not say that Kraft is a very good writer, nor presents anything all that new. Instead it’s the summation of a 70 year old man’s life time of wisdom in training leaders. Wisdom that we would be fools not to listen to. Wisdom that has not only intrigued me, but even refocus some areas of my life.
I am so grateful for this book. I hope to meet Dave Kraft one day and shake his hand in appreciation for his life in God. I am grateful for his diligence in helping young over zealous leaders like myself get a clear handle on the leadership assignment we’ve been given by God.
Though I’m still steadfast in my desire to avoid leadership books like a Romulan trying to go around the Neutral Zone. This particular book was invaluable. I highly recommend it.