If the Christian life is like a race, we must admit that too many Christian leaders stumble, burn out, or veer off the track. Clearly it is not automatic that a leader will finish well.Based on Dave Kraft's thirty-five years of leading, teaching leadership, and coaching dozens of Christian leaders, Leaders Who Last moves through three stages of leadership: foundations, formation, and fruitfulness. Concise, anecdotal, and packed with wisdom, this book will help you aim your ambitions, refine your character, and position yourself to be an effective leader who endures.Kraft's brief, down-to-earth guide to Christian leadership will inspire readers to finish the race well-to hit the tape in full stride with an energetic burst of speed and receive their commendation from God.
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I own this book in audio format, and the 150-page can be listened to in just over three hours. The 12 chapters are neatly divided into three parts: Foundations, Formation, and Fruitfulness. Part one consists of the Leader's Power, Purpose, Passion, Priorities, and Pacing. Part two covers the Leader's Calling, Gifts, Character, and Growth. The last part is about the Leader's Vision, Influence, and Legacy.
I learned of Dave Kraft and his book through the Resurgence site, and Kraft's book title immediately caught my eye. Mr. Kraft has a resume that more than qualifies him to write a book called Leaders Who Last. If you are looking for an author who is a successful CEO of a large multinational company who writes books based on surveys and studies, look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for an author who has been involved in full-time Christian ministry leadership and has been faithfully married to the same woman for more years than I have been alive, this is your book.
Leaders Who Last reminds us that the Christian life is a marathon, not the 100 meter dash. Based on Kraft's personal experiences and convictions, he tells us how to finish the race and finish it well. This includes having a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, building a network of friends who will be real with and keep you accountable, and making significant contributions using the gifts God has given you. Although Leaders Who Last is geared for church leaders, I found it very applicable to my job as a principal. Some questions that are addressed include:
1. What is a leader? 2. Who do future leaders look like compared to past leaders? 3. What are the key ingredients to Christian leadership?
Leaders Who Last is an easy-to-read book that contains various life illustrations, quotes, and Scripture. If you are a Christian and have any position where you leading others or might be leading others, I recommend Kraft's book. Life's race can be tough and most will drop out, but for those who are rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ, we will cross the finish line with gold medals around our necks.
This book carries great impact since the author has been in ministry for a number of years. Nothing against young leaders, but time proves many things, and Kraft has a long proven ministry. He knows of what he writes.
Dave Kraft's book "Leaders who last" is one of the best books on leadership, I have read read. Having read Maxwell and others in this genre this book sets itself above the rest in the following ways: 1) Kraft is a leader at Mars Hill Church one of the fastest growing churches, 2) Kraft is actively engaged in pastoral ministry and training leaders, 3) Kraft writes from a biblical worldview, and finally Kraft explains concepts biblically but draws from his many years of experience. Leaders who last is an excellent book for Pastors, but also for every Christian. Every Christian should learn to be intentional in following Jesus in every area of life. While Kraft's aim is to instruct leaders and those in full time Christian ministry, I believe his book is helpful for every Christian, which is why I recommend every Christian leader. Part Three on Fruitfulness of "Leaders who last" was especially helpful as I do a lot of coaching of leaders and future leaders in my ministry. This section has lead me to pursue future training in the field of coaching. To wrap up this review, this book is one I will be recommending other Pastors, leaders, and future leaders in the Body of Christ to read, and is also why I gave it 5 stars!
Being in leadership I want to learn as much as I can from people who have been in leadership. I want to learn from their successes and failures. So when my pastor recommended Dave Kraft’s book Leaders Who Last I ordered immediately.
In this book Kraft writes clearly and makes his points well. As to the content it wasn’t until the last section of the book that I began disagree with him on leadership (more on that later).
The opening lines of the introduction set up the book wonderfully - "This book is about finishing your leadership race. It is a marathon, not a hundred-meter-dash." What follows is a how-to guide on finishing the leadership race that God has called leaders to run. Drawing from Scriptures and experience Kraft shows us what it means to be a leader.
Kraft’s definition of a leader is as follows - "A Christian leader is a humble, God-dependent, team-playing servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, develop, equip, and empower a specific group of believers to accomplish an agreed-upon vision from God."
Kraft, drawing from thirty years’ experience, gives details on how to fulfill that definition of a leader. He categorizes the responsibilities of a leader into three parts - foundations, formation and fruitfulness.
The section on foundations deals with a leader’s personal growth and how he develops as a leader. He begins with this statement - "Because leading is a reflection of who you are, you lead from the inside out."
How true this is. Like every aspect of our Christian life we are changed and developed from the inside out. He takes it a step further by saying - "As a leader, everything I am and everything I do needs to be anchored in my identity in Christ."
After going into this in detail he devotes a chapter in the section on foundations to a leaders pacing. Too often leaders try to do everything and get overextended. Health problems will/can occur. Close relationships get strained. To guard against this he argues that leaders need to take regular time off to reenergize.
He moves onto the formation of a leader. He spends a good amount of time on being called which is paramount in being a good leader. We tend to put people in positions of leadership when they in no way have been called. That is a recipe for disaster.
He finishes with fruitfulness. This section is where I began to disagree with Kraft. Throughout the book Kraft mixes Scripture and personal experience fairly well. In this section he directs us to very little Scripture to make his points and instead relies heavily on experience. He places much of the success and failures a leader experiences on the leader himself. Yet we see in Scripture that leaders can and do fail because of no fault of their own (Noah and Jeremiah are prime examples of leaders doing God’s work yet saw literally no fruit of their labors).
With that said I would recommend this book to any leader. He will challenge you evaluate your understanding of a leader and the role a leader plays in God’s church.