Harry Reeder, III writes as a seasoned pastor, who has both planted new churches and re-vitalized established churches. This passion has led to his ministry Embers to a Flame, with annual conferences and ongoing consultation services. This book, The Leadership Dynamic is birthed out of Reeder’s conviction that the church’s mission is best served and not complete until we reclaim the position of being a leadership manufacturing plant – a place that defines, develops and then deploys leaders out into the world.
For Harry, this is more than abstraction, it is also the answer to the question of what he would do in ministry differently if he were to go do it all over again – develop leaders out of a biblical model and framework, rather than the usual models of business, or more specifically “contemporary capitalism” with an emphasis on pragmatism and consumption of wealth, rather than the creation of it in order to do good (”traditional capitalism”). Harry writes “The church must escape the swamp of greed-driven leadership prevalent in contemporary corporate America and ascend the high ground of gospel-driven leadership described in God’s Word,” (15).
Harry Reeder does a very good job outlining the current state of the church and its leadership crisis. He likens our situation today to dealing with the “cultural steroids” the church has for years injected into its various leadership programs, paradigms and structures. He writes:
“In fear of rejection and with an incessant need for popular affirmation [the church today has] injected the church with cultural steroids to make it ‘relevant and acceptable,’ hoping that somehow the result will be that people will then ‘accept’ Jesus and the church will become bigger and stronger and therefore more influential,” (25).
The danger is that just as in athletics, steroids only produce an “immediate embellishment[s] of size and acclaim] (25), while paving the way for eventual disease and death. Harry is not denying the need for effectively communicating to the culture around us; just the infusion of worldly principles governing the church and the church’s leadership development over those that Scripture teaches. “Eventually, thoughtless accommodation to the world becomes capitulation to the world – and our witness for the Lord is rendered useless,” (29). And Harry rails just as hard against the opposite danger of traditionalism as he does this cultural accommodation.
But he writes from a hopeful perspective, that “The Christian church must become a leadership factory and distribution center for the world, and by the grace of God, it can – if we return to both the biblical definition of leadership and the biblical method of producing leaders for the church and the world,” (15).
The rest of the book launches from this point and explains what Reeder calls “3 D Leadership” – what it means to define leadership the way Jesus does, develop them according to Scriptures model, and then deploy them into the world to further the church’s mission – to glorify God and bring His creation into joyful submission to Him. Each chapter expounds these three main points, with helpful lists of principles, insightful applications and general traps to be aware of and avoid.
This book is clear and compelling. It makes a strong case for the kairos (appointed time) moment the church finds itself in, and offers sensible and Scriptural applications for this season. As well, reading (and listening to) Harry’s thoughts is an engaging, challenging and thought provoking experience. Plus, he tells great stories.
I honestly could not think of anything to critique in this book. For a contemporary book on leadership and the church, The Leadership Dynamic excels at laying out the current need and Biblical paradigm for addressing that need appropriately.
This book is for anyone who feels compelled to lead in any setting as a Christian.Whether you are a Senior Pastor, or CEO; a freshman in college or a community group leader, I suggest you get this book, read, apply and refer to it often.
My Take Away & Recommendation
Read and apply this book both personally and corporately in your immediate leadership context. It will be worth your time and Christ’s church will be better served for it.
FYI – Be looking for a future post with an interview I was able to conduct with Dr. Reeder coming up here sometime in the next couple of weeks. [If you haven't already subscribed to my feed, now would be a good time!]