The bottom line: A quick, easy, and comprehensive look into the Biblical and practical aspects of church leadership.
On Church Leadership was written for a church that lacked authority, formal leaders and structure. As a result, it is an effective guidebook to building and nurturing the people and superstructures necessary for a successful church by a pastor who has done it several times over.
The book begins with an Introduction that explains the necessity of authority and the Biblical principles that guide its operation. Driscoll is the (former) founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, so many of the subsequent lessons have practical examples rooted in real-life experiences. “Pastor Jesus” describes the perfect example that Christ provides in leadership and defines what “church” means. The chapters on “Elders,” “Deacons,” “Members” and “Leadership teams” explain the Biblically defined roles that each of these church organs play in the body of Christ. As Driscoll always does, he intelligently analyzes sound principles and then locates the methods of execution in contemporary settings. The three appendices answer common questions about church leadership (e.g. ought a leader be ordained; the accountability and discipline of leaders), provide further reading suggestions and detail a sample church membership covenant.
By far, the chapter on leadership teams provides the most functional pearls of wisdom for everyday use, and the classification of leaders as “prophets,” “kings,” or “priests” is very enlightening. The discussion of an “air war” versus a “ground war” will also prove valuable to anyone contemplating why their church isn’t filling seats or has a problem in retaining numbers.
Another sound benefit of On Church Leadership is the section “Women in Ministry” that provides an insightful investigation of gender dynamics in the Book of Genesis (complete with some exegesis) in answering the chapter’s central question. Readers should be keenly aware, however, that Driscoll has a very firm stance on women in leadership that may rub many people the wrong the way. Like it or not, the Scriptural basis of his assertions are well supported through many references.
This is the fourth book I’ve read in the Re: Lit Series and I have not been disappointed yet. Certainly a good read for church leaders or those seeking to serve in church. Although the publisher suggests you can get through this book in an hour that only seems plausible if you’re a speed-reader.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal