Book review: Multiplying missional leaders

multiplying missional leadersOver the past few years I’ve read an increasing number of books from the ‘missional’ tribe of the church. The latest is Multiplying Missional Leaders by Mike Breen.

The raising up of leaders is a constant issue for most church leaders that I’ve ever met (myself included) and so most are always willing to read and engage with new ideas on how to do that. There’s the usual dissatisfaction with the rate of progress and development of the current crop.

But no need to fear, Mike Breen to the rescue. All you need to do is develop your leadership pipeline,  know the difference between your training triangle, learning circle and your leadership square so that you can build your rotary leadership engine. Then you get your L50 leaders and huddle them and get them to find their oikos and to know their up and their ins from their outs.

Actually that’s my biggest issue with this book, it is absolutely chock full of jargon that I just found silly and plays to the management consultant lurking inside each church leader. Although I guess he could argue that he has at least made his illustrations memorable.

On the upside the book is also full of wisdom, tested by experience and grounded in authentic missional church life. Some of the points are ones developed elsewhere – so there’s not lots of difference here between Bill Hybels calling for character, competence and chemistry in a leadership team and Breen looking for character, capacity, chemistry  & calling even though their models of church are completely different.

Breen is helpful in articulating the leadership process of train, deploy and review, reminding us that it takes time, reminding us that prospective leaders need to see their leaders do the stuff too and that releasing leadership into what God is calling them is an incredibly powerful kingdom weapon. As opposed to releasing them to help you do what God has called you to do.

I’m unconvinced by his articulation of the fivefold ministries and in places it was a bit theologically lite (or at least making much bolder statements than the evidence supports) but I found it time and time again a stimulating and provocative read. One that in many places I found convicting and practical. It is a book that helped me think, ‘we could do that.’

It’s a book, that despite the fact that it creaks under the weight of its jargon, I would definitely recommend to any church team that wants to think through their leadership training process. This will provoke helpful discussion and I think will lead to a more effective outcome and that is a mark of a good book.

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