Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development





The world is impacted and improved by the leaders the Church develops and deploys.

Each year I read several great books on leadership. Usually from those books I am able to refine my own leadership skills, be reminded of skills that I have forgotten or neglected or add some new leadership tools to my leadership toolbox. In Designed to Lead, authors Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck do a fantastic job of challenging views on leadership development and the essential role of any leader. One of the things I enjoyed about this book is that it does more than just focus on skills of being a better leader. The book is much more than a collection of ways to be a better leader but more so a system for accomplishing the only true task of any leader: developing and deploying leaders.

One of the most often overlooked and neglected skills of leadership is the development of others. As a leader it is so easy to focus on your own development so that you can lead others well but oftentimes by doing so many will neglect the stewardship of developing others along the way. As Peck and Geiger state, “The brevity of life ought to birth urgency in us to develop others.”

I will not seek to summarize the book here. But I do want to give the reader a better understanding of how this book can help you and those around you in developing others. The authors Geiger and Peck provide a helpful framework which they call the designed to lead framework:

When leaders emerge from some churches, it is often by accident. “Wow, a leader emerged. . . . How did that happen?” should not be heard among God’s people. Something is missing. Something is off. For leaders to be developed consistently and intentionally, churches must possess conviction, culture, and constructs. (Kindle Location 250)

Conviction is a God-initiated passion that fuels a leader and church. Without conviction to develop others, leadership development will not occur. The essential task of developing others must not be at the mercy of other things, of lesser things in a local church.

Culture is the shared beliefs and values that drive the behavior of a group of people.

By constructs, the authors mean the systems, processes, and programs developed to help develop leaders.

You can easily begin to see the type of environments that can be created without one of these three essential elements:

Constructs without Conviction = Apathy. The reason that many people in churches give blank stares to leadership development initiatives is because an overarching sense of conviction has not been fostered in the church. The reason many churches settle for enlisting people to “fill necessary slots” to pull off programs is there is not a conviction for developing leaders.

Constructs without Culture = Exhaustion.

Conviction without Constructs = Frustration.

A vision without a strategy is nothing more than a fun whiteboard moment that rarely results in anything significant.

Formulas for Diagnosis:

  • Constructs without Conviction = Apathy If a leader is apathetic, it could be they lack a proper sense of conviction.
  • Constructs without Culture = Exhaustion If a leader is exhausted, it could be they are not a part of a healthy leadership culture.
  • Conviction without Constructs = Frustration If a leader is frustrated, it could be they lack the constructs that are necessary to realize vision.

There is much that I enjoyed about this book. My favorite sections were convictions and constructs. The conviction section really challenged my own personal views on leadership development and the importance and centrality of this often neglected task. Without a true God-centered conviction for developing and deploying others the task of leadership can easily become flawed and self-centered and lead to idolatry. There are many leaders who don’t develop others because of their own insecurities and pride.

Whether we lead our homes, companies, or churches, our mission is always bigger than the organization we lead. As Christ-followers everything we lead can be used for His glory.
God’s people were the first to be given leadership and we were told to reproduce more! We were never meant to be power grabbers, but power givers. (Kindle Location 769)

If you are part of a church staff, pick up a copy and read this with your team. If you are a leader in church…grab a copy and put into practice the lessons you learn while teaching them to others along the way; if you are a leader in other spheres of influence I challenge you as well to grab a copy and read it and learn how to move away from self-centered leadership to an others-centered framework.

Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development


NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and unbiased review. The thoughts expressed here are my own.