A young man doing MTS recently emailed me to ask this question:
I’ve just read your blogs and review of Leadership on the Front Foot and I had a question. As your review stated, it seems to be a book aimed at new ministers of the gospel. So, having not read the book, I don’t think it seems to be a good book to get information on encouraging young men (university age) to step up and lead. Here lies my question: is my assessment a fair one and, if it is, can you recommend a book that would/could be useful in the situation I’ve outlined?
Before you read on, what would your answer be? What book would you suggest to enthuse a man in his late teens or early twenties in taking responsibility in leadership in gospel ministry?
You are right, Leadership on the Front Foot is probably not the book for a young bloke looking to step up and lead and, in particular, to think about congregational ministry. It’s more for a bloke who has been an assistant pastor and is about to become a senior pastor, especially if the church he’s going to might have been struggling.
For thinking about principled gospel ministry in a church, I would recommend Mark Dever’s The Deliberate Church (understanding he is congregational, not presbyterian, in his church government). For something from an older saintly head, try John Stott’s The Living Church.
For getting excited about gospel ministry, you could start with the ebook from MTS, All for the Kingdom (a free download). It’s more of a workbook, but the first chapter is from Vaughan Roberts, and is a good simple start.
I can’t think of something that is exactly what you want in terms of stepping up to lead.
Perhaps the closest is something that gets us excited about evangelism and discipleship, like:
- Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger (more on evangelism, but not a ‘how to’ book)
- Col Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine (on discipleship, including evangelism).
Another thing that gets me excited about leadership and ministry is listening to some of John Piper’s biographical talks. All these talks are good, but try Charles Simeon, Adoniram Judson, John Newton, Athanasius, and William Wilberforce to get started.
But most of all, if I want to get a young bloke excited about gospel ministry and being a leader, I slowly read through 2 Timothy with him, delving deep into the issues and discussing them. I must have done this well over a dozen times, and every time I notice something new, remember something old, and get challenged all over again.