Paul David Tripp published the book LEAD: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church with Crossway in 2020. Drawing on his decades of experience (and, at times, misadventure) in the Church and in a variety of Christian ministries, Tripp digs into Scripture to help Church leaders understand how the Gospel impacts every aspect of life and work together. Tripp’s frank candor, poignant story-telling, and imbedded questions for introspection bring readers to their knees.
In my role at Children’s Hunger Fund, one of my joys is providing book clubs for our staff. This quarter, our Leadership Team is working through LEAD together. While CHF is not the church, we are a servant of the Church and members of the Church. As such, we need to live and walk together guided by the same principles articulated in Tripp’s helpful book.
As we work through this book, I will post here the basic principle, a few quotes, and the discussion questions that we used to guide our time though each chapter. (And thanks for help with these outlines goes to Josiah, super student intern!)
Six characteristics will mark a leadership community formed by gospel values:
- Prepared Spontaneity
This twelve leadership-community gospel principles are deeply relational because the gospel is.
“The gospel which is our hope in life and death, also sets the agenda for how we live, relate, and lead between the ‘already’ of our conversion and the ‘not yet’ of our final home going” (p. 24).
“Humility means you love serving more than you crave leading. It means owning your inability rather than boasting in your abilities. It means always being committed to listen and learn…It’s about fearing the power of position rather than craving it” (p. 24).
“It means acknowledging that self-examination is a community project, because we are still able to swindle ourselves into thinking that we are okay when we are in danger and in need of help” (p. 26).
- What are some of your first impressions as you read the introduction?
- How does this book relate to us as ministry leaders who are servants of the Church? What are some of the differences we should expect to see in application as we go through these principles?
- Who is one failed and restored leader in Scripture who has been an encouragement to you?
Chapter 1: Achievement
Principle: A ministry community whose time is controlled by doing the business of the church tends to be spiritually unhealthy.
“In ministry, success and failure are not a matter of results but are defined by faithfulness” (p. 41).
“We are free to respectfully disagree with one another because we get our identity and security from our Lord and not from one another” (p. 41).
“…but we must always remind each other that achievement is a spiritual minefield” (p. 49).
- What are some ways that we can gracefully disagree with one another?
- How can we encourage greater health in our understanding of achievement?
- Do leaders feel safe to fail? To recognize and name their weaknesses?
- Which of the spiritual minefields of success has been a factor for you?
Chapter 2: Gospel
Principle: If your leaders are going to be tools of God’s grace, they need to be committed to nurturing that grace in one another’s lives.
“As leaders, we don’t just work to develop cooperation with and confidence in one another along with functional unity, but we work to draw one another ever nearer to the Savior. We are doing more as a leadership community than nurturing healthy ministry relationships that result in missional cooperation and productivity; we are also nurturing in one another a deeper devotion to the Savior. The most powerful protection from the dangers that every leader faces is not his relationship to his fellow leaders but a heart that is ruled by deeply rooted love for Jesus” (pg. 56).
“It is love for Jesus that protects a leader from both fear of man and fear of failure” (pg. 56).
“Gospel restoration never minimizes sin. Gospel restoration never values efficiency over character. Gospel restoration never compromises in the face of position and power. Gospel restoration never puts the needs of the institution over the heart of the person. Gospel restoration never compromises God’s ordained qualifications for ministry leadership” (pg. 69).
- What is a ministry experience you have had that was a good (or poor) example of a Gospel Community?
- What are significant factors which make up a “Gospel Community”?
- How is this ministry a workroom of grace?
- In what ways do we demonstration functional gospel amnesia? p. 58
- What is a time that you recognized your need of others? p. 68
- What does it mean for leaders to be “Gospel tenderized?”
Chapter 3: Limits
Principle: Recognizing God-ordained limits of gift, time, energy, and maturity is essential to leading a ministry community well.
“We do not have to fear our limits because God doesn’t send us out on our own; where he sends us, he goes too. We do not have to curse our weaknesses because our weaknesses are a workroom for his grace” (p. 73).
“Leaders must push the gifts of others forward, willing to listen and willing to submit to the wisdom of others who are gifted in ways that they are not” (p. 75).
“No matter how long we’ve been in ministry leadership, no matter how well trained, no matter how theologically mature, we are still in need of future spiritual development” (p. 83)
- How can we better recognize our limitations?
- Which of the 4 limits is most challenging at this point in your life?
- What are the specific ways that we don’t recognize our own limits or the limits of our staff?
- How can we bring help and accountability to each other to live within reasonable limitations? Are there things that we need to subtract rather than add to our ministries?
Chapters 4-6 can be found here.