The first thing you need to understand about this book, is the author’s primary focus: pastoral leadership. In his denomination (Baptist), this also includes elders, some of whom (vocational pastors) will eventually pursue fulltime ministry at other churches, and others (non-vocational pastors) who provide for themselves through secular careers while also helping to shepherd their local congregation. He also holds the position that only men should fill these offices. As I am unfamiliar with his church polity, it took time for me to grasp some of his points.
In any case, Pastor Sanchez relies heavily on 1 Timothy, Titus and 1 Peter to establish the qualifications for pastor/elder (terms that are used interchangeably). These men should:
- Exhibit godly character
- Maintain biblical convictions
- Lovingly care for the congregation
- Display competency in handling the Bible
Once such men are identified, their leadership potential must be observed and developed over a sufficient period of time to establish credibility with the congregation. This is a very important point. It takes time for true character to be revealed, and it is better to proceed slowly than end up with leaders who are not qualified or lack self-control. He also stresses the need for continual learning in leaders. They should be constantly studying the Bible, theology and other Christian resources.
Each of the leadership components is discussed fully in its’ own chapter. The book also reviews the foundation for leadership as set forth in Genesis. Briefly, humans were created by God to represent His sovereign rule and loving care over creation. While equal bearers of God’s image, Adam and Eve were given different roles: Adam is to lead, Eve is his suitable and complementary follower. Sin, of course corrupts this divine pattern when Adam fails to take responsibility and Eve manipulates. The curse now affects both sexes as they battle to control one another. This leads to leadership which is either too passive, or too tyrannical.
There are two chapters at the end that do discuss leadership in the home and leadership in the world. These are applicable to all Christians. Some Appendices with various documents and questionnaires used at the author’s own church are included. These define and further elaborate the various pastoral offices at High Pointe Baptist Church.
VERDICT: 2 STARS. The important characteristics of a leader were well supported and biblically based. However Lutherans will find most application suggestions not feasible because of the differences in denominational organization.
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The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.
For more on leadership see these posts: