This week Rick Hill returns to the podcast (you can listen to the story of his leadership journey here and here) to talk about his new book on discipleship. Rick has written out of a deep concern to see followers of Jesus put down deep roots that will enable them to persevere in the long haul.
I had the opportunity to read the book ahead of its publication and write an endorsement.
Rick Hill is an outstanding young Christian leader, and this book expresses his heart for his generation and for those of us of any generation who are willing to listen. Simply put, it’s a renewed call to follow Jesus. Rick writes out of a deep and authentic pastoral concern and grounds his message in the realities of everyday life. What he proposes is a fresh discovery of the heart of discipleship - a call to follow Jesus and obey him, to cultivate a relationship with him, and in the process be changed to be more like him. While his style of communication is fresh and relevant, he is never faddish; and while he writes with compassion and genuine understanding of the issues that turn some people away from the Church, he never softens the call or downplays the cost. In a rapidly changing world, here is an invitation to rediscover the significance of a two thousand year-old message. Read it and digest it. Then go out and buy another copy to give away!
For more on the book, visit Rick’s website, where you can order a copy.
Ray and Jani have been married for almost fifty years and for most of that time they have served in ministry together. Ray has pastored several churches, including Immanuel, Nashville, whose leadership he handed over to TJ Tims in 2019. Together they oversee the work of Renewal Ministries.
This week I have been wrapping up some editing of a book manuscript that I have been working on for a year or so. I’ve sent it to a publisher who has expressed some interest, so we will see how that goes.
I’ve called it ‘The Crucible of Leadership’ and in it I’ve set out several things that I think Christian leaders need to come to terms with in their leadership. My reflections are framed in the context of the remarkable story of Moses.
His formative years were spent in Egypt where he had been born into a family of Hebrew slaves but remarkably ended up being raised as a member of the royal family. A failed attempt to lead a liberation movement resulted in his being pitched unceremoniously into the wilderness years – forty years spent in the Midianite desert where the peak of his career appears to have been taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep – quite a contrast with some of the traditional understandings of his time in Egypt which tell tales of military prowess! Finally, after a remarkable encounter with God on the edge of the desert, his life takes another dramatic turn and he becomes a reluctant leader, going on to spend the next forty years navigating the highs and lows of leadership in the desert.
Here are the chapter headings:
Introduction: (Yet) Another book on Leadership!
Chapter One: Wise leaders know that they don’t get there by themselves.
Chapter Two: Wise leaders learn to navigate the desert.
Chapter Three: Wise leaders get over their excuses.
Chapter Four: Wise leaders understand that ministry is best shared.
Chapter Five: Wise leaders know that God loves them.
Chapter Six: Wise leaders know that they cannot escape criticism.
Chapter Seven: Wise leaders realise that they are not the finished article.
Chapter Eight: Wise leaders understand when to hand on the baton.
Epilogue: Wise leaders don’t get in the way of Jesus.
Here is how the book’s epilogue concludes:
The final piece of biblical narrative that involves Moses comes in the story of Jesus’ transfiguration.
Peter, James and John, the inner circle of his disciples, accompanied him to pray on a mountain where Moses and Elijah appeared and engaged in conversation with Jesus about his impending death in Jerusalem. After Peter’s misguided suggestion about building a shelter each for Jesus and the two Old Testament figures, a cloud covered them and a voice spoke:
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him (Matthew 17:5).
When their vision cleared, the only leader they could see was Jesus.
And that is a good place for us to conclude. Our reflections have been framed in the story of a towering leader-figure, but one who was flawed. At the start of his leadership he attempted to wriggle out of God’s call; later he sabotaged his leadership through anger and his story ended with disappointment.
The only flawless leader is Jesus, perfect in obedience, love and humility. Listen to Him!
Wise leaders set themselves to walk in His ways, and they take care not to get in His way!