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Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the October edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Mike Breen’s new book Multiplying Missional Leaders. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:
- Best chapter
- Best quotes
- Best illustration
- Best idea
- Best take away
Author: Mike Breen
Publisher: 3DM, May 10, 2012, paperback 150 pages, also available in Kindle format
Most leadership books written from a Biblical perspective and applied to the local church context focus on developing the capacity needed to enable the systems and structures of the “gathered community” to function well. We must attend to the organization of the local church but not to the exclusion of the “scattered community.” Mike Breen has given us a leadership book applied to the local church context (but applicable for a wider audience) that is truly missional.
Chapter: 2 – The Missional Leader
Missional leadership is not simply discipling individual people, but it is leading larger groups that disciple and train leaders in a cohesive, organized way for God’s mission in the world. (p. 7) A missional leader is someone who mobilizes God’s people to join his redemptive work in the world. Effective missional leaders do this by creating a system of relational discipleship through being in an extended spiritual family on mission together. You can be a disciple without being a missional leader, but you can’t be a missional leader without being a radically committed disciple. (p. 8)
High mission/low discipleship church cultures have issues with Biblical literacy, theological reflection, and deficiencies of character and creed that, in the end, sabotage the very mission they’re about. High discipleship/low mission church cultures have strength in these issues (Biblical literacy, et cetera), but lack the adventurous spirit and heart of compassion and Kingdom compulsion that so stirred the Father into action that he sent his only Son to a world he so loved. (p. 14)
“You can be a disciple without being a missional leader, but you can’t be a missional leader without being a radically committed disciple.” (p. 8)
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.” (p. 9, quoting Dallas Willard)
“I’ve heard Dallas Willard say that every church should be able to answer two questions: First, what is our plan for making disciples? Second, does our plan work?” (p. 10)
“If you make disciples you will always get the church, but if you’re really about building a church, you won’t always get disciples.” (p. 14)
“I am at peace with having no fruit and being faithful and leaving outcomes to the Lord, but make no mistake: I want fruit, and fruit that lasts! I want to see the Kingdom come to earth today. So if it’s not happening, I’m going to be asking why! “Father, what can I be learning? Where am I not very good at something that you’re calling me to get better at? What do you want to teach me?” (p. 16) (emphasis his)
“We have taught people far beyond their obedience levels.” (p. 21)
“If there is an appetite in your life that is not controlled, very often the way to deal with it is through indirect effort…Dallas Willard puts it this way:‘Say no to the things that you can so you can learn to say no to the things you can’t.'” (p. 26, emphasis his)
“America is tempted by the affirmation of celebrity, the appetite of consumerism, and the ambition of competitiveness.” (p. 34)
“The problem with celebrity comes when we ignore the difference between being famous and being significant.” (p. 36)
“The means you use to attract people to you are usually the means you must use to keep them.” (p. 38)
Note: there are many diagrams and helpful charts included in this book that are quotable but not very helpful outside the context. Get the book!
A really interesting story emerged out of the Korean War as the conflict was coming to a close. American generals could never figure out how the Prisoner of War (POW) camps that held American soldiers could only have a few Korean soldiers guarding them when there were hundreds of soldiers inside. How were so few guards able to guard the POWs without having an uprising on their hands? Finally, one of the Korean soldiers captured by the Americans gave them the insight. When the prisoners were first brought to the camp, an enormous number of Korean guards watched them to ensure there wouldn’t be an uprising.
Then, the Koreans sat up in towers overlooking the camp and just watched the prisoners. They ignored age, rank, skill, and physical attributes. They simply looked for those whom people seemed to naturally congregate around. Where were the circles of people centered around one person?
Once the Koreans identified those people, they separated them from the others and put them in solitary confinement. In doing that, they broke the will of the other prisoners. Then the Koreans could drastically reduce the number of guards. (p. 82)
File under: leadership, influence
There are lots of good ideas in this book. Too many to really do it justice. But here’s one worthy of individual reflection. Think of the physics equation, P=V/R, where P stands for power, V for voltage and R for resistance. Taken as a spiritual metaphor, “the power we see in our lives is completely dependent on our resistance (or lack thereof) to what God wants to do in us and through us. In other words, the more of ‘us’ there is, the less power there is.” (p. 44)
Where is there resistance in your life? What won’t you do? What aren’t you seeing that is blocking the Spirit from working? Where are you trying to be strong as the Lord needs you to be weak? Where are you getting by on your own strength as the Lord is asking you to let him do it? (pp. 44-45)
Best take away
In chapter three, Character, Breen shares an outsider’s insight (he is from the United Kingdom) into the attack of the enemy on our identity, building on the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, as applied uniquely to the American cultural ethos. The emphasis on the individual has been twisted into the celebrity culture, which is basically the idolization of the individual. The assumption of abundance has let to consumerism and the development of the consumer society. Staking your claim has become competitiveness. So America is tempted by the affirmation of celebrity, the appetite of consumerism, and the ambition of competitiveness. (p. 34) How has your leadership been subtly or subliminally shaped by these cultural influences?
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