Notes from the Trail

Review: Courageous Leadership

by Bill Hybels

So… Bill Hybels is the founding and lead pastor of Willowcreek Church in Barrington, Illinois. His church averages 23,000 attendees on the weekends, and its the 4th largest church in the U.S. He founded the church out of a burden for reaching youth and young people back in 1975, and it’s obviously exploded under his leadership.

Hybels says that this book took him 40 years to write. I can see why. It’s crammed with simple, practical observations on leading, leading well and leading poorly. He not only identifies some key thoughts on being a leader, but he also is able to commend credible characteristics of developing other leaders.

He is both self-revealing and self-deprecating in his book. And it works. It doesn’t come across as a pastor who’s hit the big time, and simply smiles at you, urging you to have your best life now. But he comes across as a real guy. A pastor unashamed to communicate that life is hard and that sometimes even pastors need counseling.

He has 3 C’s that he looks for as he identifies and blesses a leader for ministry that are extremely helpful:
• Character
• Competence
• Chemistry
Character is essential because no matter how good (competent) someone is, if their character is not well-formed, if they’re not a person of integrity, they can tarnish and ruin a ministry and church faster than Arkansas weather changes. Chemistry is vital, Bybels says, simply because if you’re a team player, then the people on the team need to be able to relate and work well together.

Overall, I think Courageous Leadershipbelongs on the bookshelf of every Christian leader – but only after its been well read, underlined and dog-eared. Hybels is not an inspirational writer with marvelous turns of phrases like Lucado. Nor is he theologically mind-bending like a Piper. Yet, his upfront, plain-talk style gives you a sense not of a seminary professor who’s never been there, but of an ordinary guy sharing leadership principles from his arsenal of personal experience.

On this day...

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