There are two polar opposite views about church leaders adding “leadership and business books” to their reading diet. On one extreme, there are people who consider it unspiritual and ludicrous for a church leader to read a leadership book written from a perspective that is not distinctly Christian. After all, what does leading an organization have to do with the sacred body of Christ? Or as Tertullian asked, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” On the other end of the spectrum are those who read every leadership book possible, insisting that because “all truth is God’s truth,” there are important lessons for the people of God.
While I understand both views, I think it is wise to avoid the extremes. We must heed the caution not to compare the bride of Christ to another organization, but there are some helpful insights to be learned. There are reasons, and seasons, that church leaders should avoid leadership books. Here are three (later in the week, I will share reasons pastors should read leadership books).
Flee from leadership books if your…
Devotional life is weak.
If your time in the living and active Word of God is suffering, stop reading leadership books. Instead, pick up the Bible and let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. The Lord sanctifies us by His truth, and His Word is truth. Don’t make the mistake of becoming more skilled and less sanctified. If you read 12 leadership books last year and 1 book about the character of God and/our response to Him, you are out of balance in your reading.
Christian worldview is not firm.
A leader who has a healthy grasp of the Lord’s plan for redemption throughout history, of the nature of the church, and of the mission of God can benefit from reading leadership books. Leaders with a firm foundation are able to read through the lens of their Christian worldview. Leaders without a firm foundation are likely to use leadership books to build a faulty foundation.
Heart for people is not compassionate.
You will read some insights in leadership books that are the antithesis of serving and loving people well. If your heart for people is compassionate and caring, you are able to discern and discard. If your heart toward people is cold, you will only grow colder.
As you read leadership books, continually keep in view your devotional life, your worldview, and your heart. They are much more significant than any insights you will glean from leadership books.