Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Power of Quiet Wisdom

If I had to name the preacher I enjoy hearing the most, most people around me know that I would name Alistair Begg. Every year, I attend his Basics Conference for Pastors with several friends and find it a time of great refreshment. Several years ago, one of the speakers at the conference was Derek Prime, who was Begg's mentor when Alistair was a young minister in Scotland. I remember being struck by Prime's humility and wisdom. Listening to him preach was like listening to a grandfather passing on wisdom to his grandchildren. He's not flashy, he's not loud, he's not full of catchphrases or clever rhetoric - he's just full of wisdom.

That impression led me to recently pick up his book A Christian's Guide to Leadership for the Whole Church. What I found inside was very reminiscent of the sermons I heard Prime preach several years ago. He offers very practical, down-to-earth advice on how to demonstrate Christlike leadership in the church - whether one's sphere of leadership extends to the pastorate or even a simple committee chairmanship. Absent are the catchy formulas that one would expect to find in a book on leadership. Prime simply seeks to present biblical wisdom on how to lead well, peppered with his experience from over 30 years as a pastor - the last 19 of which have been spent in the same church. His pastoral heart shines through in his presentation as well, as he ends each section with a prayer, applicable Scripture readings, and reflective questions.

As I said, don't pick the book up expecting flash or pizazz. Prime is not the most engaging writer I've ever read, but the quiet humility of his preaching is evident in the way that he writes. For anyone who is in any type of leadership role in a church (or has aspirations to be), this would be an immensely valuable read. Don't come in expecting the broad scope and vision of Mark Dever and Paul Alexander's The Deliberate Church, but if you're searching for a book that focuses on the day-in-day-out concerns, stresses, and difficulties of leading the people of God, you won't be disappointed here.

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