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Required Reading: Four Books that Help Shape REACH Team Leaders

By Courtney Shenk

Editor’s Note: Each year, as a part of their training, REACH team leaders read through a number of books. We asked Courtney Shenk, Assistant Director of SEND Ministries, to tell us about the books she chose for this year. This “curriculum” is designed for young adults, but will be applicable and helpful to anyone interested in becoming a better leader or disciple maker.

When selecting which books to have our team leaders read each year, I try to think primarily about discipleship since we are a discipleship training school and not as directly a leadership training school. So, if the books seem tilted in the direction of discipleship, that’s why.

That is not to say, though, that a good leader requires no training in basic leadership skills. We hope those attributes are being cultivated during the two weeks of team leader training before the participants arrive, and through their weekly team leader development sessions and one-on-ones throughout DTS.

Follow Me
By David Platt

We have the REACH team leaders read Follow Me because ultimately, learning to become followers of Jesus is the best kind of leadership training. In the Gospels, you can see Jesus practice good time management (periods of rest with periods of ministry), develop his “team” of disciples, demonstrate good priorities, good communication, and so on. Additionally, Jesus really understood his mission on earth, really had compassion for the lost, and always kept eternity in mind. If our team leaders can emulate that, then they are on a good path to leading well.

Ordering Your Private World
By Gordon MacDonald

This book really does well at emphasizing the importance of cultivating your inner life first, and letting that shape how you organize your time. It’s a helpful counter message to the American culture that places a high value on productivity and busyness.

Leadership Paradox
By Denny Gunderson

Each chapter of Leadership Paradox opens with a retelling of a Bible story, which helps to bring the main point of the chapter to life. The book addresses a lot of temptations a leader may face, and gives practical pointers in overcoming those temptations.

Soul Keeping
By John Ortberg

Soul Keeping is a good read for leaders while they’re out on the field dealing with the day to day stress of another culture, when it might be easy to forget the needs of our souls. Ortberg’s writing is light-hearted enough that the reader doesn’t feel laden down with more burdens of how to “do better,” but at the same time, he delivers meaningful challenges that inspire people to want to change.