How to Fail as a Leader

This is not your typical leadership fable. The leadership principles and practices have been tested in some of the biggest and best organizations in the world, from giant global companies to Silicon Valley-funded tech start-ups to international non-profits. But that’s not the really different part. (There are other leadership best-sellers who have a deep foundation.) The first real difference is that the action in this fable takes place in a fictional medieval kingdom, because everything is more fun with swords and horses. Second, the action of the story is real action, not an increase in stock price or a drop in employee morale. There are mysteries, ambushes and, of course, sword fights. Third, there isn’t a mentor who makes it easy for our heroes by scribbling on a napkin the three steps to great leadership. These two leaders have to figure out leadership while things go from bad to worse. And they don’t agree on what leading well means. So they learn their lessons the way a lot of us do: the hard way.



The Story:

Once upon a time, two new leaders were determined to prove they had what it took to be a good leader. Then they discovered that leading well is harder than they thought, especially when your co-leader is wrong about what it means to lead well. And that was before they got ambushed. Not metaphorically. Ambush, as in surprise attack from an enemy army. That’s because this story happens in a fictional medieval kingdom and these two leaders are the military commanders of what was supposed to be a sleepy little fort.

Addoc, the new fort commander, believes that great leaders motivate people to pursue a grand vision; leadership is about relationships. But Eldin, his second in command, believes that actions speak louder than words; leadership is about getting great results. They both have a chance to test their leadership approach. And they both fail. But they also both learn a lot.

The story is exciting all by itself. But there are deep insights and practical tips woven into each chapter. This is book is a case study on leadership, so to speak, with swords. There are also short debrief sections at the end of each chapter, to shine a light on what just happened, along with optional discussion questions for small groups who want to read though this book together.

In essence, this is an adventure novel fused with a leadership book that has group study elements sprinkled on top. If you want to take your leadership to the next level and enjoy an adventure story at the same time then this might be the most fun personal development book you’ve ever read.

After all, who says learning about leadership has to be boring?

Awake From Atrophy

In this easy to read fable, Drew and Jessica Walker face a crisis that will lead them to epiphany when they encounter a member-driven church for the first time. Drew Walker is a bible-believing associate pastor, wrestling with questions about the rapidly growing, successful church he works for. One too many radical sermons lands him in a career crisis, only to discover his wife has a surprise announcement all her own. In a desperate race against the clock, Drew scrambles to find a new position at a church that is biblically grounded and tangibly serving its community. Visits to a few interested churches only raise more questions. Meanwhile, Drew’s mentor from seminary makes a request that thrusts him into a much bigger quandary than he could have anticipated, launching him into rethinking not just his pastoral career, but the last fifteen centuries of church history.


The Concept:
Church wasn’t always done the way we do it today. Worship didn’t always mean three to four songs at the beginning of the service. Sermons weren’t always twenty-five to forty-five minutes long. And giving didn’t always include collecting 10% of the members’ income into a single account. Take a fresh look at the church and discover how authentic community, intimate worship, and radical obedience can be a part of your weekend gatherings in a whole new way—without abandoning the timeless truth of the Bible.

Six Core Values

Biblical Foundation: We believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God and the supreme authority for guiding our lives, including our church practices. As such we regularly study it and submit all our decisions through a biblical filter.

Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ: We believe, as is clearly stated in the Bible, that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the central calling to and only salvation for human beings. No amount of knowledge or service can substitute for a real relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Authentic Community: We believe building an authentic community in our church is a biblical mandate and the foundation for all the other functions of the church (John 13:34-35). The more we experience authentic community the more effectively all the other ministries of the church function.

Growth Through Practice: We believe that information is essential but insufficient to produce personal growth. Only in the process of practicing our faith do we grow (James 2:14-26). So we plan practice time into our gatherings, rather than merely discuss truths and hope members practice later.

Every Member Ministers: We do believe salvation bestows the role of priest upon all believers (1 Peter 2:9). But rather than remain content with an inactive identity, we plan with the expectation that every member will authentically engage God and other members in every gathering.

More Than Stage Ministry: We believe that the number of people who observe a ministry doesn’t determine its value. While the more common stage-type ministries continue, we don’t elevate them above the other expressions of the spiritual gifts by requiring all others to cease ministry every time a stage-type option is offered (1 Corinthians 12).

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Six Core Practices

Eating Meals Together: We follow the biblical example of eating full meals together as a church on a regular basis (i.e. Acts 2:42-46, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Therefore, our weekly gatherings begin with a meal shared in common by all. This allows us to build authentic community and occasionally practice ministry during the meal conversations.

Bible Study:We follow the biblical example of devoting ourselves regularly to the study of scripture (i.e. Acts 2:42). Therefore, every other week when the meal is done, we study the Bible and attempt to practice what we learn in that gathering.

Open Ministry: We follow the biblical example of asking every member to plan and bring some ministry based on their spiritual gifts to our gatherings (i.e. Corinthians 14:26). Therefore, every other week when the meal is done, we dedicate time for the members to minister to each other in whatever way they feel led by God to use their spiritual gifts and talents. Imagine clusters of ministry in the room.

One-On-One Accountability: We follow the biblical example of forging intentional relationships to encourage each other to good works (i.e. Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11). Therefore, we ask all our members to have a weekly one-on-one encouragement and accountability conversation with at least one other member of the same gender outside of the weekly church gathering.

Ministry Beyond Members: We follow the biblical mandate of caring for and serving the world, not just our own membership, including meeting practical needs, offering love to the brokenhearted, and making new disciples of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18, Matthew 28:18-20). While we work hard to be an authentic, mature community we also work hard to bless those outside our church (Luke 19:10).

Decentralized Funding: We follow the biblical example of asking our members to care for needs within and beyond our church family by giving money and possessions to those in need, overseen by the elders of the church. Therefore, we publish needs information for both people and ministries and ask our members to give directly to the needs God leads them to support rather than ask them to give mindlessly to a general fund that only a few leaders distribute from.