I read a lot but I’ve never kept track of how many books I read each year.  This year, one of my goals is to read and review 21 leadership related books.

Our significant Christian leaders are active readers.  They read their Bible. They read in their field of interest. They keep informed of what other respected leaders are saying in their field of expertise. In addition to their God given leadership skills, their skills are improved and sharpened by what they read. My second significant book for 2021 is Cultivate: A Youth Worker’s Guide To Establishing Healthy Relationships by Matt Wilks.

Let’s look at a Scriptural reference to relationship first.

“Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” (Exodus 17:10-13 NIV)

The battle was won. This is an awesome example of team work, cooperation and working together.  Our most effective leaders in church, business and community work with teams and build positive relationships.  They interact positively with their staff, associates, friends, neighbors and community. They love their people. They value teamwork, high morale and positive interaction. These leaders and churches thrive and lead through influence rather than control. A healthy church is a family of believers with each individual working together for the same goal of effectively worshipping Jesus.

Here’s what Matt Wilks says, “I am convinced more and more that people long for relationships with us. They need to see the rhythm of life as we live it. There is no way we can develop relationships with people in our community without investing in the community we are part of.” Further, “At the end of the day, ministry is all about relationships and helping one another be everything God has created us to be.” (Wilks, Matt) Further, “our relationships outside our own churches will be some of the most important ones we form.” (Wilks, Matt)

In 11 fascinating chapters Matt encourages Youth Leaders to build relationships not just with their youth but with their parents and family.  He also suggests that these same leaders work to develop open communication with their Senior Pastor, sponsors and Board Members.  Youth need to be involved in the church and the church needs to be involved with the Youth. His key point is the development and maintenance of positive inter relationships.  This is a practical, easy to read reference for all of us who lead in church. Hence, the role of the Youth Ministry is not just the kids.  It is connecting with the parents, family and Board members in the church.  Parents also need to connect to listen to and advise.  Hence, the whole point of relationships.  We are in the environment together and need to listen to, share with and learn from each other.

How would you rate your personal relations within and outside your congregation? Is your teamwork like Aaron, Hur and Moses?

Matt is Founder and President of Baseline Ministries Group and a Youth Ministries Lecturer at Ambrose University. Pastors and Board Chairs, you will not regret ordering this book (Amazon) for your Youth Ministry staff and church library.

Yours in Service,

Leadership is … reading another awesome book.

Laurie D. Kennedy

Leadership Coach