Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Review: Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne

Sticky Teams has been the most imminently practical book about church leadership I have read this year, hands down. For those of you unfamiliar with Larry Osborne, do you know who John C. Maxwell is? The guy who wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and like a bazillion other books on leadership (no really, I checked Amazon, that number's right)? Well Larry Osborne is the John C. Maxwell of church leadership.

I know, I know, for many pastors, John C. Maxwell is the John C. Maxwell of church leadership. I can barely get through a meeting with my pastor without him referring to "the law of the lid". But in Sticky Teams, Osborne has written out of the wealth of his ministry experience to bring us what only time may show to be the definitive work on church leadership.

This is not a theological treatise on the spiritual elements of leadership. Rather, this is a ground level book that deals with all the interpersonal conflicts and miscommunication within a church. It may bother a few readers that only the occasional Bible verse is quoted, but Osborne is not addressing the doctrinal issues that sometimes divide a church. Instead, he is addressing the petty, the selfish, and the interpersonal issues—unmet or uncommunicated expectations, power shifts, undefined roles.

Osborne covers too much ground for me to give you a nice preview here, but I thought I would give you a teaser from one of my favorite chapters, "Six Things Every Leadership Team Needs to Know". Here is his list:
  1. Ignore your weaknesses
  2. Surveys are a waste of time
  3. Seek permission, not buy-in
  4. Let squeaky wheels squeak
  5. Let dying programs die
  6. Plan in pencil
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Anyone and everyone within (or interested in) church leadership

This book was a free review copy provided by Zondervan Publishers.


Bill Faris said...

"...the definitive book on church leadership..." only gets 4 1/2 out of five stars? You're hard to please, Jared!

My "best leadership book" (maybe that I've ever read) is "A Failure of Nerve-Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix" by Friedman. I'd give it 4 and 11/16ths out of five stars.

Jared Totten said...

Ha ha, guilty. I think that last half star could have been earned if there was a little more biblical- and gospel-centeredness. The greatest strength and weakness was it's practicality. Most business leaders could substitute the word "company" for "church" in the book and get a whole lot out of it too.

Still, I will be referring to this book often as my worship team at Redeemer grows. I left a lot of ink in this book!