Blessed to be a Blessing




Although many in the world and in ministry believe there is a difference between the two disciplines, to preach is to lead and to lead is to preach. In 360-Degree Preaching Michael J. Quicke presents the case that not only can there be a conversation between preaching and leadership but there must be for creating and encouraging healthy change in any congregation. 360-Degree Preaching is thoroughly practical and aimed at all preachers; “I write this book for average preachers whom God loves and uses.”[1] Quicke develops his book in two parts. Part one “shall describe how preaching and leading seem to operate in different spheres.”[2] Quicke explains the historical and cultural ideas behind leadership and preaching and while they have been traditionally seen as separate disciplines they must work together because God has always used preaching to move his people. Part two is a model “for a working relationship so preaching and leading can “do business” together.”[3] This is where Quicke spends most of his time and effort. It is a practical section that helps develop a place to start and keep growing as a preacher-leader.

The strength of Quicke’s work is in his practicality. Most of his book is practice and not just theory. Many leadership books are heavy on theory and lite on why it matters. Quicke presents enough theory in part one to give the preacher-leader a basic understanding of the issues and their importance and then dives into why it matters in part two. Part two, along with the appendices is an excellent resource of skills, steps, charts and examples. These strengths make 360-Degree Leadership not just a read but a resource. I find 360-Leadership weak in two areas; first in the area of other Church leaders, second in the area of discernment. Quicke’s Baptist background is reflected in his leadership style; a strong, central pastoral figure and a limited role of other Church leaders. There are only four mentions of Elder in the entire book. I assume Quicke believes in the plurality of Church leaders but in leaving this out he missed the opportunity to explain how preaching leads leaders and encourage the Preacher to lead and teach communally. The Church is the community of God. Even if it has one central, vocal, preacher-leader (I believe the Church should have a plurality of voices and this is possible under Quicke’s model) a congregation still needs the unique gifts God has given the Church and no one leader has them all. Secondly, although Quicke is heavy on how and why the pulpit leads he is light on where the pulpit leads. I wish the author would have included a way to help people completely new to the process get starting in understanding how the Preacher leads the Congregation in finding their vision and values. He is very clear on how to preach together there but is fuzzy finding where there actually is. He clearly presents a strong case on how to Change but nothing on knowing what to change.

Quicke challenges me in chapter six on Learning Skills. Each section has a reminder that has helped me; Every Sermon Matters.[4] Beginning with realistic full-blooded preaching he writes that every sermon has to create some tension. Change is by nature a pull between where you are and where you need to be. If the sermon is not helping to stretch the hearer then it is not ultimately serving a purpose. Every sermon matters because “preacher/leaders must learn how to preach powerfully about God’s biggest picture – by emphasizing his kingdom.”[5] Preaching that transforms congregations has to deal with something bigger than the moralistic and individualistic sermons that preachers are prone to preaching. These reminders help give me some important questions to ask in my own sermon development. I need to ask; “What is the big picture for this message?” “How does it fit into getting us where we need to go?” and “Would it matter if I didn’t preach this sermon?” If every sermon matters then every message has a point and purpose that gets the church a step closer to realizing its vision.

360-Degree Leadership has encouraged me with my struggle to see the importance of preaching and worship. If preaching leads the congregation it also leads in worship. Preaching is first worship and it requires worship to even begin. “Nothing sabotages spiritual leadership more savagely than missing personal worship.”[6] Preaching is spiritual leadership so preaching needs personal worship. Sometimes I get too caught up in studying, preparing, and preaching sermons that I neglect personal worship. It is an important reminder that the preacher cannot lead where the preacher has not been and if the preacher has not worshiped and wrestled with God through the text then it will be difficult to get the hearer to. “Nothing should receive more care, skill, and devotion than planning intentional worship in order that people encounter more of God.”[7]

Preaching is powerful and preaching leads. 360-Degree Leadership is a call to preaching that matters and preaching about what matters. God-honoring preaching guides the life of the Church because there is no area of its life that preaching does not touch.

[1] Michael J. Quicke, 360-Degree Leadership: Preaching to Transform Congergations, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006, 16. [2] Ibid., 17 [3] Ibid., 24. [4] Ibid., 109 and following. [5] Ibid.,116. [6] Ibid.. 133. [7] Ibid.