Harry Reeder’s 3D Leadership: Book Review

3d Leadership ReederReeder III, Harry L. 3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World. Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2018.

For too long, when it comes to making leaders, the church has been held captive by the ways of the world. “Genuine, effective leadership must be learned from God’s Word, nurtured in God’s church, and then transported into God’s world” (13). Leadership making must be restored to the biblical vision. The church must become a leadership factory. We need to define, develop, and deploy faithful Christ followers not only for the church, but also for the world.

Leaders will either conform to the culture or seek to transform the culture. In Reeder’s words, leaders are either thermometer leaders, merely reflecting the current temperature of the culture or thermostat leaders, bringing about a change in the cultural temperature. Christian leaders, leading out of the gospel, are transformed. And transformed leaders become transformational leaders (26). In other words, leaders reproduce.

Reeder’s 3D model of defining, developing, and deploying is a helpful rubric for Christian leadership. It’s intentionally focused on reproduction, on becoming a leadership factory. He defines a leader as one who “influences others to effectively achieve a defined mission together” (34-35).

Unfortunately, the last section (deploying) didn’t really address the deployment of leaders. It would have been helpful to have specifically practical advice here. Maybe even, provide as an example what Briarwood has done in their leadership training. How did Reeder deploy leaders? How should we consider the training of 3, 12, and 70? Instead, we are treated to a seemingly random chapter on Satan (the dangers of deploying leaders?) and the nature of leadership (chs. 10-11) which should have been placed under Part 1. The book would have been stronger if this essential final section was more cogent and coherent. In failing to address how to deploy leaders it failed to propel the book’s vision forward.

At the very end of the book, Reeder mentions in passing that Christian leadership is ultimately an act of worship (196). This struck me and in retrospect, I can’t help but think that this was a missed opportunity. I would have loved to have seen leadership as worship fleshed out. That could be a new book.

Nonetheless, the model of defining, developing, and deploying serves as helpful categories for developing a fully orbed, biblically based leadership development plan. To that end, 3D Leadership offers a helpful guide for transforming the church into a leadership factory.

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