Review of Building Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini

In today’s blog post I am providing a review of the book, Building Leaders: Blueprints for Developing Leaders at Every Level of Your Church by Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini.

Building Leaders is a great resource for any leader who wants to develop and grow a team of leaders.

Review of Building Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini

One of the things I have found most helpful from this book is the distinction it makes between discipleship and leadership. Malphurs and Mancini define these terms this way:

Discipleship development is a much broader concept than leadership development since it involves everyone (p. 33).

They say that discipleship targets everyone because of the great commission laid out in Matthew 28:19-20:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you (New Living Translation).

With this in mind the church’s goal is to evangelize and make disciples of new believers. This is to be done to everyone. However, not everyone is meant to be developed as a leader. Malphurs and Mancini state that because leadership is a narrow concept “it targets a limited number of maturing disciples” (p. 33).

In other words, leadership is built on discipleship, but leadership is only for those who possess leadership talent and potential. Therefore everyone should be developed as a disciple, but not everyone should be recruited and developed as a leader.

This distinction between discipleship and leadership is one that I think most organizations fail to make. They think that because they are making disciples that they are making leaders. It is true that some leadership characteristics are based on solid discipleship training, but there are many other leadership qualities that are not necessarily directly taught in discipleship curriculum or which need to be applied in a different way.

Malphurs and Mancini believe that there should be a plan for developing leaders at every level of the organization. I found this to be one of the most profound areas of the book because it showed me that different people at different levels in an organization need to be developed in distinct ways. The model presented in Building Leaders is based on identifying the “levels” of leadership in an organization.

For example, when I worked at United Way of Stanislaus County we had four levels of leadership.

  1. Governing Board of Directors: These folks oversaw the organization, represented us in the community, and guided us when making decisions for the organization.
  2. CEO and Vice Presidents: This is a core group of five people each had a specific number of staff they were responsible to lead and programs which they were responsible to manage.
  3. Staff: Specific staff were in charge of volunteers and interim staff from local temporary employment agencies.
  4. Volunteers: We had more than 250 volunteers who actively represented United Way of Stanislaus County at their place of business. The role of these volunteers was to talk about our work, encourage people to donate, and to administer their Workplace Campaign every fall.

The levels of leadership in your organization will look differently and be applied differently. The concept that Malphurs and Mancini hope to provide is that each level of leadership has a unique level of competency in the areas of character, knowledge, skills, emotions, and physical health. Only when identifying the levels of leadership in an organization can the competency levels be determined.

In the book Malphurs and Mancini also provide a 10 step process for developing leaders.

  1. Determine if the empowered leadership will support the leadership-development process.
  2. Recruit someone to initiate and lead the development process.
  3. Recruit and develop a lay leadership team.
  4. Arrive at a consensus definition of leadership.
  5. Identify the various levels of leadership in your ministry.
  6. Discover new leaders for development.
  7. Launch new leaders into their positions of leadership.
  8. Develop new and current leaders for their ministry in the church.
  9. Regularly evaluate your leadership-development process.
  10. Regularly reward those in the leadership-development process.

If you are interested in learning more about how to develop leaders, Aubrey Malphurs has a consulting organization called The Malphurs Group which provides leadership development and training for churches and nonprofit organizations. You can learn more here.

Question: What other advice do you have for developing leaders?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at