Book Review: Just Lead!


As a female in leadership, I’m always eager to add tools to my leadership toolbelt and was eager to read Just Lead by Jenni Catron and Sherry Surratt.  I have heard of Jenni’s work with Cross Point Church and familiar with the whole Surratt family in the context of Seacoast Church.  This book was definitely a blessing, an encouragement, and a wealthy of wisdom for me.  I can definitely identify with a lot of the struggles that the ladies talked about…struggles that are specifically related to those times when I take my eyes off the Lord and focus too much on myself or what I want to do.  I highlighted a ton in this book…fortunately I also highlighted a lot in my Bible as well.  For me, that is the most important…when a book drives me to dig farther into my Bible.  I feel confident that this is a book that I will share with other ladies in my life as I truly appreciate how transparent Jenni and Sherry were about their own struggles and celebrations in the adventure of leadership.

There was really only one thing missing from this book that I would have really enjoyed hearing their thoughts on…1 Timothy 2:12.  They spoke of theological differences, church traditions, and that type of thing, but I would have like to have seen them address this text specifically to share their thoughts.  Hopefully I might have a chance to meet these ladies in person one day and have a chance to ask them myself.  Again, overall…an outstanding read and highly recommended!

Here are the things that I highlighted while reading…

  • God is asking us to do something with what he has given us: not to dig a hole and keep it a secret or pretend with false humility that we aren’t able, and not to hide in a corner because we’re afraid someone will point a finger and label us bossy.
  • Leaders make life better.  They believe and develop.  They identify giftedness and call it out.  Leaders leave the world and others better as a result of their presence, and they influence those they love.
  • I try always to communicate my respect and earn my seat at the table with a high level of integrity.
  • One of the keys here is to shut down the defensiveness that threatens to rear its ugly head.  Admit what you don’t know.  Listen for truth.  Take on the attitude of a learner, and lean in hard to the wisdom that will come your way.
  • Who knows me well and has a comforting, encouraging presence I can sink into?
  • Who has leadership gifts I admire that I can learn from?  Who is strong in areas that I’m weak in?
  • Do you ever feel like a lowly worm, Jacob?  Don’t be afraid.  Feel like a fragile insect, Israel?  I’ll help you.  I, God want to reassure you.  The God who buys you back, the Holy of Israel. Isaiah 41:14
  • Our feelings are big fat liars that will turn on us in a skinny minute.  They comprise strong, powerful emotions that are sometimes wonderful and euphoric.  But when it comes to supporting the facts, they are as flimsy as the wet lunch napkin you wailed your mouth on.  As leaders, we can’t afford to be held captive by something fed by a source so fleeting and changeable.
  • She relied daily on the God who made her to complete her, and it showed in her every word and action.
  • Insecurity tends to show up in my life just as I am having the opportunity to really grow.
  • The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty enough to save you.  He will take great delight in you.  The quietness of his love will calm you down.  He will sing with joy because of you.  Zephaniah 3:17
  • We are broken and flawed sinners.  We are not perfect, and God does not expect us to be so.
  • Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.-Dale Carnegie
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5
  • The difference between critics and wise counselors is the spirit in which the truth is shared.  Critics have no relational equity to speak into your life, while wise counselors have the influence to “speak the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15
  • Focus can make or break you.
  • Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:58
  • Surrendering your resistance and pride will lead to greater freedom and greater influence.
  • When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide.  Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.  Pride’s lies keep you focused on yourself instead of leading from humility in loving and serving others.  Philippians 2:3
  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2
  • Wisdom begins when the posture of our heart is such that we’re humbly learning and growing and seeking God’s truth in every circumstance.
  • Perhaps I am more sensitive as a leader because I captured the emotions that I felt as a follower.
  • A heart bent toward continuous growth is one marked by humility.
  • Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.-Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Good decision making is an overflow of a heart that is in tune with God.
  • In my experience, God doesn’t give us the entire route all at one time.  He gives us next steps, step-by-step, day-by-day.  Learning to be comfortable and confident in those steps of obedience is what marks you as a great leader.
  • Great leaders are ok with making people uncomfortable because they see the payoff that the average person cannot discern.
  • A critical lesson, and one I remind myself of often, is this: don’t step ahead of God and what he needs to work in you first.
  • Nehemiah lessons: 1.  Wait for God.  2.  Do your homework.  3.  Don’t do it alone.  4.  Never give up.
  • As a leader, I’m going for blue sky dreaming hand-in-hand with God, the author of big dreams, and I hope you’ll join me.  I pray that God will challenge your heart with big dreams that may seem impossible, that cause you to run to him, and that when you do, he’ll fill you with the courage to never give up.
  • How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.  Psalm 133
  • Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Romans 12:10
  • Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14
  • There will be times when you’ll have to take a deep breath and get over it.
  • Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32
  • Leadership rises or falls on communication.
  • Our temptation as leaders is to hurry through conversations and make quick decisions; however, earning equity and credibility with your team is often best achieved through intentional listening.
  • As leaders, we have a clear choice in how we allow our tone and inflection to affect our communication with those we lead.
  • Be quick to praise.  Be slow to criticize.
  • We are designed to be visionaries, encouragers, and champions of other women, even when it results in cost to our own leadership.
  • Do my coworkers see me as their champion, whether they work for me or I work for them?
  • We can never move to where we want to be without speaking honestly about where we are. -John Ortberg
  • Help the younger generation lead by allowing them to stand on the shoulders of your experience so they can see farther than you ever could.  Ask them what they see and allow it to shape your current reality.-Nancy Ortberg
  • Have I done everything I can to develop myself as a leader, and do I always bring my best to the table?
  1. Hey, Glad to hear this work is great! I have been handing them out like candy to the amazing women leaders in my life based on a few recommendations. I especially trust you in your book reviews, so glad to hear it is good!

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