Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make


Jonathan Pearson is an assistant director of an organization committed to empowering small town leaders.   Pearson set out to write Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make as a tool to equip up and coming leaders to better serve the church and other organizations. 

In Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make, Pearson describes eight shifts that young leaders must make in order to be considered great leaders.  He describes each of these shifts over eight chapters:

  1. From Entitlement to Honor: It seems that each passing generation is becoming more and more entitled.  You are not entitled to things, positions, or even respect.  It is essential to realize the need to work for all of these things. Leadership is not something that can be “me” centered, but rather must consider the needs of the team and organization as a whole.  To be a great leader, the shift must be to honor.
  2. From Unreliable to Consistent: There is a huge need for young leaders to develop a strong work ethic and consistency in action, thoughts and deeds.  Don’t be the person who always forgets to show up for work on time, causing others to work longer and harder to fill the void you’re creating. 
  3. From Dissension to Cooperation: The very definition of leadership requires cooperation and team work.  If you set out to serve in a leadership capacity but are constantly divisive, you will probably not serve well and your organization may suffer.
  4. From Conformity to Integrity: It’s important to recognize the need of cooperation, but it is also essential to realize that as Christians we cannot conform to the patterns of this world.  If a co-worker is doing something that is wrong, it may be easier to conform and go with the flow; but it is important as a leader to be filled with integrity. 
  5. From Pride to Humility: As a leader it is essential to put others first and to think of your self second.  If you approach leadership from a perspective of pridefulness, you will be approaching it as a way to climb the ladder and get ahead.  Pearson argues that as Christians, we should not approach leadership as a way to get ahead and to climb the ladder of success (though, that is not wrong in and of itself!) but rather as a way to humbly serve others.
  6. From Passive to Passionate: It is impossible to effectively lead if you are passive about the objective of the organization.  In order to create an environment where your team works well to fulfill the organization’s mission, you must be passionate about what you are doing. 
  7. From Selfishness to Love: Loving your team that reports to you, your peers, your boss, your clients, and any other stakeholder is a quintessential part of leading well.  A person who is only focused on themselves will not be able to lead well, because they will only care about what they are doing and not if anyone else is following with them.
  8. From Premature to Patient: Don’t rush into a position of leadership prematurely.  You may feel like you’re ready to lead a huge team, or to write a book, or whatever else; but until you have received proper training and have had experience in the field, it would probably be a mistake to lead or teach others without spending time doing it yourself. Be patient, and enjoy the years spent training to be the most effective leader you can be.

In each of the chapters, Pearson immerses the reader in both biblical and personal stories that prove the necessity of making the shifts of being honourable, consistent, cooperative, filled with integrity and humility, to be passionate, loving and patient. 

This book is a timely book for the rising generation, as there are over 75,000,000 baby boomers who are nearing the age of retirement. As these leaders are getting ready to hand over the reigns of their church or organization to a new leader, they are going to select someone that they believe is reliable, committed, and consistent.  No great leader is going to select a lazy, selfish, premature individual to lead their organization, but instead they’ll continue to seek out someone who fits necessary qualifications.

Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make is extremely application based, which is an excellent shift from many leadership books that are heavy on concepts but don’t often share many applications.  Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make provides real-life examples both through stories from Pearson’s own life and from the Bible, that enables the reader to easily apply what was learned. 

Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make is a book that is mostly about living a life that puts others first.  If you love God first, others second, and yourself last; you will find more success than if you live a self-centred life where your needs are prized above all else.  If we are going to lead, we must first learn how to serve. For those of us who are rising into leadership and may be stepping into leadership roles in the coming years, Next Up: Eight Shifts Great Young Leaders Make is really helpful. In this book, Pearson explains many of the weaknesses that younger leaders can have that disable our potential as leaders.  This book is an excellent starting resource for young people who desire to learn more about how to serve effectively as leaders.


Pearson, Jonathan, Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014. 176pp. Paperback, $13.99.

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Thanks to Moody Publishers for the review copy!

About Sydney Herron

Sydney is a student at Boyce College at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, studying Business Administration. Sydney loves her family, camping/hiking, icecream, all things Disney, Canada, and reading.