Last week I had an opportunity to read an advance copy of “The Eric Trap” by Wideman, Luce, & Conley.  The book is written about a tough week by Eric Newman, a fictional children’s minister who is facing some very real leadership challenges.  The story reads like some of Patrick Lencioni’s books except the leadership principles are found after each chapter instead of at the end.

It is easy to relate to Eric because of the feelings expressed through his character.  At some point, everybody feels overwhelmed and under-appreciated.  Through the narrative, he is an example of what happens to a leader with these feelings and thoughts we can all relate to...except hopefully you've never had an extreme case like this where everything hits all in one week.

Eric is facing leadership challenges with:

  1. Delegation
  2. Following the authority of his leader
  3. Getting parents involved 
  4. Measuring his success
  5. Ordering priorities

My favorite aspect of the book involves a slight spoiler alert .... in the end, Eric doesn’t get it all resolved.  The story doesn’t end with a “cliff-hanger” but neither does it all get wrapped up neatly like a sitcom.  The reality of Eric’s situation is that he’s still growing.  We’ve seen him have a few successes and a few failures ... but I think he’s starting to figure things out. 

Eric has created some unhealthy patterns in his leadership and in his family life.  Eric made the mistake of making ministry his “mistress” and at times we all flirt with placing things (whether work, hobbies, worthwhile goals, or random stuff) ahead of a personal walk with God and ahead of our families.

My challenge to you is to pick up the book and check it out -- you’ll get mad at Eric, you’ll sympathize with him, you’ll agree with his critics, and you may feel the sting of some of his problems in your own life.  My hunch is that you’ll probably find yourself relating to some of the feelings and emotions found in Eric’s journey, like I did.  I hope you’ll also be challenged (as I was) to change the course of a few things in your life, your family, your leadership, and your ministry...before you fall into "The Eric Trap."

For More Information Online
Check out for more about the authors and to download a sample chapter.  

DISCLOSURE: I received this book free from Jim Wideman Ministries as part of their blogging & social media pre-release strategy.  I was asked to write an “honest” review, I was not required to write a positive review.   The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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