Book Review: The Eric Trap by Jim Wideman, Sam Luce and Kenny Conley

Just what we needed, right? Another leadership book written by “successful” leaders who have no idea what I’m going through!

I know that’s what you’re probably thinking. It’s what I think every time another “leadership” book comes out. It’s the same old, same old: Witty saying here, anecdote there, Bible story taken out of context here, “my success story” there… [If cynicism towards leadership books were a spiritual gift, I think I’d top the charts.] So, armed with this finely tuned cynicism, tempered a bit because of my friendship with and respect for the authors, I embarked on my journey through The Eric Trap.

I was immediately taken off guard by the story of Eric. A gifted children’s pastor with a strong sense of calling to full-time church ministry, Eric finds himself in the same predicament I’ve heard echoed in my life and the lives of countless other children’s ministry leaders I’ve met over the past 15 years.

All Eric knew was life could not continue the way it was going. Something had to give.

Eric sat in the driveway for a few more minutes gathering the nerve to go inside. He’d told Rebecca he was going to be home in thirty minutes, which was two hours ago. This wasn’t going to be pretty, especially after the big fight they’d just had.

Eric opened the door and wiped his eyes. Under his breath he muttered, “This isn’t how I imagined any of this.” (Page 7)

What unfolds over the 146 pages of the book is a brutally honest unveiling of the struggles, thoughts, crises and confrontations that we’ve all had in one form or another as children’s ministry leaders–most of which we hope no one is privy to. Interspersed throughout Eric’s story is the insight, encouragement and advice from children’s ministry leaders who are in the midst of struggling through the same issues Eric is struggling through. None of the stuff in this book is new, but it is presented in a way that gets beyond the pretense that any of us (including the authors) have it all figured out and challenges us to…

Go beyond reading inspirational words and stories, and measure your life and ministry against the traps many in ministry fall into as did Eric.

Each section of the book ends with some practical and soul-searching questions to help the reader to internalize and examine the issues brought up in the book. The Eric Trap doesn’t just expose the leadership pitfalls we are victim to and need to avoid or climb out of. The Eric Trap challenges you to take practical steps to becoming a better, more balanced leader.

While Eric isn’t a real person, his journey is very real and reflects that of every children’s minister I’ve known… including my own. I highly recommend The Eric Trap… not just for those leading children’s ministries but for leaders to take their teams through. What better way to open up those honest conversations that need to happen for all of us to not just become better leaders but better people.

I was given an advance copy of The Eric Trap for the purposes of giving it an honest review, but you can get your very own copy beginning on April 25th at The Orange Conference and at Amazon soon after. You can also pre-order the book for a huge discount over at Jim Wideman’s site! In the meantime, you can check out the book’s website at


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Eric Trap by Jim Wideman, Sam Luce and Kenny Conley

  1. brojimw777 says:

    You can also get the #erictrap at at a special pre-release price!

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