One of the books that I am currently reading is The Book on Leadership by John MacArthur. I had received this free book at last year’s Shepherds’ Conference; and due to my other readings, this reading is going slow. What I appreciate about this book is that from the beginning it has many great quotable statements. As a quote collector, this book is gold mine for excellent quotations on leadership.
For next several posts I’m going to share some of my thoughts as I work through this book. Since some of my readership to this blog includes business owners, educators, farmers, stay-home moms, students, engineers, and others, I’d like to just say that biblical leadership principles do not apply only to pastors. Because leadership is about influence, we all have been called by God to a place of influence. The question is, for whose glory am I influencing? And by what means am I influencing?
I will distinguish Dr. MacArthur’s statements from my own thoughts with page numbers from his book so that I wouldn’t be guilty of plagiarizing. Here are some initial thoughts:
“It’s folly for Christians to assume (as these days many do) that the best way for Christians to learn leadership is from worldly examples. There’s a crucial reason for this: Leadership for the Christian always has a spiritual dimension. The duty of leading people carries with it certain spiritual obligations. That is as true for the Christian president of a secular company as it is for the stay-at-home mom whose sphere of leadership might extend no further than her own children. All Christians in every kind of leadership are called to spiritual leaders… leadership role is a spiritual responsibility, and the people we lead are a stewardship from God, for which we will one day be called to give an account” (p. vi).
I recently had lunch with one of the men from our church who owns fairly a large business. What impressed me about him is not the typical money-hungry CEO, but his genuine concern and desire to provide for and take good care of his employees. I sensed that he has to work hard and lead by examples so that his employees can imitate. To me, that is one aspect of true leadership. Dr. MacArthur writes, “A true leader inspires followers. Someone who has no followers can hardly be called a leader… To put it simply, leadership is influence. Leadership is not about style or technique as much as it is about character” (p. vi, vii). In my life, there have been many situations where I dreaded to serve under the leadership of questionable character(s). It was during those times that I learned ability and gifts alone do not make a good leader. A good leader is also a person of godly character.
- “Is authentic leadership merely a matter of technique? Can this approach of mimicking whatever is currently fashionable in secular management theory possibly be reconciled with Jesus’ statement that His kingdom operates by a markedly different style of leadership from ‘the rulers of the Gentiles’? And just because a leadership technique seems to ‘work’ effectively in a corporate or political environment doesn’t mean it ought to be embraced uncritically by Christians. In other words, you don’t become a spiritual leader by studying the techniques of corporate CEOs. You can’t exemplify biblical leadership and follow the trends of Madison Avenue at the same time. There’s much more to Christlike leadership than modus operandi. Again, true spiritual leadership is all about character, not style” (p. viii).
- “Obviously, not everyone is called to be a leader at the same level. But every Christian is called to be a leader of sorts, at some level, because all of us are given a mandate to teach and to influence others. Christ’s Great Commission is a command to ‘make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that [Christ has] commanded” (p. xi-xii).
Stay tune for Part II.