The Book on Leadership:
I like John MacArthur as an author and a Bible teacher, even though I don’t agree with everything he teaches. (Most notably his belief in cessationism – saying that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for the church today, and some of his teachings about eschatology – the end times). Having said that, he has a lot of good things to say that I do agree with.
I have just finished reading his volume, The Book on Leadership. Here he talks about how leadership doesn’t come from a job title, it isn’t a matter of personality or charisma – it comes from a much deeper source. The book takes a look at leadership from the life of the Apostle Paul, primarily from a story in Acts 27 where Paul was in a shipwreck and rose to the occasion to provide leadership in a crisis situation.
I especially like the title of the book – a play on words? The Book on Leadership – saying that it is the book on leadership, but also “The Book” on Leadership, maybe referring to the Bible… I can’t say for sure that he intended the connection, but it fits… Here are some of my favourite quotes from this book, which I heartily endorse to any leaders seeking to hone their craft.
“According to Christ, then, the truest kind of leadership demands service, sacrifice, and selflessness. A proud and self-promoting person is not a good leader by Christ’s standard, regardless of how much cloud he or she might wield. Leaders who look to Christ as their Leader and their supreme model of leadership will have servants’ hearts. They will exemplify sacrifice.”
“Leadership for the Christian always has a spiritual dimension… the 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… A true leader inspires followers… To put it simply, leadership is influence. The ideal leader is someone whose life and character motivate people to follow.”
“A crisis of leadership faces both the world and the church… the leadership crisis stems from a loss of integrity… (Therefore) the first principle of leadership is: A leader is trustworthy… How does a leader build trust? When people are convinced you will do everything in your power for their good and nothing for their harm, they’ll trust you… A leader is not someone who is consumed with his own success and his own best interests. A true leader is someone who demonstrates to everyone around him that their interests are what most occupy his heart… Here’s how you can easily recognize genuine leaders: They are the ones surrounded by gifted, capable, diligent, effective people who are devoted to their leader.”
“A leader speaks with authority: A leader must know the Scriptures. He must believe with an unshakable conviction that God’s Word is true. And he must be able to communicate the truth of God’s Word with confidence and conviction.”
“My realm of leadership of course is the church. I was recently reading a book on church leadership in which the author began with a dramatic pronouncement that if the church doesn’t reinvent itself, adapt to postmodern culture, rethink its whole mission, and retool its methodology, the church will go out of existence in fifty years’ time. Of course, that is ridiculous. Christ said that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).”
“A leader has empathy for others… Leaders must give their people room to fail. People need encouragement rather than scorn when they struggle. They respond to the one they serve when he has sincere empathy in their anguish and disappointment. People need to be built up when they fail, not further flattened.”
“One truth every leader will eventually discover is that people are shockingly fickle. It’s amazing how easily they can be swayed by lies about a leader whom they know and love.”
“Leaders are perpetually beset with trials. After all, leadership is about people, and people cause problems. Some people are problems. The leader, while being fully cognizant of his own frailty, must nonetheless find strength to endure every kind of trial – including pressure, perplexity, persecution and pain. Notice that Paul speaks of those very trials in a series of four vivid contrasts (hard pressed, not crushed; perplexed, not in despair; persecuted, not forsaken; struck down, not destroyed.”
“One of the richest joys we will ever know as a leader in ministry occurs when God gives us the privilege of raising up Timothys, those who not only desire to hear what we say but who also emulate our example… Timothy contrasted starkly with Demas, who proved to be as unfaithful as Timothy was faithful. Virtually everyone who is in leadership for any amount of time will eventually suffer the disappointment of a Demas. But faithful souls like Timothy are the true backbone of the team.”