Friday, July 6, 2012

The Book on Leadership

I just finished John MacArthur's "The Book on Leadership".  As many of you know, John MacArthur is a very prominent American pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.  This book was entirely based on the leadership principles observed through the interactions of the Apostle Paul.  Before you simply tune out thinking that this is a strictly "Christian" book (which in some ways it is), the leadership principles presented are universal.  The Apostle Paul is a very influential leader in a religious movement that is still being carried out today.  Just as Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and George Washington deserve merit for their qualities, I believe Paul deserves some love for his leadership as well.

Pastor MacArthur starts his book by discussing the amazing leadership influence that Paul demonstrated during a ship wreck.  He was not a leader, but instead a prisoner on this particular ship.  As the story goes and the storm grows, Paul becomes more than just a man in shackles, but a vocal leader that even the centurions begin to defer to.  After the shipwreck, all 200 some odd people on board are counted as alive and well thanks to the leadership qualities Paul executed.  

After the shipwreck commentary, Pastor MacArthur frames more leadership principles by analyzing Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth.  Many things were beginning to turn south in the church that Paul founded.  Paul was no longer in Corinth, but had moved forward to other missionary endeavors.  Paul, however, had a huge heart for the people of Corinth and  knew that with the right guidance, amazing things could happen.  His boldness, wisdom, and humility expressed in his letter refocused the church, quieted false prophets and naysayers, challenged reckless behavior, boldly restated the mission and vision of the church, and encouraged all involved.  Pretty impressive considering this was a letter, not face-to-face contact.  If all this was accomplished through a letter, imagine the influence if Paul was present in body!  His leadership was impressive.

The 26 Leadership Principles that John MacArthur gathered from Paul are:

  1. A leader is trustworthy
  2. A leader takes initiative
  3. A leader uses good judgement
  4. A leader speaks with authority
  5. A leader strengthens others
  6. A leader is enthusiastic and optimistic
  7. A leader never compromises the absolutes
  8. A leader focuses on objectives not obstacles
  9. A leader empowers by example
  10. A leader cultivates loyalty
  11. A leader has empathy for others
  12. A leader keeps a clear conscience
  13. A leader is definite and decisive
  14. A leader knows when to change his mind
  15. A leader does not abuse his authority
  16. A leader doesn't abdicate his role in the face of opposition
  17. A leader is sure of his calling
  18. A leader knows his own limitations
  19. A leader is resilient
  20. A leader is passionate
  21. A leader is courageous
  22. A leader is discerning
  23. A leader is disciplined
  24. A leader is energetic
  25. A leader knows how to delegate
  26. A leader is Christlike


I have to say that reading about each of these principles is humbling enough, but when you write them out so you can see them all at one time it is breathtaking.  After seeing all of these principles together, I am humbled knowing that these are the traits of a solid leader.  In my mind, I can picture a leader bestowing many of these traits.  That leader is someone that many will follow.  To reach this level will take much discipline and reflection.  I have a ton of work to do!  Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Paul was a many of humble appearance.  Some say he was even possibly a hunchback.  Leaders of our day are usually where they are due to looks and surface level achievements.  However, true leadership stems from below the surface.  Scanning the list of principles proves that the majority of leadership is completed between the ears and inside the heart.  I will need to start in and continue to return these two places in order to effectively lead others.

Finally, Paul's boldness was evident throughout the entire book.  I quickly defer to others and shift blame and responsibility when the going gets tough.  Paul's boldness is a great example for me and my timidity. 

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