Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul by John MacArthur. Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. 2010
In this book, which was previously titled The Book on Leadership, pastor John MacArthur tells us that according to Jesus, the truest kind of leadership demands service, sacrifice, and selflessness. Leaders who look to Christ as their leader and their supreme model of leadership will have servants’ hearts. He tells us that all Christians in every kind of leadership (church, business, sports, etc.), are called to be spiritual leaders.
He tells us that the world is crying out for leaders—great heroic, noble, trustworthy leaders, and that if godly men and women will step out and lead, people are prepared to follow the right kind of example. He writes that we won’t find a better leadership model than the apostle Paul. Paul was a true leader of people, and his leadership rose to the occasion in every conceivable situation.
This book is based largely on biographical material from the life of the apostle Paul from Acts 27 and 2 Corinthians in the New Testament. These passages show Paul at his best as a leader. The author begins with several chapters in Acts 27 examining how Paul’s leadership was manifest in the most unlikely of situations—in a shipwreck, where he was the lowest-ranking person onboard ship. The second part of the book examines principles of leadership from several key passages in 2 Corinthians. The third part of the book looks at two key passages, one from 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 and one from Acts 6:1–7. The author’s goal is to distill the biblical principles of leadership in a way that that is beneficial for all leaders.
The final three chapters look at what qualifies a leader to lead. The 26 characteristics of a true leader that are discussed in the book are summarized in the Appendix. A helpful Study Guide is included. This would be a good book to read and discuss with other leaders.
Below are 20 of my favorite quotes:
- Leadership is not about style or technique as much as it is about character.
- Great adversity can be turned to great advantage by the power of an influential leader.
- When people are convinced you will do everything in your power for their good and nothing for their harm, they’ll trust you.
- A real leader will work hard to make everyone around him successful. His passion is to help make the people under his leadership flourish. That is why a true leader must have the heart of a servant.
- If you can show people you truly have their best interests at heart, they’ll follow you.
- A real leader’s aim is to make everyone around him better. He makes them stronger, more effective, and more motivated.
- Optimistic enthusiasm inspires followers. People will naturally follow a leader who arouses their hopes, and they will just as surely back away from someone who is perpetually pessimistic.
- True leadership is tested and proved in crises. The real leader is the one who can handle the stress.
- Leadership is influence. It is a matter of ability, not position.
- Real leaders have a clear understanding of what is absolute and what is negotiable, and they hold the line on the principles that truly matter.
- Loyalty is essential to leadership. The wise leader cultivates loyalty by being loyal—loyal to the Lord, loyal to the truth, and loyal to the people he leads.
- Those who are unsure of their own vocation cannot possibly be effective leaders.
- No competent leader is going to be anxious to impress people with his credentials.
- The great and encouraging reality of our calling as spiritual leaders is this: Knowing our weakness isn’t a disadvantage; it is essential to what we do as leaders.
- No one who lacks the courage of basic convictions can possibly be an effective leader.
- The more effective you are as a leader, the more the enemy will bring the battle to you. That is the nature of leadership.
- The real, influential leaders are the ones who devote themselves to personal discipline and make the most of their gifts.
- No leader ever ought to feel immune from personal failure.
- Your own priorities, not someone else’s emergencies, should determine what you do and what you delegate to others.
- People will not rise above the spiritual level of their leadership.