Late last year in this space I encouraged leaders not to dote on leadership books or lists of leadership skills and techniques. “The leader should look first to God and then deep within himself before he bothers with anyone else’s list of how-to’s,” I wrote.
So here we are recommending a book about leadership, and I’m compelled to insist that I’m in no way being inconsistent.
This is true because the writers in this new book, Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World, seem to agree that preparation for leadership begins deep within the heart and soul of the leader. This is a leadership book focusing more on the leader’s relationship with God than his mastery of some business-school skill set.
For example, Melinda Delahoyde, president of Care Net, describes God’s role in the leadership task. “There is a deeper dimension of biblically based leadership that begins with seeking God’s presence in our lives and our organization and then flows to the ‘doing’ necessary to bring results.”
Jerry White, international president emeritus of the Navigators, agrees: “Be a man or woman who goes deep in the Word of God regularly and persistently,” he wrote. “Depth in the Word of God is the basis of all leadership.”
Mark Holbrook, president of Evangelical Christian Credit Union, wrote of the need for “healthy self-awareness,” calling it “an ongoing battle particularly unique to those of us in leadership roles. Make no mistake; it is a spiritual battle against forces of darkness determined to render us blind to our need for God’s all-sufficient grace and wisdom.”
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., echoes the call to depend on God: “To be a Christian leader, you must submit to God’s will and be ready to serve him completely—not your boss, not your investors or donors, and certainly not yourself.”
These quotes give only a hint of the book’s spiritual tone and impact. Even though it is aimed at heads of parachurch ministries, this is a book for every Christian leader. Ministers, elders, task force chairpersons, Vacation Bible School directors, and small group leaders all will find insight and encouragement to strengthen their ministries. And even leaders in for-profit businesses will catch glimpses of how God can use them in their work.
We might think the spiritual grounding necessary for Christian leadership is assumed and present in the lives of most Christian leaders. But this book reminds us that the leader’s connection with God and pursuit of his will must be a lifelong passion. Non-Profit Leadership in a For-Profit World offers much-needed help unique among the sea of leadership books on the market today.
Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World is available from Standard Publishing (www.standardpub.com).