Recently, I have been reading a book by well-known preacher and author, John MacArthur called The Book on Leadership (Nelson Books, 2004, ISBN 0-7852-6251-2). The book takes a fresh approach to the qualities of a leader by examining the life of the Apostle Paul as seen in Acts and Paul’s Epistles.
MacArthur believes “it’s a serious mistake for Christians in leadership to pass over biblical examples of leadership and turn instead to secular models of leadership in pursuit of style-obsessed formulae they think will make them better leaders.” (vii) Christian leadership books that look at business models “uncritically accept whatever seems to produce ‘success’ as a good model for church leaders to imitate.” (vii) MacArthur continues to state that you do not “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….True spiritual leadership is all about character, not style.” (viii).
The book is divided into four sections: (1) Paul in Chains: Leadership in Action, (2) Paul in Corinth: Leadership Under Fire, (3) An Approved Workman: Leadership Held to a Biblical Standard, and (4) Epilogue: The Measure of a Leader’s Success. As MacArthur discusses specific occurrences in Paul’s life and teaching, he lists 26 specific leadership principles applicable for leaders today. I recommend this leadership book to all those who are active in leadership roles in the church.
Leadership Principles from the Life of Paul (from MacArthur’s The Book of Leadership).
1. A leader is trustworthy
2. A leader takes the initiative.
3. A leader uses good judgment.
4. A leader speaks with authority.
5. A leader strengthens others.
6. A leader is optimistic and enthusiastic.
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.
Pick up a copy of MacArthur’s book and see the biblical foundations and applications for each of these principles.