Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge

by T. Ray Rachels

JAMES M. KOUZES AND BARRY Z. POSNER, ed. (Jossey – Bass, 152 pp., paperback)

James Kouzes and Barry Posner have taken experiential data from their thousands of “Leadership Practice Inventories,” and discovered that regardless of level, place, discipline, style, race, age, gender, religion, or personality, leaders show similar behaviors. They call these behavior patterns “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.” Leaders:

  1. model the way.
  2. inspire a shared vision.
  3. challenge the process.
  4. enable others to act.
  5. encourage the heart.

This book is about how Christian leaders might apply these five practices in mobilizing others to get extraordinary things done. Kouzes and Posner asked five recognized Christian leaders to reflect on these five practices: John Maxwell, David McAllister-Wilson, Patrick Lencioni, Nancy Ortberg, and Ken Blanchard.

Five strong themes weave together these Christian reflections on the leadership challenge. They give us a deeper appreciation for how faith informs and supports leadership. They also demonstrate that Christian leaders have an important contribution to make to our understanding of the dynamics of the leadership relationship.

One of the more compelling teaching points of the book is found at the end of each chapter, where the author creates five questions for reflection. The questions are meaningful, thought provoking, and establish an entirely fresh aspect of the book.

The most significant contributions leaders make are not to today’s bottom line, say these authors, but to the long-term development of people and institutions that adapt, prosper, and grow.

These authors are worth reading. They bring an invaluable wealth of expertise to the subject of leadership and communicate with excellence and passion.

— Reviewed by T. Ray Rachels, former district superintendent, Southern Californian District of The Assemblies of God, Irvine, California.