Table of Contents
Critique and Evaluation
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Book Review on “Spiritual Leadership” by Henry and Richard Blackaby
Following the rules of God can be rather a challenge in modern society. One faces many rapid changes and factors that influence the way of thinking and the perception of the world. Many people believe that the religious spirituality decreases nowadays. “Spiritual Leadership” is a book that describes effective ways of improving the well-being of people by leading and making them closer to God. In the following paper, the summary and critical evaluation of the book will be presented.
The book under evaluation is entitled “Spiritual Leadership: Moving People to God’s Agenda”. It was written by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. The book was published by B&H Publishing Group in 2011. It is regarded as one of the best examples of the way to successful leadership with the help of spiritual pieces of advice and direction. The book comprises of thirteen chapters. The main points of every chapter will be presented in the paper.
“Chapter One: The Leader’s Challenge” — Authors dwell on the role of leaders in a modernized society. The technological age gives the possibility to improve one’s knowledge and skills continuously. Nowadays, leaders experience an enormous pressure and criticism. Blackaby and Blackaby continue with the evaluation of the role of leadership in politics, business, and church.
In politics, leaders realize that people cannot be shocked by anything, and it makes rather a challenge for their direction. In business, leaders are expected to create new ways of improvement of employees’ performance. The church needs leaders desperately nowadays. The lack of leadership strategies causes the death of the church 1 .
“Chapter Two: The Leader’s Role: What Leaders Do” — The chapter starts with the evaluation of various definitions of leadership. The term “spiritual leader” is used to denote the person who follows the rules of behavior of the Father. Religious leaders should follow the model of leadership established by Jesus — obey the Father in everything and let him lead. Various characteristics of leaders are discussed in the chapter.
“Chapter Three: The Leader’s Preparation: How God Develops Leaders” —God chooses and prepares leaders. Leaders improve their characters when they experience various crises and face problems in life. Leadership abilities derive from particular features of character. Thus, leaders are not born. One has to work on personal features to become a spiritual leader. Trust in God and obedience promotes the preparation of leader.
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“Chapter Four: The Leader’s Vision: Where do Leaders Get it, and How Do They Communicate it?” — Vision is an essential part when it comes to leadership in any organization. The vision of spiritual leaders is gained from the revelation of God. Sometimes, success can be the worst enemy of leaders. It is necessary to follow God’s direction and familiarize people with His visions.
“Chapter Five: The Leader’s Goal: Moving People on to God’s Agenda” — Worthy and unworthy organizational goals are described in the chapter. Unworthy goals are the achievement of results, perfectionism, and size. People often forget about spirituality while moving towards particular objectives.
The same is with perfectionism — one may lose his or her way when being too focused on excellence. Size is not a determinant of success. The first worthy objective is the development of people, making them closer to God. The second goal is to teach people how to lead. Finally, spiritual leaders should glorify God.
“Chapter Six: The Leader’s Character: A Life that Moves Others to Follow” — Power, position, and personal traits are regarded as illegitimate sources of influence for leaders. Spiritual leaders should search the following sources: authentication of God, speaking with God, and integrity of features of character. Spiritual leaders should not forget that they are guided by God. Their activity should be directed to make people closer to God.
“Chapter Seven: The Leader’s Influence: How Leaders Lead” — Leaders pray to find strengths to execute their mission. Besides, leaders should be hardworking and good at communication. Spiritual leaders should follow Jesus’ model of leadership that presupposes personal sacrifice. Leaders should serve other people and promote positive attitudes.
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“Chapter Eight: The Leader’s Decision Making” — Spiritual leaders rely on the Father in finding the best solutions. Even if the solution is wrong, the leader should be able to accept its consequences. Leaders should improve their decision-making with the help of evaluation of their mistakes and learning from history. Spiritual leaders should always be accountable to God for their decisions 2 .
“Chapter Nine: The Leader’s Schedule: Doing What’s Important” — Leaders control their time by subjugating it to God’s will, readiness to reject opportunities, organizing their daily routines, assigning tasks to others, and concentrating. Good leaders value time-keeping. Leaders understand that God never leads them to harmful consequences such as burnouts.
“Chapter Ten: Leadership and Change” — Spiritual leaders follow God’s directions during the implementation of changes. They pay attention to the organizational culture and direct followers with the help of feeling of urgency. It is important to become a part of the change and support people until the end.
“Chapter Eleven: Building Effective Teams” — Leaders have to hire right people with the different opinions concerning the same issues. Effective teams should be diverse to challenge various matters and continue developing. Leaders should direct organizational focus and communicate with employees.
“Chapter Twelve: The Leader’s Pitfalls: What Disqualifies Leaders?” — Such pitfalls as pride, sexual sin, cynicism, greed, laziness, oversensitivity, apathy, and carelessness negatively influence leadership skills. These features make leaders vulnerable and distracted from God and their primary goal. Consequently, leaders should understand potential pitfalls. It is necessary to evaluate one’s performance regularly and ask right questions 3 .
“Chapter Thirteen: The Leader’s Rewards” — Leaders achieve rewards for their activities in two different areas. The first is spiritual. Thus, leaders receive God’s affirmation. Nothing can be better that the realization of the fact that one’s mission has been fulfilled. The second area refers to personal communication and relationships. Spiritual leaders have integrity in their homes and friends. They are good performers at work too.
Critique and Evaluation
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The book under consideration is a successful example of leadership practices. Authors of the book are the father and the son who have been engaged in the Christian affairs and experienced a lot of things on their own. I would like to start from the evaluation of the very structure of the book. “Spiritual Leadership” comprises of thirteen chapters.
Every chapter is devoted to the particular topic connected with leadership. It should be noted that the whole book is easy to read because of the proper arrangement and the flow of chapters. Authors describe one topic, and the next one seems to be the logical continuation of the previous. For example, the first chapter is devoted to the subject of leadership in general and its definition. When the difference between spiritual leadership and leadership is defined, authors move to the description of leader’s responsibilities.
Thus, all chapters are organized in a cohesive manner. Also, every chapter aims at the full description of the particular aspect of the spiritual leadership. Nevertheless, sometimes chapters are too long and divided into too many subsections. In my opinion, it would be more efficient to split the book into several parts, and then subdivide it into small sections. It would be better for the visualization and comprehension of the material.
The content of the book under evaluation will be analyzed from the points of its strengths and weaknesses. The manner of information presentation should be regarded as the strength of the book. Authors do not write about particular theories. They use personal experience as the source of information.
Authors make use of the individual and collective wisdom of their precursors. They provide examples of history to prove their words and the efficiency of particular approaches to leadership. Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby refer to such personalities as Jesus Christ when describing their understanding of leadership. It is an extremely useful way of approaching audience. The other significant strength of the book that it presents diverse information. Authors do not only focus on spirituality.
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They refer to other areas of human life. They emphasize the significance of the development of positive attitudes and relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. It is stated that the spiritual leader follows the same principles in all aspects of his life. The third strength of the book refers to the relevant examples and information. Authors employ a variety of historical facts and biblical evidence to prove their opinions and demonstrate the particular point of view.
“Spiritual Leadership” has several weaknesses as well. The first weakness concerns the lack of exact examples in several parts of the book. Although authors utilize different evidence throughout the book, sometimes there are no examples or proof. It is often repeated that one has to follow God’s will while making decisions. Nevertheless, it may be challenging to understand the idea of authors in such statements. Thus, the lack of clarity of some facts is the first disadvantage.
The second weakness is the absence of leadership theories. The book is full of useful pieces of advice and examples, but reviews.io it lacks the exact theory. For instance, when authors write about the building of effective teams, they mention that it is important to support team, listen to them, and direct their activities. A theoretical ground of participative and directive leadership styles can be used for the better description of such approaches.
Finally, authors do not manage to include various modern controversies in the book. They do not provide pieces of advice concerning the proper behavior in challenging situations. The book is full of useful recommendations, but most of them are rather general and cannot be applied to all real life situations.
“Spiritual Leadership: Moving People to God’s Agenda” is a collection of wisdom and useful practical pieces of advice concerning spiritual leadership. The aim of spiritual leadership is to lead people to the proper way of life, the life that can be blessed by God.
The book comprises of thirteen chapters that contain useful information about various aspects of leadership. Primary strengths of the book are the cohesive manner of writing, emphasis on personal experience, and diversity. The lack of theories, examples, and practical guides for controversial situations are weaknesses of the book.
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Blackaby, Henry and Richard Blackaby. Spiritual Leadership . Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011.
1 Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011), 1-31.
2 Blackaby and Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership , 219-243.
3 Blackaby and Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership , 313-351.