Nearing completion of a course on the integration of the Christian faith in the workplace, I went to the AU book store to see how many of the required books were left. To my surprise, all of the extra copies of the book required on leadership had been bought out by the students in the course. This was a not too subtle hint that the book was a success and I would need to keep additional copies in my office for recommended readings to friends, co-workers, and those whom I advise on occasion on the subject of leadership. The book is The Ascent of a Leader and it was written by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath. It is published by Jossey-Bass. This was and is a book that I recommend to those persons in leadership in the church and business world.
The subtitle of The Ascent of a Leader is, ‘How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence.’ The vehicle the authors use is the traditional ladder to success yet they envision a different stepping process to reach the top of the ladder. Also, they explore the very meaning of success as the end goal of climbing this proverbial ladder. The first half of the book concentrates on the environment and the relationships encountered in the process of being the leader. Environments are to be created and relationships are to be nurtured that allow for a growth that ultimately pleases God who is the final judge of success. In the second half of the book the authors examine in metaphors the various rungs of the ladder to be climbed. Such issues as trust, vulnerability, truth, destiny and balance are all thoroughly examined going up the ladder of success.
At the heart of this study in leadership and success is an examination of character. As a matter of fact the ladder itself is called the Character Ladder. Simply gaining knowledge about leadership without investing in examination of that knowledge’s applicability, context and relationship with community via the character of the leader would be shortsighted. The character of the leader is demonstrated in his or her beliefs in action which in turn validate each other. Also at the heart of this study is an examination of the value of work. The authors examine the Biblical perspective of God-Faith-Belief in action as opposed to the current Greek philosophical perspective of Truth-Faith-Belief to be attained. Key to this is the displacement of God in the Biblical perspective with the illusive culture based definition of truth. If God is not the author and finisher of truth then who is? The authors base their biases on the faith that the God of the bible is the source of any truth in leadership.
“Tools for a Pastor’s Toolbox” would be incomplete without a copy of The Ascent of a Leader.
Question: What are your favorite books you use as resources in your ministry?
Dr. Motes is Associate Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University and has brought over 20 years experience in Church related ministry from service in Churches in Virginia, North and South Carolina. He has worked in Associational Missions, has taught and continues to teach a variety of subjects in church settings, and is published in Sunday School Leadership magazine. As an “Army brat” his upbringing has enriched his multi-cultural perspective for ministry.