“There’s no shortage of leadership books today. So, why are you writing another one, Bill?”
If leaders are honest, they realize that most books on leadership do not address their local challenges. Too often leadership authors reframe the same subjects — how to create and cast vision, build teams, lead with a strategy, or demonstrate godliness.
If they’re not repeating familiar material, many writers endeavor to provide solutions or strategies to solve your problems. It’s easy to let people think for us rather than engage in the work of thinking for ourselves.
When we let people think for us, we quickly adopt cookie-cutter solutions or one-size-fits all approaches. Unfortunately, these solutions cannot keep up with the rapidity of change today. The “intellectual mercenaries” — consultants, writers, or seminar leaders — we hire or consult with cannot write or speak fast enough to address these changes. Want proof of this? Just look around at how our culture has changed since the covid pandemic.
What’s needed? We need biblical practices and principles that enable us to wisely meet local challenges with local strategies designed by local people. This is why I wrote The Ways of the Leader.
Did you notice the word wisely in the above paragraph? This is the one resource that God provides for every leader that’s not dependent upon personal charisma, finances, or paid personnel. God promises to give us wisdom as we seek Him (James 1:5). We need God’s wisdom to meet the short-term and long-term challenges we daily encounter.
I’m writing not to give answers but to provide four practices that can help local leaders gain wisdom to craft local solutions for their local challenges. These everyday leaders are business or ministry leaders, pastors, or neighborhood influencers. They often have limited staff or unpaid volunteers, they lack the big budgets for consultants, and are forced to rely on local resources. How can these leaders wisely meet local challenges?
The Ways of the Leader provides four wisdom-gathering practices or “ways” that any leader, in any setting, can do.
- The Way of lifelong learning. God’s classroom is always in session for the lifelong learner. He or she stops, reflects, and acts upon the lessons that God is teaching daily through experience. Lifelong learning is the skill to extract wisdom from life. With some help everyone can be a lifelong learner.
- The Way of collaborative leadership. Collaborative leaders draw upon the wisdom of the community. Within every church, ministry, business, or neighborhood are people wise through experience. They may not have professional degrees, but they have life wisdom that can be harnessed in collaborative settings. Collaborative leaders pull these “experts” together to craft local solutions to local challenges.
- The Way of cultural wisdom. Everyday leaders must have cultural wisdom —an understanding of one’s context or culture so that we can relate to and adapt to the cultural landscape. What works in one setting may not work in another; we need cultural wisdom to discern what’s appropriate for my local context. To do this we must ask questions, collect clues, and form deductions; we must learn to be cultural detectives.
- The Way of innovation. Ministry innovators are men and women who think in new and fresh ways. Everyone can learn principles of innovation; innovation is not limited to the creative few. Ministry innovation unlocks the wisdom of local leaders and enables them to create new and fresh approaches to local challenges.
So, The Ways of the Leader is not like other leadership books. I don’t cover the customary leadership topics nor do I try to prescribe what you should do in your ministry context. My goal is to provide four biblical practices that will enable you to seek God’s wisdom, understand your local context, and craft local solutions to your local challenges.
You may not have an unlimited budget or a team of paid personnel, but you can access God’s wisdom and practice some wisdom-gathering ways to bring people together and break new ground.
The Ways of the Leader: Four Practices to Bring People Together and Break New Ground is now available to order! It can now be purchased as a book, in Kindle format, or as an audio book.