38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2000
This book is definitely read at your own risk because it may change your view of church leadership. It is a corrective book for the 21st century paradigm. The author builds seven principles of leadership:
#1: Humble Your Heart #2: First Be A Follower #3: Find Greatness In Service #4: Take Risks #5: Take Up The Towel #6: Share Responsibility & Authority #7: Build A Team
HUMBLE YOUR HEART
Humility is the most counterculture quality in the Bible. The author states," Two distinguishing character qualities of a servant leader are humility and the ability to wait." Humility can only begin when you have a true picture of yourself before God. He does a nice job with a pragmatic definition wof waiting: reflection, prayer and expectation.
FIRST BE A FOLLOWER
"A person can be assigned, selected or designated for a position, but a person cannot be appointed to leadership", is a major quote for this section. Two conclusion developed here: 1: AS LONG AS POSITION IS HONORED ABOVE DISCIPLESHIP, CHURCH LEADERS WILL HONOR THE AMBITIOUS OVER THE OBEDIENT.
2: AMBITION IS NOT THE SAME THING AS WILLINGNESS TO FOLLOW JESUS TO THE CROSS.
FIND GREATNESS IN SERVICE
The author takes two examples on leadership spoken by the Lord: 1) "Lord it over them" and 2) "Exercise authority". TO LORD IT OVER SOMEONE MEANS TO SUBJECT HIM TO YOUR POWER. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH HIS QUESTIONS.
Quoting Joel Barker, "It is still a great risk in our society to offer new rules for the game", the author develops two points. 1: FILLING ORGANIZATIONAL CHARTS WITH WARM BODIES WILL CERTAINLY KILL A CHURCH. FREEING GOD'S PEOPLE TO SERVE AS GOD HAS GIFTED THEM MAKES A CHURCH GROW.
2: ENTHUSIASM DRAINS WHEN A CHURCH GETS OFF ITS MISSION AND FOCUSES ON SHORT TERM GOALS RATHER THAN ON ETERNAL PURPOSES.
TAKE UP THE TOWEL
The author draws contrast to leading by words versus giving people a picture. He emphasizes the need for "story-telling" and "picture-painting" leadership to replace the model of human schemes. Service is demonstrated by "taking up the towel".
SHARED RESPONSIBILITY & AUTHORITY
Good equippers do it like Jesus did: recruit twelve, graduate eleven and focus on three, according to Lynn Anderson. The issue of this section is how responsibility without authority disempowers people. The author makes a radical statement in affirming that: GRUMBLING BY MEMBERS ON A MISSION SIMPLY MEANS THAT LEADERS HAVE NEGLECTED TO ADDRESS A NEED ADEQUATELY.
BUILD A TEAM
Basic changes take place very slowly, if at all, because those with the power generally have no knowledge, and those with the knowledge have no power. A leader cannot be truly effective until he includes those who he leads in all he does. The major point here is: LEADERS WEAR OUT THEIR FOLLOWERS & THEMSELVES WHEN THEY TRY TO LEAD ALONE.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2002
Much like Jesus sending the seventy out with only the essentials they would need, Gene Wilkes packs the basics you need for leadership in one volume.
He starts with the most primary issue: the heart. Leaders must first be followers of Jesus. He then deals with what seems like an oxymoron: servant leadership. How is one both a servant and a leader at the same time? His answer is that a servant leader is someone who serves the mission and leads by serving those on mission with him.
Following Jesus' lead, Wilkes then discusses how leaders form teams who together can accomplish much more than an individual can. Throughout the book are leads to other resources that can equip leaders further. Discussion questions and action steps also are helpful. Leadership insights from Jesus that can be seen in the secular world are peppered within the pages of this book.
I had the privelege of spending a day with Wilkes in which I discovered he is truly a humble servant of God who has been given a passion for developing servant leaders. This book will help you do the same.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I've read several books on leadership, and this one is now near the top of my most-favored list. It is very readable, yet profound. The author condenses a wealth of timeless principles into approximately 200 pages.
Most readers nowadays are familiar with the notion of servant leadership, so Wilkes' principles are not new. What is refreshing is the fresh way he communicates those principles. My favorite aspect of this work is the servant-sayings scattered throughout the pages. For example, the author remarks, "You will never become a servant leader until you first become a servant to the Leader." Another excerpt says, "You are not the leader until the group you are leading says so." A third quote reads, "Servant leaders humble themselves and wait for God to exalt them."
This book was highly recommended to me, and I in turn recommend it to all Christian leaders.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2009
Many Christian authors have undertaken the task of identifying the leadership style of Jesus, and there is disagreement about the most important aspect of Jesus' leadership. The distinctions drawn tend to mirror the various approaches to leadership theory in general. For instance, Leighton Ford studies the leadership of Jesus from the perspective of "transforming leadership," echoing the writings of James MacGregor Burns. Ford writes how Jesus is the best example of a transformational leader - divesting himself of his power and investing it in his followers, empowering them for their tasks, and reproducing himself in their leadership (Leighton Ford, Transforming Leadership: Jesus' Way of Creating Vision, Shaping Values, and Empowering Change. Downer's Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1991, 15-16). Other writers such as Wilkes, Efrain Agosto, Don N. Howell, Jr., and Ken Blanchard approach the topic of Jesus' leadership from the perspective of servant-leadership, often echoing the themes found in the writings of Robert K. Greenleaf. As found in the Appendix to Jesus on Leadership, these authors claim that Jesus is the best example of and the true source of servant-leadership, giving a more complete picture where secular conceptions fall short. Whether using the term "servant leader" or "transformational leader," it appears that Christian writers have a tendency to borrow the rubric and concepts of secular leadership studies and cast those concepts in a Christian light.
Those familiar with leadership studies and theories can pick up Wilkes' book and find themselves on familiar ground because he uses the tools they often work with: mission, vision, values, and forming/equipping teams, for example. While this makes Jesus on Leadership accessible to a non-Christian audience, the question remains as to whether or not kingdom leadership or Jesus' leadership can be conceived of and discussed in a distinctively Christian setting without borrowing terms and concepts from the secular world. Is Jesus more than a "great man" with the traits making him the perfect embodiment of various leadership theories? Wilkes' use of the popular leadership terms is not a hindrance, however, but serves to draw those familiar with leadership studies into a more Christ-like conception of the issues involved.
There is much agreement that servant-leadership captures Jesus' approach to leadership. While there is agreement within the literature on the centrality of servant-leadership for Jesus, there is some divergence on the object or recipient of the service involved, and the defining characteristics of the servant leader. Efrain Agosto emphasizes what a servant leader does by describing Jesus' teachings on and examples of concern for the poor and oppressed. The servant leader serves the needy through social justice (Efrain Agosto, Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2005). Wilkes writes that the servant leader serves the mission given by God and serves those who are on mission with the servant leader. Both Agosto and Wilkes emphasize the action involved in being a servant-leader, and both highlight the importance of following the lead of the Father, using power and authority correctly, and equipping others for service. Wilkes gives a broader understanding of servant-leadership by not connecting it to the concept of social justice, but one might question Wilkes' qualification of "serving those on mission" (18). Certainly Jesus served to meet the needs of those who were not on mission with him or his disciples, providing a leadership example for all who witnessed his actions, as Agosto points out. Blanchard and Hodges write of the leadership roles each person has, whether organizational leadership or life-role leadership (such as parents), and they stress the call of Christ to be servant-leaders within any and all leadership contexts (Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005, 8-14). Perhaps the example of servant-leadership presented by these authors reveals the importance of meeting the needs of which the servant-leader is aware.
Jesus on Leadership is well written, with strong and relevant examples drawn from the author's own experience with leading as a servant. This is not solely the voice of a theorist, but also of a servant who has learned to follow the lead of Christ. The examples used illustrate and unpack the teachings of Christ and help readers to conceive of the practicality, and cost, of being a servant leader. The book is appropriate for Christians not only in ministry positions, but also for those in leadership in business, education, politics, and elsewhere. Wilkes has indeed presented "timeless wisdom on servant leadership."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2007
What a blessing this book is! I so appreciate the heart of the author, who admits, as much as he was and is gifted in leadership and had studied leadership principles thoroughly, he had stopped leading.
The book is full of Biblical leadership principles to refresh and renew pastors and layity who may find they have been leading, but no one is following (in other words, they are no longer leading). Thank you, Gene Wilkes, for your obedience and your humble heart.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2010
Wilkes' book delivers its message of servant leadership (from a Christian perspective) through seven principles. While it is sometimes tedious to have that seven-step approach presented in books, the book really is more of an elaboration of two or three central themes than a step-by-step manual. Wilkes combines quotes from a number of leadership gurus and Scriptural and personal wisdom to discuss the way a Christian person should lead. He struggles at times to deliver a consistently enriching study but at times seems to capture a leadership principle very capably. He is certainly well-read in this genre of literature and these ideas. The book brings up interesting observations as to how leaders can operate in the manner and method of Jesus. From that standpoint, it does not disappoint. It would do well for all of us think to think more on how Jesus led, as this would save us from a lot of unproductive leading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2007
This is the MOST MOTIVATIONAL BOOK on the market. If you're not a Christian and want a cut to the chase lesson in what makes a successful man - READ THIS BOOK! If you are a Christian, you will learn something you forgot you knew, enjoy the refresher lesson and the presentation will inspire you to be better at whatever you do. Do yourself and somebody you love a favor and buy two. They'll be glad you did. The CONTENT IS PROFITABLE and THE PRICE IS RIGHT!