4-MATBook Review: ReviewingLeadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches by Banks& Ledbetter
Thetitle of the book, Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation ofCurrent Approaches, reveals Banks` and Ledbetter`s interest,regarding finding the correct leadership practices in the Christianworld today. The authors contend that all investigation ofleadership, whether accredited or not, encompasses the subject ofvalues at its core.1Thus, leadership can never be separated from values.
Banksand Ledbetter assert that faith can be used to drive the methodologythat applies to leadership. In fact, they demonstrate the extent towhich this approach is usable in a number of occasions. Paul theApostle is used as an example of how faith can be used to guide aleader’s approach to headship. The writers spend a notable amountof time bringing the reader to an understanding of how Apostle Paulleads his followers. Such an approach is rather unconventional, interms of developing conclusions about the preferable leadershipapproach, when authoring a book. Once a leader gains a comprehensiveunderstanding of how the Word of God applies to leadership, hedevelops a determined and rational perception of leadership, from aChristian perspective. Banks and Ledbetter, in the end, devise anapproach that depicts how people of the Christian faith, in additionto other religions, deal with leadership.
Followingthe principle of Christian values, Banks and Ledbetter assert thatthe only way that a leadership style, crafted from the Christianperspective, can work is by following God’s will. Thus, Godlyleadership can only be satisfied if the method and direction chosenare in tandem with the will of God, his temperament and operation.2In addition, if one has to develop a leadership biblical theologythat is comprehensive, he or she must seek guidance from the body andwork of Jesus Christ. This perception further underpins the assertionof Banks and Ledbetter regarding their unwavering desire of theChristian leader to surrender himself to Jesus.
Banksand Ledbetter also bring to bear leadership approaches that areinadequate, in terms of incorporating a biblical perspective ineveryday practice. The authors come up with an analysis of LaurieBeth Jones` writings. Although Laurie’s books are well-liked bywomen leaders, Banks and Ledbetter describe them as being inadequate.Reason being, Laurie presents her facts in a rather abstract manner.3Although she gives the reader the opportunity to derive his meaningfrom the text, this poses the danger of wrong interpretation. If theoriginal, biblical, definition is different from the one obtained bythe reader, then the entire concept, conveyed in the message, becomesirrelevant.
Thetenets underlying a genuinely Christian leadership approach also comeinto view. Banks and Ledbetter advance integrity, faithfulness, andservice as being core to the practices of a Christian leader. Banksand Ledbetter highlight the viewpoints of writers such as RobertGreenleaf. Greenleaf was a proponent of the concept ‘servantleadership.’4The authors develop insights into the essence of servant leadershipand how this type of leadership can be perceived negatively by peoplesuffering from the ills of inequality. The authors also give anaccount of critical questions about leadership.5Pertinent questions, regarding leadership, are asked, and thepractices of leaders such as Kirkegaard highlighted. In the end, thereader realizes that there is always more than one way to lead.
Afterreading this book, I remembered my experience as a coursework groupleader for the first time. I remember assuming that leading was notgoing to be such a difficult undertaking since we were all grownupsand capable of thinking on our own. However, on the first day of thegroup discussion, only five out of twenty people attended themeeting. I was confused, taking into consideration the fact that Ihad informed everyone about the time and venue of our meeting. Mycolleagues requested me to punish the absentees by forcing them tocater for all the charges associated with the coursework, forexample, the cost of printing out the drafts and the final copy ofthe group coursework document.
Afterthe discussion, I went home and chose to pray over the problem. Ifelt that forcing the absent individuals was unfair, but I was alsointerested in considering the feelings of the attendees. Afterpraying, I decided to read the scripture. I opened my bible and readthe book of Mark. I studied Jesus’ parables to his disciples andfollowers (Mark 12 NIV). All the verses seemed to reveal the need forpeople to undertake their responsibilities. For example, Jesus toldthe Pharisees and Herodians that they were supposed to give Caesarwhat belonged to him, and to God what was His. After reading thescripture, I decided to implement the punishment that the attendeeshad proposed. This move prompted all group members to attend allsubsequent meetings.
Banksand Ledbetter discuss leadership in a rather unique way they offerinsights into how faith plays into a person’s view of leadership.However, such an approach, to a certain extent, does not entirelycover the dynamics of leadership vis-a-vis faith. Although theyrealize the task somewhat decently, one cannot help but questiontheir illustration of individuals’ worldview of leadership from aChristian viewpoint.
Tobegin with, the title of the book, Reviewing Leadership: A ChristianEvaluation of Current Approaches, does not entirely reflect itcontent. Right, the two authors Reviewed Leadership however, theydid not offer a concrete analysis of Christian Evaluation. Reasonbeing, Banks and Ledbetter praise men like Robert Schuler andKierkegaard these individuals were not very Christian in theirbeliefs and practices. Thus, the book offers a less than Christianview of a Christian approach to leadership. At most, the book can besaid to be driven by Christian values, which, by extension, does notnecessarily imply that it is a Christian book.
Tomake the book more valuable to its readers, Banks and Ledbettershould have considered developing a more insightful approach toevaluating Christianity. Instead of using individuals such as Schulerand Kierkegaard, Banks and Ledbetter should have used reputable menof faith such as T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Billy Graham. Inaddition, Banks and Ledbetter should also have made a clearerreference to the Bible. The authors examined Paul’s letters andeven mentioned Jesus in their book however, they did not account forwhat the concept Christian really means. Developing a clear pictureof how Christian leaders should act vis-s-vis the teachings of theBible would have made the book more insightful.
Iintend to become a Christian Counselor upon completing my graduateprogram. I will use the Power of Prayer, God’s truth, and the HolySpirit to reach my clients, with the intention of making importantchanges in their lives. In addition, I will also share with them mypersonal life experiences in a bid to help my clients develop trustand relate to me at a more personal level, and to also make themunderstand that I am aware of their predicaments.
Withtime, I hope to be an example of compassion, love, understanding, anda more satisfactory life on the other side of my patients’predicaments. By humbling myself before God and my clients, I believeI will be in a position to unlock the mental and physical barriers tothe issues affecting my clients. My understanding of 1 Peter 4:10,NIV informed this assertion. The Bible asserts that serving otherpeople, with the only intention of reflecting the love of God andhelping them come to his presence, may be an experience that isinvaluable (I Peter 4, 10 NIV).
Ibelieve that many people in the world need peace and to be comforted,in their lives, to find their way back to the path of righteousness.Being the person that helps such individuals find their way back toChrist would offer me a lot of satisfaction in life. I believe thatthrough prayer and meditation upon the word of God, I can achieveanything. I have always wanted to make a meaningful impact in theworld through my Christian Counselor profession.
Toachieve the above, I intend to begin by looking for an attachment ina reputable Christian Counselor firm. I will do this within the firsttwo months after graduating. The attachment will help me gainsignificant insights into how theory and practice come into contact.Such an understanding will reveal the value of prayer in a number ofways. First, I will find appropriate ways to cater for the needs ofclients who need God`s intervention in their lives. Second. I willgain an understanding of how, as a Christian, I can influence theworlds of others through my lifestyle preferences. Lastly, I willlearn to interpret the will of God in other people’s lives.
Aftergaining insights into how the world works, I will set out to forge apath of my own. During my six to twelve months attachment, I intendto look for a few mentors, investors, and partners who will guide methrough the process of developing my Christian counselor firm. I willwork closely with these individuals throughout the planning period tothe inception of my firm. I will ensure to found the company onChristian morals, and all employees and stakeholders believe andbehave in a fashion that is acceptable before God.
Afterincepting my firm, over a period of seven to nine months, I will setout to change the lives of my clients. I will begin my work from myarea of operation, and then gradually expand to neighboring regions.I believe this process will last approximately one to two years. Iwill pray to God for guidance as I grow my firm. Although I will needfunds, I will not let the desire for money influence my work. I willcater to the needs of all people who need help. With time, I hope toreach people living in Africa, especially in war-prone areas like DRCCongo, Somalia, and South Sudan.
Ledbetter,Bernice M and Robert Banks. ReviewingLeadership.Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004.
1 Bernice M. Ledbetter and Robert Banks, Reviewing Leadership (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 33.
2 Ibid., 17
3 Bernice M. Ledbetter and Robert Banks, Reviewing Leadership (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 57.
4 Ibid., 95
5 Ibid., 113