It’s a while since I’ve been as excited about a book on leadership as I am about this one. Craig Hamilton’s Wisdom in Leadership is a treasure chest of wisdom. It’s set to become my “go to” book for Christian leaders and I’ve already pre-ordered copies for each member of our church’s leadership group.
Craig has managed to successfully integrate Christ-focused biblical theology and gospel priorities with the best of the literature and practical wisdom. There is a depth of maturity about this book that belies the age of the author. He’s studied the Scriptures, he’s read widely from the best, and he’s tested and refined his wisdom in the course of his own ministry.
Wisdom in Leadership begins with a clear theological foundation that avoids the common practice of arguing prescription from the descriptions of leaders in the Bible. I’d buy the book for this section alone. It’s an excellent example of how to think theologically and then apply our thinking to what we do. The gospel of Jesus, the strength of God, the dependability of the Bible, the necessity of prayer, the significance of serving others, and the importance of being before doing — all take priority over the particulars and practicalities of leadership.
This is a big book. It’s almost 500 pages and it contains 78 different chapters. It’s really a compendium of quality advice on a wide range of leadership matters. When I first read it, I could imagine it being a series of short books on a range of leadership topics, or a long series of posts on a quality leadership website. But I love the fact that Craig has gathered so much together into one volume. It’s the type of book to write notes in, to return to topics over and again, and to dip in and sample, rather than having to read from cover to cover. I expect to refer to chapters and use them as discussion starters with different groups of leaders. I’ve already written summaries, comments, questions, and tips for application in the margins of my book. I’ve typed up a 20-page summary of quotes and ideas from the book, so that I can remember where to go for what.
Here’s a taste of quotes to whet your appetite:
“The biblical model of leadership” is a stupid title because of the words leadership, model, biblical, and the. I do want to make it clear, though, that I quite like the word ‘of’. (p 30)
You want to be a leader? Good. You want to be a great leader? You want to be the greatest? That’s good too. Be a servant. Be the greatest servant. Serve everyone you can. Everyone you meet. Be all about others; be in it for others. (p 53)
Who God wants you to be will always have an impact on what God wants you to do. Secret sins will choke your heart and erode your ministry. Deal with them tirelessly and repent of them quickly. (p 73)
Submitting to authority, being a follower, is a mark of maturity. Those who can’t follow, or are unwilling to follow another leader, shouldn’t lead. It’s a lack of character that needs to be addressed. (p 120)
Leading is pain. It’s part of the job. And if you’re planning on not being hurt then you’re planning on not being a leader. (p 135)
When it comes to how you view the world, the future, and your life, if you’re measuring your circumstances then you’re measuring the wrong thing. Your hope is not based on the shape of your circumstances but on the size of your God. (p164)
Having read this book for myself, I’m looking forward to working through it with others. I anticipate using it as a reference tool for many areas of leadership development. Wisdom in Leadership will help to get our leaders onto the same page, working together for common goals, with a unity of spirit and purpose.
If you’ve read widely in the world of leadership, management, teamwork, time management, change and the like, then Wisdom in Leadership will serve as a refresher course by selecting from the best of the best, adding some home-grown wisdom, and distilling it all through the lens of the Scriptures. If you’re starting out on the task of becoming a leader, or you’re training up new leaders, then I’d recommend saving a lot of time and money by starting with this book first.
This review first appeared on The Gospel Coalition Australia website.