Book Review: The Character of Leadership

The Character of Leadership: Six pillars of a leader’s character is a book that is easy to read, probably won’t take you long to read, but will challenge you to build up who you are before you seek to increase what you are. A primary thought behind the book is this: “Leadership will destroy the man whose character is not prepared for it.”

I was introduced to Pastor Gregg Johnson at our Maritime District fall pastor’s conference. He had made the journey from New York state, was our guest speaker for the event, and he had the opportunity to share on some of these thoughts. It was obvious that Pastor Gregg was not writing and speaking about leadership so he could make a lot of money. He never once mentioned the size of his church, how many leaders he led or how many he had groomed over the years. Pastor Gregg’s goal was to challenge pastors and church leaders so that their ministries, families, even their personal lives, would be protected and blessed by God. So when we all received a copy of the book at the conference, I was excited to read it.

The Character of Leadership is not about setting up a checklist for success in leadership, nor is it geared towards working as teams and groups. This is a book for you, the individual. At the core it asks the question, Is your character ready to support what you are leading?

The book addresses six key pillars of character that must be developed and guarded in your personal life:

Integrity

“One’s life may be filled with great accomplishments, but it is integrity that keeps those accomplishments secure” (17). Your successes do not automatically preclude you from temptation and the ability to fall.

Responsibility

“Leadership is not simply a position to be sought after that draws admiration and acclaim; rather, it is hard work, sacrifice and servanthood” (31). He talks about duty, accountability, excellence, and more, all related to the leader’s responsibility.

Humility

Do we look at the people and work that God has given us to lead as something to steward, to protect and to grow? Or do they all exist to increase our fame, our bank account or our legacy? As one who has moved from staff pastor to senior pastor, I would wager that a high percentage of pastors, old and young, are lacking in key elements of humility described here.

Purity

It is no shock to hear that impurity, lack of safeguards, and an openness to the weakness of our sinful nature can cause great devastation, personally and professionally. You may be interested to learn that pastors, too, are tempted by adultery, and even though you may not have a sexual relationship with a member of the opposite sex, you could be entertaining a relationship that still fits the spirit of adultery.

Spirituality

No gift or anointing is evidence of spirituality. Pastor Gregg uses the example of the Corinthian church that was full of spiritual gifts, but were like babes, unable to receive the teaching they needed. True spirituality involves a living, intimate relationship with God.

Charity
    We all know that we must love, but do we really understand what it means when it comes to ministry? “It is impossible to be a true Christ-like leader and not be genuinely concerned with the welfare of others” (84).
    If you are a pastor, a ministry leader, or person of influence in your church, workplace or community, this book is for you. Thank you, Pastor Gregg, for this challenge to build our character.
    The Character of Leadership is available through Pastor Gregg’s website:
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