Book 10 in the #EmptyShelf Challenge is the Choice, a Biblical approach to Christ-centered personal and organizational leadership.
Title: The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes
Author: Gary G. Hoag, R. Scott Rodin, and Wesley K. Willmer
Publisher: ECFA Press (2014)
What the book is about
The introduction of The Choice says, “This book is about recalculating the route for Christ-centered ministry. Its underlying assumption is that far too many churches and ministries operate according to unexamined presuppositions that drive everything they do.” In other words, this book is a dusting-off of the compass that provides direction for Christian leaders and a challenge to get out the microscope, too, to closely examine why leaders do what they do.
The language of the book suggests it is aimed at Christian ministries, and perhaps that was the authors’ intent. However, after reading it, I can’t see how any Christian leader in any setting wouldn’t benefit from these ideas.
The Choice starts with a challenging look at the definition and measurement of success, followed by a very good set of chapters that uncover Satan’s three main tactical weapons: temptation of control, temptation of idolatry, and temptation of pride. I can’t think of a single sin that doesn’t fit one of those categories. The book closes with a list of “ten marks of Christ-centered ministry” and a study guide with resources.
Why I read this book
This book was selected by the leader of a business owner’s lunch and discussion group that I participate in. However, I wanted to read this book because I see so much dysfunctional leadership, not surprisingly in secular settings, but also among Christians leading in secular settings as well as Christian ministries and churches. I was hoping to discover a concise Biblical approach to Christian leadership. The Choice mostly succeeds.
Sometimes the approach is a little two-dimensional in dealing with some difficult and nuanced concepts (e.g. measuring success), but with a full reading of the book, you will discover a very firm foundation for effective leadership. Is this all a Christian leader will need to be effective? No, but The Choice plays an important role in that objective.
The two most helpful concepts in this book are the Ten Marks of Christ-centered Ministry and the Three Temptations of Control, Idolatry, and Pride. That latter concept has helped me quickly diagnose my own shortcomings in situations I have not handled well lately. Those chapters have helped me see more clearly how Satan uses temptation of control, idolatry, and pride to keep my eyes off Christ and on myself. We all know, Christ follower or not, that self-centered leadership is a recipe for at least mediocrity and often disaster.
Do I recommend this book?
Yes, this brief (117 page) book is a good blueprint for personal and organizational leadership.
(Click here to learn more about the #EmptyShelf Challenge.)
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.