Malphurs reminds the prospective leader that leadership starts with servitude and humility. Love must be ingrained in all that is done. However, the leader must know himself before being able to lead anyone else. The notion of knowing one's self was not new to me, but something about the way Malphurs kept going to it throughout the book made me rethink some things in my own life. When we truly know ourselves, our personal vision, and what our leadership and ministry styles are, we are better prepared for opportunities and also better prepared to say no and to withdraw from some opportunities. We must be true to ourselves and who God is making us to be.
Malphurs also speaks of gaining trust as a leader and learning how to admit, apologize, and act in situations where credibility may be on the line. Malphurs delves into the traits and tools of a good leader and dissolves the notion that each leader has to have certain characteristics. As he points out in the book, God uses a myriad of people to lead His causes. One thing leaders do have however is influence, and Malphurs speaks on the importance of being able to influence situations and others to work together for the vision of Christ. He also speaks of the Following Leader in which leadership is all about following. Malphurs claims that good leaders will always be following someone themselves. Good leaders always learn, read, and grow. The old adage came to mind that you can't take someone further than you've ever been yourself.
Lastly, Malphurs talks about situational leadership where he delves into the nuts and bolts of finding the right church fit in terms of pastoral leaders. He speaks bluntly of types of churches and their leaderships structures. He talks about the process that a leader should go through to understand the type of church he may be leading and to determine if the two are a fit. It was this section that really jumped out at me. As much as we know God can change people, places, and things, some churches historically and traditionally only desire to do things a certain way. Some churches only have a vision for one thing and when its achieved, it's over. Malphurs points out that a leader must understand his calling, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, spiritual and doctrinal essentials, and vision to be able to determine if he is a fit with a particular church. If the fit isn't there, then frustration will ensue.
The back of the book is filled with surveys, tests, and information in the Appendix. These measurables are great and allow the reader to work along with Malphurs in the book as he refers to the tests throughout. I'd say that if someone wanted to read a book on leadership, they would need to start here with Malphurs if they wanted a practical, straight forward look at leadership and the church. Great book!