Over the summer months, Acting Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development Dr. Al Fletcher has invited leaders to share their recommended “Summer Reading Material” for an Up to Camp series. As you pack for camp this summer, grab one of these books to take along! Read Part 1 of the series, here. Frank Frischkorn, Regional Executive Pastor of the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware, shared his recommendation below.
In a day and age when Amazon and christianbook.com are filled to overflowing with offerings on the subject of pastoral leadership, a book that has literally stood the test of time is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. Written as a result of a series of lectures on leadership given in the 1960’s, Sanders’ book of biblical wisdom and practical application is rich in it’s simplicity and power. This isn’t theory for theory’s sake, but rather reflects the spiritual insights of a Christian leader who has walked in the trenches, understanding the challenges that come to a pastor in the day-to-day life that is ‘ministry’.
Written in easy to understand language, Sanders breaks out the topic in twenty-two chapters with such titles as: Prayer and Leadership, The Art of Delegation, The Leader and Time, Insights on Leadership from Paul, Insights on Leadership from Peter, to name a few. If you are thinking that this book has to be a marathon read, you would be wrong. In only 170+ pages, Sanders shares his wisdom with his readers. Given it’s brevity, you might be tempted to conclude that he only scratches the surface of the topic, but you would be wrong. The book is a deep and thoughtful exploration of the topic, filled with pithy and insightful comments. Below you’ll find just a few to whet your appetite:
Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or church assemblies. God alone makes them.
A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment.
Many who aspire to leadership fail because they have never learned to follow.
Vision leads to venture, and history is on the side of venturesome faith. The person of vision takes fresh steps of faith across gullies and chasms not “playing safe” but neither taking foolish risks.
Leaders must draw the best out of people, and friendship does that far better than prolonged argument or mere logic.
Willingness to concede error and to defer to the judgment of one’s peers increases one’s influence rather than diminishes it.
It’s a rich read, and I recommend it to you. I read it when I was in seminary back in the 80’s and have returned to it again and again over the years. If you’ve never explored the book, you would be wise to put it on your summer reading list.
Regional Executive Pastor