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Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership [Paperback]

Aubrey Malphurs
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2013
What makes a leader a Christian leader? Too many churches and parachurch groups operate under secular leadership principles and strategies without considering what Scripture teaches. In this accessible and comprehensive book, leadership expert Aubrey Malphurs articulates a working definition of Christian leadership based on the Bible and his own extensive research.
Malphurs begins by defining a uniquely Christian leader from the inside out, from godly character and commitment to pure motives and a servant attitude. He examines the leaders of the first-century church and then discusses qualities such as credibility, capability, and influence that are essential for successful leadership. Each chapter contains helpful questions for reflection and discussion. The appendix includes numerous audits to help readers evaluate themselves on various leadership components.
Being Leaders is the first book of a two-part series on leadership. The companion book will address the how-to of building leaders.


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From the Back Cover

What are the distinctive characteristics of Christian leaders?

Too many churches and parachurch groups are blindly operating under secular leadership principles and strategies. Concerned to counter this drift, leadership expert Aubrey Malphurs 1) articulates a working definition of a Christian leader and leadership based on Scripture and his own extensive research, and 2) challenges you to define and develop leadership in your ministry.

Malphurs then describes in detail the specific characteristics of leaders, such as commitment to Christ, caring, trustworthiness, a servant attitude, and having followers. Each chapter ends with helpful questions for reflection and discussion. Included in the appendices are several inventories that will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses in leadership as well as your leadership style, ideal ministry circumstances, and much more.

Aubrey Malphurs is professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary. A nationally recognized expert on leadership issues, he is the author of a dozen books and the president of The Malphurs Group (www.malphursgroup.com), a training and consulting organization.

About the Author

Aubrey Malphurs is professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. The author of a dozen books, he is also the president of The Malphurs Group, a training and consulting organization.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Malphurs Excels, as Usual! Dec 27 2003
Format:Paperback
This book is the second one I have read by Aubrey Malphurs. The first one dealt with values-driven leadership in general, this one focuses on the role of the pastor in particular. His comments in both volumes are insightful and inspirational.
The most memorable point Malphurs makes is that the primary job of a shepherd is not just to love, but to lead. He refutes the popular notion that being a shepherd of God's people implies focusing on the ministry of pastoral care. While pastoral care should not be neglected, the biblical truth is that the shepherds primarily lead. Getting back to this scriptural pattern will empower the church to be a more effective, transforming force in the world today.
Malphurs' work is always top-notch. He is profound, yet not difficult to follow. He is deep, but never bogged down. I recommend this work highly to all Christian pastors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener Dec 11 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Makes a strong case for a new approach to leadership. Challenges leaders to use their gifts to lead. Tools are included in appendices to assess leadership needs and to address them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Guide for Pastoral Leadership Sept. 15 2005
By Brian Prucey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purpose of the Book

Malphurs recognized that many today are taking about the importance of leaders and leadership, but few have adequately marked out what leadership is and what leaders do. Further complicating the issue is the distinction between secular and sacred leaders. Thus, in the eight chapters of Being Leaders, Malphurs provided eight characteristics that comprise his definition of an authentic Christian leader in today's world. Malphurs addressed the topic of Christian leadership from a biblical perspective informed and clarified by his professional research. Malphurs further hoped that by offering his opinions he would provoke Christian leaders to thoughtfully consider their own definition and philosophy of leadership.

Organization and Content

Malphurs began by clarifying his definition of a Christian leader and Christian leadership. Specifically, "Christian leaders are servants with the credibility and capabilities to influence people in a particular context to pursue their God-given direction" (10). Similarly, "Christian leadership is the process whereby servants use their credibility and capability to influence people in a particular context to pursue their God-given direction" (10). Malphurs's definitions may lack in pithiness, but they are strong in substance. The flow of the book fleshes out his definitions.

In chapter 1, Malphur's discussed his eight characteristics of Christian leadership and how those characteristics were evident in first-century Christian leaders. A Christian leader is fundamentally a committed follower of Jesus Christ, guided and empowered by God, serving God's purposes in the church, and doing it all with a Christ-like character and attitude.

In chapter 2, Malphurs examined the role of leaders (specifically pastoral leader) as shepherd and servant. Four core values make up a servant leader's heart: humility, service, others-centered, and love. As a servant, the leader equips members to pursue their God-given purposes. Chapter 3 addressed the leader's need for credibility and trustworthiness. Malphurs offered eight ingredients that build leadership credibility and five steps for regaining lost credibility. Chapter 4 dealt with the leader's capabilities. The leader's capabilities are "his or her God-given and God-directed special abilities for ministry" (73). They include the leader's spiritual and natural giftedness, passions, temperament, knowledge, skills, and emotions. Malphurs asserted that leaders are both born and made. Given the right context a "born leader" or "made leader" can accomplish God's purposes (75).

Leadership is about influence. In chapter 5, Malphurs examined the varied ways leaders influence other to follow. Malphurs stated, "Every leader has a style of influence that has an impact on people, so it's important that leaders correctly perceive how they influence their followers" (93). Thanks to the Leadership Style Inventory (appendix M), this reviewer realizes his predominant style is "analytical." The analytical style does not appeal to some followers; therefore understanding followers and their motivations is an essential skill (chapter 6). Malphurs warned would-be leaders to get used to the fact that some people will never be good followers, or else get another job (129).

Chapters 7 and 8 focused on the leader's context and task. Malphurs opined that the leader's context is one of the most neglected areas of leadership (132). A great leader in one ministry context would not be as great (and can even fail) in a different context. Leaders, therefore, need a firm understanding of their leadership philosophy and the sensitivities of those led. Any incompatibilities require adjustment from the leader or the context so the task of leadership can remain unhindered. The task of ministry leadership, according to Malphurs, is to "influence the followers to pursue their God-give direction" (158). Christian leadership is about helping followers fulfill God's purposes, not the leader's purposes.

Evaluation

Malphurs achieved his two-fold purpose. He articulated and clarified a working definition of Christian leaders and leadership. Second, the reader is provoked to wrestle with Malphurs's concepts for the purpose of understanding his or her own philosophy of leadership. Malphurs's weakness is that any definition of leaders and leadership is self-limiting. By saying what it is (when other leadership theorists struggle with the topic) he excludes other potential or unrecognized aspects of leadership. Malphurs also was given to enumerating "elements," "principles," and "categories" for his main and sub points. Again, by doing so, Malphurs excludes other possible elements, principles, or categories.

The appendices provided helpful tools and insights for Christian leaders, especially pastors. The most salient point Malphurs made appeared in appendix C ("Is Pastoral Care the Primary Role of the Pastor"). He stated that the primary job of a shepherd is not just to love, but to lead (176). He refuted the popular notion that being a shepherd of God's people implies focusing on the ministry of pastoral care. While pastoral care should not be neglected, the biblical truth is that shepherds primarily lead. The Leadership Style Inventory (appendix M) was very beneficial in helping this reviewer understand his style.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malphurs Excels, as Usual! Dec 27 2003
By David R. Bess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is the second one I have read by Aubrey Malphurs. The first one dealt with values-driven leadership in general, this one focuses on the role of the pastor in particular. His comments in both volumes are insightful and inspirational.
The most memorable point Malphurs makes is that the primary job of a shepherd is not just to love, but to lead. He refutes the popular notion that being a shepherd of God's people implies focusing on the ministry of pastoral care. While pastoral care should not be neglected, the biblical truth is that the shepherds primarily lead. Getting back to this scriptural pattern will empower the church to be a more effective, transforming force in the world today.
Malphurs' work is always top-notch. He is profound, yet not difficult to follow. He is deep, but never bogged down. I recommend this work highly to all Christian pastors.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Being Leaders Review Feb. 17 2010
By Z. T. Goforth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being Leaders is one of several leadership books I have read in the last few years. I read it recently, shortly after reading Upside Down by Stacy Reinhardt. Malphurs does a fine job of relating the material, but Reinhardt's book was much more helpful in seeing the biblical view of leadership.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Distilled Leadership Wisdom Dec 8 2009
By John Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is not so much an original contribution to the field of leadership studies as a handy distillation of the ideas of other writers. If you haven't got time to read lots of books about leadership in the church context, this one will give you an idea of what many of the respected authors have to say about it.

One of the useful features of the book is the appendicies, which include a number of different self-test surveys, including a spiritual gifts inventory, passions audit, and leadership style inventory. The quality of these tools is somewhat variable (it is almost impossible to score anything other than "You are a strong Christian Leader" on the "Christian Leader Audit"), and there is no indication that they have been subjected to any scientific form of evaluation, but they at least start you thinking about the relevant issues.

I have now read several of Aubrey Malphurs' books, and I have found them all quite readable and filled with sound advice. This book was the least useful to me personally so far, because it contained no new insights, but as I have indicated above it should be quite useful to those who have not read extensively in the field of leadership. Malphurs' most useful book so far, from my point of view, has been "Values Driven Leadership".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian Leadership 101 Dec 27 2012
By shacy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As Christian leaders in today's society, every resource and reference
is needed to be and do what God is requiring and commanding.
This book is worth it, if only for the audits, inventories and surveys
in the back of the book. Transformational!
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