All Christians are called to be influential. Does that mean we all have to be prominent members of the community, seen by all, boldly blazing trails forward in philanthropy, science, industry, and the arts? Certainly not. But the Church collectively should be engaged in all these things, and since the Body of Christ is called to excellence in God's name, the Church should not simply follow the current trends, whatever those may be.
In order for the Church to fulfill this mission of leadership and Christian witness in all things, men and women need to lead individually. Leaders need to be reliable, and to prove their reliability to others, meaning that they must be successful in their personal and public lives. Who would follow someone who'd never accomplished anything, who had nothing to show for their effort and work?
Granted, success from a Christian perspective looks a lot different than success from a secular standpoint. Secular success usually means no more than that the individual in question has earned enough money to do what they want, and then that they do what they want. Followers of Jesus aren't supposed to work for their own gain, but for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
But what are the tools and character traits necessary for success? The books in this section will guide you. Not all of them are written from a Christian perspective, so we encourage you to compare everything these authors say with Scripture (even the Christian authors). The goal isn't simple self-improvement or better pay or an easier life, it's the chance to influence other people the way Christ wants us to.
This element of success and leadership training can't be repeated too much or overemphasized. Our society is absolutely taken with the assumed importance of the individual and with material security and prosperity. To suggest "looking out for number one" isn't the most important thing is, for many Christians, accepted consciously while at the same time subconsciously ignored or even rejected. Our culture is strong in each of us, and it takes a conscious effort to align our attitudes with those found in God's Word.
At the same time, we need to be careful not to swing to the other extreme, and assume that earthly success is meaningless. God put us on this earth, not so we could make it to the other side with as little notice as possible, but to take dominion of all things in His name. He has given us a spirit of boldness to accomplish these things, and it's to our shame if we ignore worldly concerns in favor of retreat and solitude.
The books in this section are meant to inspire, guide, and advise as you learn to lead others through example and personal success. Of course, the best book to read for guidance is the Bible, and if you never read a leadership manual but you're diligent in Scripture reading, that's okay—certainly the concepts of servant leadership, humility, and the necessity of virtue for sound leadership are the most important lessons one can learn on the subject. But for those whose desire and abilities suggest a leadership role, these titles offer some very good practical content.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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