Doug Munton is the Sr. Pastor of the First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IL. He is a personable minister with a heart for helping believers be all that God wants them to be. In that respect he wrote this short book on leadership.
In a world filled with books on leadership, one might ask why we need another. In answer, Munton offers a book that is decidedly Christian in its approach. This limits the audience, but removes it from the ever-growing stack of leadership manuals published both inside and outside the Christian community that propagate principles based on a business mindset. The resulting “Seven Steps” is more a prescription for getting off on the right foot rather than a “how to” book. The title of the book is a bit misleading because one “step” doesn’t necessarily build on another. Instead the reader will find an organized look at practices of a healthy Christian leader. The idea of steps leads many to follow the philosophy that he should work on the first one until he gets it right, and then move on to the next. I reality, the advice about each practice of a healthy leader is all-encompassing. It is more of a pool to swim in than a ladder to climb.
Each chapter develops another needed practice in the life of the leader. Munton uses personal anecdotes along with engaging examples to get each point across. Many of the principles espoused are either obvious for the Christian leader, or a re-hashing of many of the principles developed (often at much greater length) elsewhere. The closing chapter is probably the most unique to this book and the most needed advice to people who would be leaders in some Christian church, ministry, or arena.
Munton’s “Steps” are as follows: A healthy Christian leader . . .
- Deepens his intimacy with God . . .
- Discovers a vision of what could be . . .
- Develops a passion for reaching people . . .
- Sacrifices for God’s Kingdom . . .
- Perseveres through difficulties . . .
- Strengthens his people skills . . . and . . .
- Enjoys the ride.
Each step includes short segments dealing with various aspects of that particular practice and is peppered with parenthetical asides giving the reader a window into the humor of the author. The book is short (much shorter than most books on leadership) at 120 pages and easy to read. It is a great thumbnail sketch of the kinds of things necessary to stay healthy in ministry. I would recommend it for anyone in vocational ministry or working as a volunteer Sunday School teacher or ministry leader.
Given its limiting title, the book is decidedly aimed at a limited audience—people outside the Christian community would find little helpful in the book, and even within the Church society, only those who desire to be the best worker in the Kingdom will be interested in reading it. I might suggest, though, that any church or ministry might be well-served by having all of its members or workers read this book.
I give Seven Steps to Becoming a Healthy Christian Leader four out of five reading glasses and highly recommend it to all who are or would be leaders.
—Benjamin Potter, January 12, 2009