Ed Stetzer Discusses ‘The Maxwell Leadership Bible’ With John C. Maxwell

Ed: Why have you dedicated your life to teaching leadership, and why do you believe leadership skills are so important?

John: Since July 4, 1976, I’ve known that leadership was the area I was called to speak into, and the past 40 years have just confirmed that calling in me. As a leader myself, I know firsthand how good leadership lifts everything around it, while bad leadership can sink an organization, team, or individual in a heartbeat.

Simply put, everything rises and falls on leadership.

Ed: I am always cautious to remind people that the Bible is not your leadership guide— it’s the story of God’s redemptive plan. Yet, there is much about leadership in the Bible. What are some of the most important things about leadership you’ve learned from the Bible?

John: First and foremost is that God calls all of us to be leaders. We read stories of great biblical leaders, and often what we lose sight of is that most great leaders in Scripture were called to leadership from obscurity.

Noah was just a faithful man. Abraham was a nobody. Joseph was a sheltered kid. David was a little shepherd. Even Jesus, the greatest example of a leader in all of history, began his life in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in a straw-filled feeding trough.

Yet despite those humble beginnings—or perhaps because of them—biblical leaders were able to do great things through their obedience to God and his call (or purpose) for their life.

Second, I’ve learned that leadership isn’t a one and done deal. It’s a journey. Again, if you go back to the lives of Abraham, Joseph, David or Jesus, you become keenly aware that none of them rose to prominence overnight.

There were years of consistent obedience before big things happened, and that’s a trait we’ve lost sight of in this day and age. A lot of leaders feel like they should be overnight success stories, but leadership isn’t a flash-in-the-pan endeavor. It is built intentionally over time, and the Bible helps us remember that.

Ed: What is one of your favorite Bible passages about leadership?

John: Matthew 5:13-16. We are not called by God to blend into the background—we’re called by God to add flavor and bring light to our world. I love that these verses are so packed with wisdom for anyone who will stop and think about them.

For example, salt heightens flavor, but too much salt and you can ruin the meal. What a great lesson for leaders—our presence adds to what’s being done, but if we assert or insert ourselves too much, we can overpower and ruin something good. There’s so much to think about.

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Source: Christianity Today