“Never discard fundamental truths,” writes Gerald Melton in The Skills of Spiritual Leadership, a Christian guide of theological reflections intended to help people return to basics in their relationship with God. Seeking to “competently lead other people to higher ground in Jesus Christ,” the author covers prodigious territory, offering biblically based leadership insights on how to build character, maintain positive attitudes, cultivate compassion and persevere during crises.
Mixing homespun advice with Scripture and common sense, Melton stresses our need to develop “godly habits” to build a life on “solid rock.” As he contends, these foundational practices—being ethical in our work and relationships—allow us to endure the challenges, problems and hardships that might come our way in life.
Stressing the need to emulate Jesus’ life, Melton draws heavily from the Old and New testaments to argue his points. In discussing the importance of listening, he uses a confrontation between Eliphaz and Job to illustrate how empathy often requires us to just “be quiet.” He invokes many of St. Paul’s writings to illustrate how to conduct ourselves in humble, forgiving, loving ways. Ultimately, leadership must be driven by full respect for God, the author argues, the best leaders being those who carry themselves in a responsible manner and are diligent in upholding God’s name through proper action.
Melton, an assistant pastor, writes in a casual, friendly, non-judgmental style. His ideas are well organized, his tone is inspirational and the book is practical, accessible and timely. However, the writing can be dry and there are occasional awkward phrases (“we must allow trigger challenges”) and repetition (the subhead “Maintain Trust” repeated on pages 10 and 19). These aren’t major issues in a narrative that resonates with an earnest heart and smart ideas.
While the book is written for Christians, other open-minded seekers looking to refresh their leadership skills will find much to ponder in Melton’s well-intentioned book.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.