McNeal, Practicing Greatness

If Reggie McNeal writes a book I am reading it.  It’s that simple because Reggie McNeal is that much of a help to me.  Another bonus is that he is published by Leadership Network, which consistently puts out material that is helpful to me as a leader in our church.

This book, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders is another great contribution from McNeal.  He calls leaders to humility, effectiveness, and a willingness to serve.  He describes the path to this description of greatness through the disciplines of Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Self-Discipline, Mission, Decision Making, Belonging & Aloneness.  In the end McNeal will allow that leadership is a gift, some are born with it, some not so much; yet, being a great leader is an intentional choice, which, sadly, too may leaders opt out of.

Here’s some meaningful and encouraging quotes for you:

  • p. 1, “Humility derives from the leader’s awareness of where his or her source of strength lies…because greatness in the spiritual world cannot be pursued without cultivating God-consciousness”
  • p. 4, Great leaders didn’t “just have great hearts; they had great capacity to deliver.”
  • p. 4, “Great leaders bless people.  They inspire and encourage.  They help people become more than what they have been, maybe even more than they thought they could be.”
  • p.4, “Bad leaders are a form of evil…Bad leadership is not always the result of bad character or intentional malevolence.  It can result from simple incompetence.”
  • p.16, “Since leadership is mostly about managing relationships, this self-understanding proves crucial to leader’s effectiveness.”
  • p.26, “Great leaders can detail their call.  It is not guesswork for them, nor is it subject to revision, nor is it confined to a job description or the amount of salary it brings.”
  • p.36, The kinds of issues and situations that ministers deal with combined with the overwhelming desire to help people (a psychological component of many people drawn into the helping professions, including the ministry). brew the conditions conducive to depression.  This is why Archibald Hart, former dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Seminary, often says that surviving the ministry is a matter of surviving depression.”
  • p.50, “Three ‘brain killers’ deserve special attention: (1) negative people, (2) disorganization, and (3) second-guessing decisions.”
  • p.65, “all leaders who engage in lifelong learning evidence two characteristics.  First, they are intentional about it…they know what they want to explore and have a strategy to get there.  Second, these leaders’ learning journeys are designed to expose them to new ideas…They devise new learning opportunities.”
  • p.122, Quantum physics provides the underlying scientific foundation for the postmodern world, just as Newtonian physics supplied the understanding of the universe that supported the modern era…Scientists of the quantum variety see the universe not as a giant thing but as a complex network of relationships.”
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