MooLead 07-08-80

Leadership Insights

For Emerging Leaders and Those Investing in Them


Steve Moore

Top Flight Leadership, 2002, 163 pp., ISBN 0-9711942-3-8



Steve Moore has been a leadership coach and consultant specializing in equipping young leaders.  He is currently the president and CEO of The Mission Exchange (formerly the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies), an association of nearly 100 U.S.-based mission organizations.


This book is a compilation of e-zine articles previously used for email coaching.  Each article combines biblical wisdom, examples from many leaders, and thought-provoking reflection and application questions focused to help leaders in spiritual formation, ministry formation, and life strategy formation.  This would be a good resource for mentoring a group of young men.


Steve's primary leadership mentor is Dr. J. Robert (Bobby) Clinton, professor at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Missions.


Jesus was a young leader for his entire adult ministry.  Further, his disciples were all young, probably in their twenties.  "God had chosen to place the entirety of His plan for the Church in the hands of a group of young leaders." (15)


"Very few Western Christian leaders are really prepared to embrace suffering and risk.  We live as if God no longer calls His followers to pursue a journey that He knows in advance will involve persecution or even death.  We operate with an unspoken arrogance that suggests God used to ask people to lay down their lives but not today…."  "People separated from us by time or distance who risked everything for Jesus are labeled heroes.  Those up close are labeled fanatics." (20) 


"I believe the Western church is so bankrupt when it comes to a theology of suffering that we are largely incapable of processing risk.  Institutionally we are forced by competitive factors to evaluate personal risk in terms of public relations and donor response.  Is God still a primary stakeholder in our organizational decision-making grid?" (20-21)  


"Without a theology of suffering, the Western church will be reduced to onlookers and bystanders when it comes to the final harvest force."  "Are you willing to be the kind of leader that is willing to be 'scarred' as a price of obedience?" (21) 


"Experience is the best teacher but if you can learn any other way, do it." (28)


"Intentional thinking about the lasting results of my ministry forces me to evaluate what I'm giving myself to today, this week, this month, this year--against the backdrop of my lifetime goals." (43)


"The essential ingredient of effective Christian leadership is the powerful presence of God."   "They also need skills, tools, and spiritual gifts to go along with the power of God in order to accomplish all He asks them to do.  The challenge lies in finding the balance between human planning and God's power." (55)  "If your followers were to rate you … in terms of your leadership skills or the presence of God's power in your ministry, which do you think they would rate higher?  Why?  What should you do about it?" (59)


What about your secret life?  Your life of giving to the needy, praying, and fasting?  "As a leader you need to set the pace for those who follow you.  Even in the secret life.  How are you doing?" (61)


"Do you believe churches or ministries should tithe?  If no, why?  If yes, to whom?" (63)


"Giving followers a window into your heart will make it easier for them to give you grace when you do something they don't understand or with which they flat-out disagree.  When you know someone well you are much better positioned to read between the lines, assume the best, or reserve judgment until you have more information." (68)


"When you blow it be prepared to admit it--even publicly--when the situation calls for it."  (68)


"Secrecy breeds suspicion." (68)


"A defensive posture is a surefire way to escalate the criticism." (69)


"You must consciously choose to give those with whom you serve the prerogative of rejecting your ideas and critiquing your actions without rejecting you." (69)


"Assume there is at least a kernel of truth within every criticism.  Make it your goal to find that kernel--or bushel full--and learn from it." (70)


"A major crisis will test a leader in five important areas, and the results will be visible for all to see."  These are the abilities to check emotions, make decisions, cast vision, build a coalition, and take action. (74-5)


"…through the biographies of great leaders I can hang around with great leaders." "I read biographies with the goal of being mentored by the person about whom I'm reading." (92)  "Who's mentoring you this year?" (94)


"As a guest speaker I am often confronted with the fact that although promised 45 minutes by the organizers…the audience clearly would prefer 25 minutes."  (98) 


"Preach for a specific decision."  "What is the most important decision I am asking my hearers to make?" (98)


"Anchor your teaching in the Word of God." (100)


"Show me a great leader, and I'll show you a hungry learner."  "As leaders grow personally, they increase their capacity to lead." (107, quoting Henry Blackaby)


"One of the most common barriers to finishing well is to plateau as a leader." (108)


"Devise a system that works for you to identify the key concepts from the book so that you can readily process and utilize them later.  I typically look for ideas, research/facts, quotes, and illustrations." (111)


"What are the most important ideas I have gleaned from this book, and how can I apply them?" (111)


"What was the last book you read?  What did you get out of it?" (113)


"Keep in mind; almost everyone without status is against it.  What will happen to you when you have it is the real question." (126)


"Want to be a great leader?  When was the last time you cried over the cause?  Is your passion meter stuck on 'whatever'?"


"Who am I and where am I going?  These questions can be answered in the temporal perspective (the here and now), the eternal perspective (the afterlife), and the missional perspective (life destiny).  "I have defined destiny as the sovereign purpose for which you have been created that, when fulfilled, brings God the greatest glory, brings you the greatest joy, and most significantly advances the Kingdom." (136)


Destiny is related to your history, your identity and your ministry. "The highest expression of destiny awareness is a personal mission statement." (137)


"God has put His purposes in your heart.  And they are like deep waters.  You will need to be a man or woman of understanding to draw them out."  (138)


"No matter how noble or Kingdom-worthy your mission might be, if you are married you must figure out how to merge that destiny with your spouse" (142) 


"First of all, remember that no part of your destiny will ever trump your marriage promise."  "The responsibility of marriage trumps your ministry/destiny.  Period." (144)


"If you are married, one aspect of your mission is to make your spouse happy." (145)


"To put God first means that all the responsibilities he gives are first too." (149 quoting Robertson McQuilkin)


Good chapter on personal change management p. 153 ff.




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