The Book Review of the The Genesis Principle of Leadership: Claiming and Cultivating Your Created Capacity by Richard D. Allen
The Book Review of the The Genesis Principle of Leadership: Claiming and Cultivating Your Created Capacity by Richard D. Allen was inspired by a class assignment.
The reader is drawn to the author’s thesis that “Leaders are not born! Leaders are not made! Leaders are created!” . This owes to a biblical fact that leadership was God’s first instructions to Adam and Eve as stated in Genesis 1: 26-28 where he commanded man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion. The writer draws the reader to a fatal flaw in the society’s current understanding and thinking about leadership that has crept subtly amongst Christians. In the church today, leadership is coupled with sanctified, adopted, and recycled worldly secular leadership models that have produced defective, anti-biblical, and unbiblical notions of leadership imbibed by a leadership-hungry society.
The notion that leaders are created by God in His image and likeness is not popular in the world today. Man today is totally oblivious of this understanding. Whirlwinds of doctrine have tossed man about that he does not fathom the purpose of being created. The loudest voice in the secular world and church says that leaders are born and made. The author gives an exposition of how man is intentionally created and shaped distinctly from all creation with a duty to reflect God, impacting every facet of life and all creation here on earth as a leader. Nevertheless, disobedience through the sin of fall Adam and even begun the distortion of total dependence and responsibility to God in leadership roles.
The author’s point of view of a ‘behind the scenes’ active purpose of God in refining, molding, and shaping man as a leader stands out. Moreover, experiences of man count for something, no matter the scope or magnitude. It is a challenge for man to see that in these circumstances, situations and experiences, God is in the business of molding man to an effective transformational leader who can groom others to be better than him. That is the reason majority are shy of sharing their encounters, experiences or situations out for fear of disgrace, peer pressure and judgment by the society. The emphasis is to ‘fake it till you make it’, hence living a facade. On the contrary, these experiences mould, encourage and admonish the body of Christ.
As the author states, today there is a conscious and intentional commitment worldwide to raise next generation of effective and transformational leaders. However, there exist pockets of the mature and older generation of leaders who do not delegate tasks or roles in fear of losing face or source of income. They also do not expose upcoming young leaders on any opportunities of training and development into effective leadership roles for they believe they are leaders for life. The result is a widening gap leadership views and intense conflicts between these perceived as old school and old fashioned leaders in contrast with the trendy and vibrant young millennial generation. These emerging leaders thirst for creative and innovative solutions in the church leadership that can be emulated by the secular work to offer a timely, lasting and beneficial change to the constantly evolving world. The author clearly directs the reader to effective leadership that transforms circumstances and people. In addition to the above, there is evident emphasis on leadership styles that makes others more powerful. However, the African leadership, starting with the church, does not make others more powerful for fear of losing power and authority, a coup, or redundancy. Those deemed more powerful and stronger than the older nature leaders are taken away to very remote, harsh environments, away from the central business districts just in case power is perceived to be changing hands.
Coaching and mentorship of leader is generally perceived to come from the West, yet there exists a gap in effectively entrenching this attribute of dominion with excellence in the society. Unfortunately, as observed by the author, the society has a distorted view of dominion. The bias in the society is to easily accept power when associated with the man, the powerful, tall, strong, and wealthy. Despite a wealth of books, literature, seminars, and training the handicapped minority and women are still left out of key leadership roles. Any deviation from this is seen as exceptional and extraordinary. The walls are slowly falling down and allowing this classification of society taking up senior and crucial leadership positions.
On the issue of ethics, contrary to the author, my view is that decay of morality in the African culture stems from a distortion and deviation of culture and traditions from ancestral norms as trained by the missionaries that first came to Africa. In the African culture, morality and ethics start in the home with a basis of habits, behaviors, code of conducts, rule and regulations that were already in place before the white man came. Notably, fundamental ethical values like respect of the elderly cuts across all tribes, communities and nations, starting with Africa. As the African communities grapple with the conflict of whether to follow or not follow these traditions, a lot of harm and damage of devastating nature is witnessed in the society. An emerging generation has arrived on the global scene. It is characterized by lack of respect for elders, not taking care of the old but taking them to homes of the aged, talking back at the elderly and not heeding advice. This generation has adopted the ‘cool’ and ‘chic’ culture of the West that allures them with freedom of speech and choice. Yet the word of God is very explicit in matters of respect; that we are to respect those older than us and pray for those in authority. The morality and ethical trait is very wanting in the leadership of today. The African setting has to allow all culture and traditions to have an encounter with the word of God. The illumination of the word on all rules, habits, vices, taboos, traditions, culture and regulations in the society, community, tribes, and nations give moral agents reasons to for their behavior and response to any stimuli. A case in point is the political climate of Kenya, where the voice of the church leadership is weak and the secular world does not seem know the opinion of the church. The nation is crippled by irrationality and indecision, not knowing that God’s perfect will is for man is to make the right choices in alignment with the word of God, accountability, and responsibility. The church leadership of Kenya seems to lacks a firm voice that gives political, social and economic direction. Instead of being at the forefront, Christians trail secular leadership that too is undecided. As a result, the inhabitants of the land are bitter, grumbling and complaining with a rise of arrogant fanatics who are not responsible of their actions. South Korea could be emulated under the church stewardship has of Pastor David Cho. In this case, every bill signed into law by the President is also signed by Pastor Cho as the moral ethics exerted in the nation are unquestionable.
In a few outstanding situations, those under the guidance of the Holy Spirit have inherited immense and valuable effective leadership attributes through training, development, coaching and mentorship. They emulate and tap into the wealth of wisdom, understanding and knowledge from their teachers, mentors, coaches, and exemplars by spiritual growth, learning and mental/emotional development. In turn, a chain reaction is set in motion to train, mentor and raise other effective leaders to fulfill their purposes and roles in the church and the secular world. There are leaders have made it their mission and passion to develop effective transformation servant leaders and restore the created attributes of those under their jurisdiction like the author of this book.
Human nature is inclined to love and forgive those that reciprocate. Due to the global terrorism threat supported by the massive recruitment of the underserved, underprivileged and poor youth, the seed of revenge is deeply rooted in the society of today. The emphasis is tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye with evidence of manipulation and personal selfish gains. The room to forgive, love and regard others highly than self – even those that do not reciprocate – is old fashioned in the 21st Century. The irony is that the society has sought solace amongst the Christians, only to find the church full of hurt, wounds, pain and sorrow that stems from dysfunctional and broken homes not dealt with effectively. As a result, the leadership in the society today propagates revenge and showcases the strong, wealthy, loud, and majority that oppress and exploit the weak and minority without mercy, love and compassion.
It is interesting to note that the author points out that acts of mercy and grace should extend favour and compassion done in silence. An effective leader is admonished to extend compassion and mercy to those who seem not to deserve it just as God extended to the world with salvation and forgiveness of sin. Majority of the leadership in the secular world and the church advertise their acts of mercy to the world. There is a lot of speculation and scrutiny of magnitude, source and intention which creates competition on who has outdone the other. This trait is very wanting in the society yet the word of God calls for secrecy. Also, the author has explained how glorious and wasteful generosity of time, talent and treasures provide indescribable and unspeakable joy and fulfillment to a leader. In the society today, the hoarding culture is a menace. Giving is limited to used, torn, and useless items. Man is very busing amassing more wealth and can only avail him/herself at their spare time and for only a few minutes.
The author also addresses conflict resolution by an effective, transformational servant-leader in the church, the community and the society, where man is reconciled to another in alignment with the word of God. Truth and reconciliation commissions have been established in some African countries, with emphasis on healing ethnic and tribal conflicts. At the church level, this matter is handled very lightly and yet conflict resolutions are part and parcel of servant leadership aided by love and forgiveness in accordance with the word of God. So what salt or light is the Christian leadership projecting to the world?
Likewise, church leaders work independently in their ministries and callings, and do not encourage relationships with other congregations not knowing that the magnitude of fulfilling the great commission would be of humongous impact when all resources, gifs and talents are pooled together. Unfortunately, the millennial and current society advocates for independence with emergence of gated communities where neighbors do not know each other. The rise of terrorism in the world has forced the society to reverse this living model with emphasis of knowing neighbors, popularly known as nyumba kumi in Kenya. Politicians and even some leaders that seek a position of authority in the church use this to sway votes and do not depend on God, the One who appoints, qualifies and predestines leaders. Today’s leaders are neither reliable to those they serve nor trust others to accomplish tasks, unless external pressure is exerted. Exploitation and oppression of followers is the order of the day since creation of man. Rampant unfaithfulness, gaps in delegation, mistrust, lack of compassion, dormancy, immoral unethical behavior, pride, and weighed down by the pressures of life in addition to being unapproachable rock leadership roles. Contracts, promises, treaties, covenants, agreements and vows are broken everyday and the society is not alarmed at all. Unreliability is evident in massive and recurrent collapse of churches, families, corporations and governments due to the phenomenal influx of unfaithfulness cut across leaders from all walks of life. Majority of the African countries gained independence from colonialist by working together with the leadership of one courageous and fearless spokesperson who ended up being a President in some cases. Very little may be been written about the other team members but played a crucial role in achieving the goals or purpose at hand. They trusted each other, shared all they had, were dependable and vowed to secrecy. They all made choices to revolt the existing governments and were willing to take responsibility for their actions, to the point exile and in other cases death.
Finally, there is a persistent voice of freedom expressed in the society as described by the author that has led to the emergence of a peculiar and unique community of transgender and gay in the church and secular world. Today we witness gay pastors, gay marriages and an increasingly gay-tolerant society. They claim to exercise the freedom of expression and choice in living as who they are in the society. Initially, this was seen as an abomination but overtime the society seems to have grown numb and tolerant with increased applause and acknowledgement of this freedom of expression. The challenge now lies in leadership at the home where a leader has to shield the naïve and growing children to responsibly make the right choices in life and exercise their freedom of speech and expression in alignment the word of God. Moderation is not exercised even by fanatics in the political scenes across the globe, neither by social influencers who by the minute upload photos of themselves online.
The only bias I encountered in reviewing this book is the failure to include examples from other culture like Africa where leaders who conquered odds and exemplary displayed these attributes of leadership existed.
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
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