Sunset Institute Press
FROM THE AUTHOR:
"The future of all people is tied to the leader they follow. Leadership is the driving force behind their pursuit of a better future. Without it, people lack the courage, inspiration, and persistence to move forward. Leadership embraces such powerful concepts as credibility, motivation, influence, encouragement, vision, teamwork, and empowerment. The importance of leadership cannot be overstated. Families, civic clubs, universities, churches, small businesses, large corporations, athletic teams, and even nations are all directly affected by the quality of their leadership. This book is devoted to providing a basic understanding of the dynamics of leadership."
ABOUT L. KEN JONES:
Dr. Ken Jones served as chancellor of Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas from 2011-2017. Previously, from 1993-2011 he served as the president of LCU. Before coming to the university, Dr. Jones served as a minister for the Churches of Christ for 11 years, and on the faculty of the Agricultural Engineering Department of Oklahoma State University for 5 years. He and His wife are now retired in his native Oklahoma.
As a university administrator, Dr. Jones put into place many leadership principles that made LCU more organizationally sound. He was also able to mentor student leaders, preparing them for a life of leadership after graduation. Under his influence, the university now offers a Master’s in Leadership degree that serves multiple academic disciplines and is offered online.
Dr. Jones has been a frequent lecturer and speaker on leadership, conducting seminars for churches, businesses, and major corporations. His leadership seminars blend principles of leadership with lessons on quality living, emphasizing the importance of mission, values, and vision, as well as personal character. He also frequently speaks for churches throughout the United States.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
The future of all people is tied to the leader they follow. Leadership is the driving force behind their pursuit of a better future. Without it, people lack the courage, inspiration, and persistence to move forward. Leadership embraces such powerful concepts as credibility, motivation, influence, encouragement, vision, teamwork, and empowerment. The importance of leadership cannot be overstated. Families, civic clubs, universities, churches, small businesses, large corporations, athletic teams, and even nations are all directly affected by the quality of their leadership. This book is devoted to providing a basic understanding of the dynamics of leadership.
The style of this book may be a bit surprising. In all of my studies of leadership, I have not found a better source of material than the Bible. There are many Bible characters that display and teach powerful lessons on leadership. This material is not intended to be a preaching tool. However, Bible stories will be woven through the chapters to teach the basic process and principles of leadership.
The leader who has inspired my interest in leadership more than any other is King David. David is first seen as a shepherd boy tending flocks for his father. One day, he is directed by his father to travel to the place where the army of King Saul is camped. The older brothers of David are a part of the army. Though they are to engage the Philistines in battle, nothing has happened. David’s father is concerned and sends his younger son to gather information. When David arrives, he quickly finds the reason his brothers have been so long at the battle site. The Philistines have a giant champion. Every morning and evening, the giant issues challenges for one Israelite soldier to come and do battle. No Israelite soldier has taken the challenge. David hears the insulting cries of the giant. He is indignant toward the Philistine and volunteers to be the one to fight. Most of you will remember the story of David’s victory. The victory propels David to the status of a national hero. Everyone soon hears the story of the shepherd boy’s defeat of the giant.
King Saul takes David into his palace. He begins to treat David like a son. David grows more and more successful as a military leader. His popularity continues to increase. The problem is, that Saul becomes jealous.2 His jealousy turns him into a madman. His efforts to kill David are so great that David must run for his life.
In David’s escape, he hid in a cave. His family came to help and encourage him. In addition, 400 men came. They were described as men who were discouraged, discontented, and in debt. What happened next is a story of outstanding leadership. David molded and developed these men into an army. He turned those discouraged men into a fighting force so great it became known everywhere. His leadership not only moved those men from discouragement to the place of valiant warriors, but he also inspired great loyalty among them.
There was also a time when David was discouraged as he was being chased by Saul.3 As with most of us, his thoughts began to be nostalgic. He began to think of life as it used to be. In his moment of discouragement, he let his thoughts slip out as words. He said, “O, if I could just have a drink of water that comes from the well near the gate of Bethlehem.” Do you see it? Bethlehem was his hometown. In his discouragement, he was thinking back to the time when he was that happy, contented, shepherd boy.
Three of his men heard those idle, discouraging words. They left the camp. At the risk of their lives, they made their way to the well near the gate of Bethlehem. From that well, they drew water and brought it back to David.
From the time I first read the story, I developed a burning desire to understand. What kind of leader can turn 400 discouraged, discontented men into mighty warriors? What kind of leader instills within followers such loyalty and love that they will risk their lives for nothing more than a cup of water? What kind of leader is it that takes a nation and makes it the mightiest on earth? This book is written to help all of us discover the secret of that kind of leadership.
There are four basic objectives of this material. The first is for every reader to understand the importance of leadership. Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” He was right, but it may also be said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without great leadership.” Voices of history bear loud and clear testimony to the fact that leadership is the key to significant accomplishment. Anytime an individual or a group desires improvement, leadership becomes important. Effective leadership provides the path for people to rise to the level of their dreams. Poor leadership mandates frustration and failure.
The second objective is to show that leadership is not an exact science, but a process. It would be easier if it were. No exact equation or set of steps exists that lead to great leadership. The more I study and observe leadership, the more I am convinced it is an understanding of many simple principles about life. Good leadership starts with a clear understanding of the basic purpose for existence. Why does a particular organization exist? Why was it created? Good leadership begins with an understanding of answers to these questions and continues with a deep understanding of people. What motivates people? What do people need and want? Still, there is more to becoming a great leader. Leaders must have an understanding of the future. Vision is an inseparable part of leadership. But all of these cannot be acquired by a straightforward, calculated methodology. Becoming a leader requires a lifetime of study, application, and growth in leadership skills. The intent of this book is, to give a foundation and guide to this lifetime pursuit of learning leadership.
The third objective is to outline principles for successful leaders. We will examine principles of leadership practiced by some of history’s most successful leaders. Each of these will bring us closer to the lifestyle of an effective leader. To acquire these as a part of our everyday lives, we must meditate upon them, put them into practice and nurture them constantly as a part of the natural fabric of our lives. Each principle will be illustrated by examples from the past.
The fourth objective of this material is to cultivate a desire for leadership. I am convinced that one’s quality of life increases as one’s leadership skills increase. It is true not only for the leader but maybe even more, for the followers. There are not many things one can aspire to do of greater value than becoming a better leader.
To aid the accomplishment of these four objectives, the book is divided into two major sections. The first is devoted to the understanding of the process of leadership, and the second is devoted to leadership principles.
May God bless you as you endeavor to become a better leader.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
SECTION ONE - Process of Leadership
4. Leadership Model
5. Passion for the Vision
6. Knowledge and Preparation
SECTION TWO - Principles of Leadership
7. The Importance of People
8. Empowering your people
9. Team Spirit
11. Handling Mistakes
12. Perseverance and Problems
13. Blessings and Gratitude
17. A Leader’s Faith
SECTION THREE - Leadership Awareness
18. Attitude and Momentum
19. Time for a New Vision