Book Review: Leadership as an Identity

I just finished Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence, by Crawford Loritts. It was recommended by a friend as one of the best leadership books he’d read and I really enjoyed it. I heard Loritts speak a number of times when I was in college at a number of Campus Crusade events, so it was nice to ‘reconnect’ with him and his ministry (he’s now the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia).

As the subtitle suggests, Loritts lists four key traits of godly leadership. They are: 1) Brokenness, 2) Uncommon Communion (with God), 3) Servanthood as an Identity, and 4) Radical, Immediate Obedience

Overall, I found the book to be very helpful. Loritts pulled principles from a number of biblical places, and the book is filled with many great quotes from other Christian leaders. Here is what I took away as the big idea, followed by some of the key lessons and quotes that impacted me, by section.

Big Idea

Leadership is ultimately about character. If you have all the skills and talent and charisma in the world but lack character, you will eventually lose your influence. Christian leadership is fueled by pursuing a close relationship with God and all that comes with it.

1. Brokenness

  • “Brokenness is not a onetime event. It is never finished.” (36)
  • “Sometimes well-meaning people have tried to talk me out of [my] sense of inadequacy. But this sense is vital to fruitful ministry.” (Randy Alcorn, 37)
  • “Pride is one of the easiest ways for a younger leader to lose his influence.” (Ken Behr, 39)
  • “Your ability to discern God’s will is directly related to presenting your body as a ‘living sacrifice.'” (44)
  • “Brokenness empowers a leader because it forces him or her to do more than lip service to the grace of God.” (Tim Kimmel, 54)
  • “Failure should not be the primary source of our brokenness. It is the ever-present realization that we could hurt [God’s] heart–that we carry within us a pull towards sin–that ought to keep pushing us toward God.” (57)
  • “Authentic brokenness always casts the spotlight on the glory of God and not the fact that we struggle.” (67)
  • “God breaks us at various times in our lives to raise us up to the next level. A brokenness episode in our thirties does not exempt us from a brokenness episode in our forties.” (Monty Watson, 75)
  • “If a leader doesn’t humble himself, he leaves God no choice but to humiliate him. And he will because he must. The work of his kingdom cannot be left at the mercy of a leader who is wrapped up in himself.” (Tim Kimmel, 83)

2. Uncommon Communion (with God)

  • “Why do so many workers break down? Not from overwork, but because there has been friction of the machinery; there hasn’t been enough oil of the Spirit.” (DL Moody, 86)
  • “Never underestimate the power of self-deception and the pull towards self-reliance.” (92)
  • “Unexamined failure teaches you nothing.” (96)
  • “The only thing worse than waiting on the Lord is wishing you had!” (113)
  • “I can’t think of a time in which I had everything I needed ahead of time to do what I believe the Lord wanted me to do.” (117)

3. Servanthood as an Identity

  • “Sometimes the [term ‘servant leadership’] is used in a utilitarian way…we need to be careful that we are not using servant leadership language as a strategy–as a means to manipulate people to do what we want them to do.” (131)
  • “Don’t think of yourself as a leader but as a follower of Jesus…most leaders have fallen because at some point of their lives they ceased to be a follower of Jesus.” (131-132)
  • “Both pride and humility have, for the most part, very little to do with your actions and choices, but they have everything to do with your motives and attitudes.” (133)
  • “Unfortunately, too many leaders love the tasks but just tolerate the people.” (145)
  • “Those who work with me or report to me should feel as if I have invested more in them than I have asked them to give.” (146)
  • “This is what Jesus defined as greatness. You must be a servant. You don’t just act like one; you must become one.” (150)

4. Radical, Immediate Obedience

  • “There’s no such thing as partial obedience. We either completely do what God says or we disobey him.” (171)
  • “You can never get too big or too important for God to replace you.” (175)
  • “[When they failed,] Saul was afraid of losing his position as the leader of Israel. But David was afraid of losing the touch, intimacy, and favor of God who had been everything to him. Honestly, what are you more afraid of?” (176)
  • “If you quit now, you probably will be quitting for the rest of your life.” (184)
  • “Courage is…complete obedience in the face of opposition.” (186)
  • “It is a good thing to remember the failures of those we admire.” (188)
  • “Courage is like a muscle; it grows stronger with use.” (192)
  • “We need to be acutely aware of the cumulative nature of our little choices.” (Randy Alcorn, 199)
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  1. #1 by Tabatha on January 10, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    This is an awesome list, thanks for posting, love this one…
    •“Courage is…complete obedience in the face of opposition.”

    I was wondering if you could expand on one… what does this one mean?

    •“Your ability to discern God’s will is directly related to presenting your body as a ‘living sacrifice.’”

  2. #2 by Luke Simmons on January 10, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    I think it means that unless you are fully surrendered to God as a ‘living sacrifice,’ then you don’t have real confidence that you know what God’s specific direction for you is. The best way to hear God’s leading is to be fully surrendered to him. Does that help?

  3. #3 by Troy Blakemore on January 11, 2011 - 8:43 am

    I really appreciate you doing stuff like this, Luke. I often feel overwhelmed with ‘information overload’ and don’t find the time to read like I’d like to; so a summary like this is very helpful. One of my favorite things is when an author is interviewed and the interviewer has really read the book deeply and can help us get a good sense of the book’s main points. Maybe I’m just lazy, but this kind of thing is helpful in this ‘twitter-paced’ world. :-)

  4. #4 by Luke Simmons on January 11, 2011 - 9:01 am

    My pleasure, Troy. Writing the review is mostly for me so that I can synthesize some of what I learned. If it can be helpful to others, that’s a plus.

  5. #5 by Tabatha on January 11, 2011 - 9:53 am

    Yes it helps, thanks!

  6. #6 by Vincent on October 17, 2014 - 10:21 am

    Its very sad when as christian leader,one forgets that God will always crush our pride when leadership is all about us and not God and the people!

  7. #7 by Vincent chogo on October 17, 2014 - 10:30 am

    Failure that is not tested is adding no value to our journey in life! Am blessed by the book because am still reading it.

  1. ethernyt reviwew 3

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