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Introduction

It is expedient for every Christian or individual to desire becoming a leader; not just

becoming one but that which understands the principles of followership and desire to pattern his

leadership exhibition after biblical model. The evidence of the inclusion of being a follower and

situate leadership conception on biblical model reveals servant leadership in an individual. This

conception and idea is presented in this under critique.

The Critique

The book ‘The Empowered Leader’ of Calvin Miller presented ten keys to a productive

servant leadership. Although his main intent is somewhat of three folds which include:

a. The desire to see that the wisdom of the Scripture speaks clearly and usable for every

contemporary Christian leader`

b. The desire that sound leadership themes that dominate current thinking be linked with

scriptural insight and

c. The desires to define Christian leadership in such a way that it escapes the haphazard

reputation it often acquires (xi-xii).

These above listed intent of the author could be categorized as the objective of the entire book

upon which the various channels of the writer’s position and disposition is connected. It is the

intention of the author to provide direction for individuals currently engaged in the ministry of

the church.

It is in the opinion of the author that one major problem of leadership is Power. “Power is

often a corrupting force in the secular world; Power is often a mega word in the mega church”

(Miller, 1995: ix). Abusively, many in the position of authority make use of power. It is tempting

in most cases for a Christian leader to see himself as the boss who people will be accountable to.

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Calvin Miller is of the opinion that Christian leadership should be based on biblical principles;

instead for an individual to misuse or abuse power and authority because of leadership position,

such should conceive the mindset that he is a servant leader just as King David referred to

himself. Only leadership consistent with biblical model can really be servant leadership.

The ultimate desire of Miller in seeing that the use of power in the Christian fold is not

misinterpreted and abuse but ensuring all leadership skills, principles, theories, and practices are

biblically rooted and scripturally practiced. This led him in discussing ten keys to ensuring

servant leadership in Christian service.

Fostering an honest image is presenting oneself as being qualify to lead. To be an

effective leader requires that one must be perceived as a leader by those one leads. The

appearance of a Christian leader should reveals honesty in all facets of life. A Christian leader is

expected to be distinct in this gawking society. It is expected that the leader possess inward

substance; outward daring and magnetic motivation.

Seeing yourself as a leader summarizes the necessity of structuring oneself through

positive self-perception, self-esteem, self-denial and confidence. Discipline is as well essential in

this situation. The leader is expected to begin to write history about what he wanted to be

remembered for with the consciousness of the three tenses of leadership (the past-the forming

place, the present- the acting place and the future- the vision place). Leaders cannot lead without

reputation. Networking and the special friends of a leader also summarizes the importance of

possessing good and quality supportive individuals. No great leader is ever a lone ranger. Vision:

Gathering it up and giving it out is the ability of a leader being visionary and courageous to

pursue such vision to reality. Dynamic leaders are usually fueled by vision. Visionless living

provides no real reason to live.

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Decision: the key to leadership presents the necessity of a leader to possess the ability of

making productive decisions. Decision of Christian leadership is expected to place God at the

centre of things (Pier decision). This will help the leader possess the ability to divide life into

manageable segments; create new beginnings; authenticate a sense of self; and weld one into a

lifelong participation with God that leads one to meaningful living. Leadership decisions gain

ethical correctness when God’s power is acknowledged. Leaders are thus required to decide

without re-deciding; and decide when all doubts are cleared. Defining, Structuring and

Motivating focuses on the ability of a leader to provide structure for vision- make valuable plans

toward achieving set goals. Leaders are expected to keep their vision simple and prioritize the

aspect of the plan to be carried out first. This requires that life priorities and vision of a leader be

written down; stabilize achievements and set reasonable goals; then motivate (ensuring balance

between praise and reprimand) through effective administrative skills.

The Politics of Grace and the Abuse of Power addresses the abusive use of power in the

church and the misconception and aberration of the word ‘politics’ in the church. Politics

literally could mean the art and science of government or the art of influencing policy or winning

control. But on the contrary, politics could as well emphasize competition between groups or

individuals for power and leadership. If politics is then approached in the corruptive way, it must

be kept out of the church. Many people have made the church a forum for political abuse which

had resulted into many crisis and clashes in the church. This is due to the fact that many leaders

are no longer conscious of the corrupting nature of politics.

Leadership Coping with Difficult People raises the consciousness of a leader to acquire

adequate knowledge and skills required to deal and relate with difficult people. This is because

one may be unable to avoid meeting such in leadership position and roles. Church leaders are

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required to lead unlovely people even as they try to see the life of Christ reflecting in them. The

best way to deal with such is to befriend them and engage them in productive discuss. Difficult

people need to be handled firmly and wisely.

Leadership: The Art of Delegation and Team Spirit summarizes that fact that good

leaders build formidable team and delegate responsibility without losing or giving their

leadership away. Effective leaders lead by team building- place emphasis on cooperative and

collaborative effort through good management skill. Good management is identified by the

ability to listen to everyone; adjust management style when more knowledge is acquired; and

delegate continually as new data are gathered.

Surviving a Visible Mistake discusses the importance of acknowledging the limitedness

of man in his nature. Every human has the tendency to make mistake. Leaders are not to be held

down by their mistakes or by the mistake of others. Surviving mistake could best be achieved

through openness of the leader (Ps. 51: 4, 12-14) as against cover-up; ability to forgive and let

go; and a recognition that all human (Christian) are still in the process of maturing. These,

guarantees spiritual-healing to leadership, the healing are of three states, the acknowledgement of

human hypocrisy, repentance, and restoration of praise unto God.

Strength and Weakness of the Book

The effort of Calvin Miller in writing the book ‘The Empower Leader: Ten Keys to

Servant Leadership’ is highly commendable. The book is thoughtful, inspiring and insightful. He

demonstrated a considerable scholastic writing skill in the compositions of his ideas that is

biblically based and academically rooted. The book is generally well written; practical oriented

and addresses contemporary issues existing in the church that calls for serious attention. Miller,

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presented ten keys to servant leadership; the keys are based on the exemplary leadership style of

King David which worth emulating in this contemporary age.

Each chapter of the book is preceded by epigrammatic quotations and a letter from a

congregant to his pastor concerning leadership- this definitely prepares the mind of the reader

towards the intent of each chapter as readers would through these be motivated to read. There are

no segments of the book that can be discredited. There are evidences of a well-designed graphics

and captivating stories within the book that could sustain the interest of the reader and ensures

ease of reading as well as comprehension. The book is worth reading for all leaders, potential

readers and to-be-leaders.

On the other hand, since there could not be any perfect work written without little or few

shortcomings, it could be traced that even as the book follows the biblical theme of David’s

leadership style, it conveys more secular principles which are applicable to some other leadership

books- this is revealed in the list of his references. The author relied and dwelled so much with

secular writers while reference to great works on leadership by Christian authors in the past and

in the present seems not visibly present as much as possible in his citations.

Conclusion

Miller did an extensive work of exposing the individuals who contacts the book to the

necessity of adopting servant-leadership style, which is based on biblical principles and

scriptural practices. The book adopted the leadership style of King David and provided avenues

through which the various leadership problems and difficulties emanating in the church and

society can be handled and resolved. Prolifically, the book is applicable to all forms leadership

and administrations both within the church and the society.

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A CRITIQUE OF CALVIN MILLER’S BOOK; THE EMPOWERED LEADER:

TEN KEYS TO SERVANT LEADERSHIP

A SEMINAR PAPER SUBMITTED TO PROFESSOR ‘PONNLE GIDEON ADETUNJI

NIGERIAN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, OGBOMOSO

FACULTY OF EDUCATION

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS

FOR THE COURSE, LEADERSHIP

AND SUPERVISION

RED 908

BY

OLUWAFEMI SAMUEL AMORAN

MATRIC NUMBER: 17/0287

SEPTEMBER, 2017