Read this book if…
- You lead other people in your organization.
- You have a hard time determining where you need to grow.
- You need to do some self-assessment
Effective ministry begins here. You’ve studied what you think you need to know before entering a career in ministry. Is there anything that is more important than knowing about hermeneutics, homiletics, theology, exegesis, and everything else you have likely learned in seminary and church ministry so far? Yes, there is. How well do you know yourself? You need to build your ministry career on the right foundation of an objective understanding of self. If you don’t comprehend your strengths and weaknesses, then you won’t be fully prepared to enter the crucible of ministry. Serving as a pastor is one of the toughest calls there is. But it can also be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding, especially if you have taken the time to examine both your gifts and vulnerabilities. The church needs leaders who have the clear-eyed courage to pursue the hardest part of the ministry journey: seeing yourself. The Self-Aware Leader will help you to do just that.
Review by Kevin Lorow @kevkevlor
I was immediately excited to have the opportunity to read this book. Books on leadership and church ministry are by no means rare, but a book on self-awareness is a departure from the norm. Books on specific areas of growth remain common, but the issue remains that if a leader is not aware of a specific deficiency, then they probably will not pick up resources to bolster these areas of unnoticed weakness. This book deals with a root issue of leadership.
In The Self-Aware Leader, Terry Linhart provides not only an excellent explanation of what blind spots are, but elaborates on the dangers that they pose to both the shepherd and flock. This is one of the most valuable parts of the book – that Linhart fleshes out the implications of our undiscovered or ignored short-comings. Linhart adds helpful self-check tools throughout the book to assist the reader in examining their blind spots. The author’s clear and descriptive lists help to provide greater context and examples that give readers tangible insight as to how their blind spots can manifest themselves. The firsthand stories from the author’s own life also speak with authority into the topic at hand, but they are written in a way that does not paint Linhart as self-absorbed or taking center-stage.
His approach to the book is very methodical. First, he establishes the presence and power of blind spots in leader’s lives. When a leader is unaware of the truth, it drastically impacts their ministry and followers. For a leader to grow in their capacity to reach people, they must acknowledge the blind spots that exist in their heart and ministry.
Next he explains the process of identifying these blind spots. Being able to recognize our shortcomings, is the all-important first step in the process of self-awareness. Linhart also seeks to help the reader navigate the origin of their blind spot. Whether it be from one’s past, current pain, or mere ignorance, focusing one’s attention on these areas can guard the reader from being overwhelmed by their shortcomings.
Due to the sensitive nature of blind spots, it is quite common for us to be frustrated or disappointed when others guide us to recognition. Yet, it is essential for our growth that we humbly accept these insights as they often reveal truths that we cannot see ourselves. Not only must a competent leader begin to recognize blind spots and their origin, but he/she must also be courageous enough to approach them with courage despite the difficulty of the task. The leaders who have considered the struggle of working through blind spots worth the benefit will truly experience radical growth and valuable relationships as a result.
As I prepare to step out into full-time ministry, the idea that I can have blind spots is both frustrating and nerve-racking. Any unholy part of my character could be lurking just out of my own sight, yet plain as day to all those around me. The Self-Aware Leader provides a clear understanding of what to anticipate as others point out these concern-areas in my life. In addition this book points to the Bible as the guide for developing the correct heart attitude to respond well when I am challenged.
Given that I am often on the stage teaching or leading worship, I am constantly receiving feedback and critique. Dealing with so many opinions can be both disheartening and frustrating, as it highlights the inadequacies and weak areas of my skill set and character. I can say from experience that wading through personal feedback and (mostly) constructive criticism can be overwhelming as things that I don’t do well are made public and known to all. Yet, The Self-Aware Leader brought encouragement to my heart as it reminded me of the greater purpose these assessments serve: my personal growth in Christ. Linhart’s edification flows out of the biblical desire to see both individual growth and the building up of the Body of Christ. Because of The Self-Aware Leader, I feel far more equipped to face the personal struggles of serving in full-time ministry.
The Self-Aware Leader is a simple and easy read that addresses an incredibly important yet seldom discussed topic within ministry and leadership. It comes with high recommendation, especially for those stepping into positions of leadership in churches, businesses, and organizations. Terry Linhart’s insight is both helpful and biblical, and is advice that maturing believers must take into account for their spiritual development.