Lead Like It Matters to God | Richard Stearns

Summary of: Lead Like It Matters to God: Values-Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World
By: Richard Stearns


In the book ‘Lead Like It Matters to God: Values-Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World’, author Richard Stearns provides Christians with practical and spiritual guidance on integrating their faith and values into their work life. Exemplifying Jesus’ leadership style, Stearns emphasizes the importance of surrender, sacrifice, love, integrity, and humility in the workplace. This book summary will explore how Christian leaders can create a positive work culture, demonstrate integrity, foster a compelling vision, and maintain faith as a higher priority over conventional notions of success.

Integrating Faith and Work

The author believes that Christians should aim to integrate their religious values with their work. Christians must act with intention to prevent faith from becoming walled off from the rest of life. At work, Christians should remember their main job – acting as ambassadors for Christ. Leadership is important to God too; he doesn’t care if someone’s a CEO, but does care how a person leads. The author’s own life story can provide inspiration for Christians trying to integrate their faith more deeply with their working lives.

For many Christians, going to work on Monday can feel like entering a completely unrelated world to their faith. However, the author argues for Christians to integrate their religious values with their work, not separate them. Christians hold the title of ambassadors for Christ, regardless of their job position. This means that acting according to Christian values should always take place, in the office as well as in church.

The author highlights the importance of leadership in any role. Even small groups of people have the power to change the world. The character and behavior of group leaders hold an essential role in achieving the group’s goal. The author suggests that leadership is important to God too, and it doesn’t matter the job position but how a person leads.

The Bible holds many answers to how Christians should act at work, and the author shares his own life story as inspiration for others to integrate their faith more deeply into their working lives. As Christians spend so much time at work, intentionally preventing faith from becoming walled off from the rest of life is crucial. With each person’s talents combined, working towards integrating faith and work can have a significant impact.

Surrender and Sacrifice in Christian Leadership

This book tells the story of Stearns, who found faith in Christ and learned that surrender and sacrifice are the starting points for Christian leadership. Despite a successful career, he answered God’s call to become the CEO of World Vision, a Christian organization helping impoverished children around the world. Surrender and sacrifice are crucial for leaders, as they enable one to rise above daily pressures and put things in perspective. However, these are only the beginning of the important values that must be cultivated to be a good Christian leader, demanding daily commitment.

What Would Love Do?

In the 1990s, bracelets with the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) were a popular reminder to act like Jesus in daily life. But Christians can also ask themselves, “What would love do?” since the Bible is a love story and Jesus’s main message is about love. The key message is to see coworkers from God’s perspective and act lovingly. Christians should aim to live by the principle of loving God and neighbors. In practical terms, acting lovingly at work can be as simple as focusing on a coworker’s positive attributes or showing an interest in others’ aspirations. Leaders should treat people equally and act lovingly to improve work relationships and integrate their Christian values with work life. All of this starts from just one kind word or gesture.

The Power of Encouragement and Humor in Leadership

In the book, the author highlights the leadership style of Jesus and how it differed from the norm. Unlike criticizing his followers, Jesus used praise to encourage and motivate them. The author advocates for leaders to use encouragement and humor to create a positive work culture. Encouragement is free and can be offered to anyone, while humor can relieve tension and make leaders more relatable. The author gives an example of a leader dressing up as Santa to bring joy to staff during stressful times. By following Jesus’s example, leaders can create a warm and cheerful environment that fosters loyalty, motivation, and performance.

The Importance of Leadership Integrity

Integrity is the foundation of leadership, a compass that guides leaders in the right direction. In “Onward”, Stearns stresses the need for leaders to prioritize integrity and set a good example for their teams. This is evident in his experience at World Vision where thousands of packets of pumpkin seeds were piling up, and the organization was breaking its promise to donors. To Stearns, integrity was vital to a charitable organization’s success. He emphasized to his team that while occasionally missing targets is acceptable, unethical behavior is never to be tolerated. Christian leaders, in particular, must lead by example and uphold integrity in all areas of their leadership. Failure to prioritize integrity can lead to disasters such as the opioid addiction crisis, sexual misconduct culture, and unethical behavior in the corporate world. Therefore, money should be treated as a servant, not a master, and integrity must always come first.

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