Integrity: Leading without God watching. Jonathan Lamb IVP, 2007
This book is a tonic for the Christian leader's soul. Like some tonics, it may be regarded as medicine, best taken with food and inevitably swallowed reluctantly but dutifully, knowing that it is good for you. Very good for you.
So many books on Christian leadership pay lip service to the Scriptures and hurry on to pragmatic issue Save s of "how to do X or Y", hanging whole chapters on convenient pegs of scripture along the way. But not this book. Integrity is effectively a discourse on leadership based on Lamb's study of 2 Corinthians and themes arising from that epistle. It is material that has been shaped by various speaking engagements in his role as Director of Langham Preaching (a part of Langham Partnership International) including a Ridley Melbourne ministry conference in 2005. I have to confess that I attended that conference and found his presentation solid, but almost too solid and full-on for my poor first-year-out curate's brain!
Which is why the book is such a valuable addition to the Christian leader's bookshelf. Here is a book that will quietly insist on being read and re-read every few years. It is not a verse-by-verse exposition, although this happens regularly throughout. Instead it is a sustained, insightful and rigorous examination of Christian leadership as we learn about it from the Corinthian correspondence. You will need to read this book with an open Bible nearby. I found something in every chapter that demanded thorough self-examination under the searchlight of Scripture, reflection and prayer. It is not a book to be hurried through.
It is a book that will feed your spirit by the Word and Spirit, and encourage you to reflect on long-term character-forming Christian leadership.
Why not use this book as a devotional or retreat resource for yourself as a Christian leader? Work through a chapter a week in your extended quiet times. Or use with your leadership team: read a chapter and meet for discussion. Or you could use it as the basis for a leadership training course. Lamb quotes from a number of other leadership writers, mainly with approval, but also correcting unbiblical notions where he identifies them. This in itself is a valuable lesson in how to learn leadership from the Scriptures instead of swallowing the latest bestseller wholesale. Highly commended!
Written by Jonathan Wei-Han Kuan
Jonathan Wei-Han Kuan is the voluntary editor of Essentials and full-time research student at Ridley Melbourne. He is married to Valerie, and his main household job is changing his daughter Alexandra's first nappy of the morning.