Ghanaian author, Evangelist Dr. Dag Heward-Mills, has written other books grouped into seven series. Below is a list of these series with their corresponding books in parentheses: Loyalty Series (‘Fathers and Loyalty’, ‘Leaders and Loyalty’, ‘Loyalty and Disloyalty’, ‘Those who Accuse you’, ‘Those who forget’, ‘Those who leave you’, ‘Those who pretend’), Church Building Series (‘Church Growth’, ‘Church Planting’, ‘The Mega Church’), Anointing Series (‘Catch the Anointing’, ‘Ministering with Signs and Wonders’, ‘Steps to the Anointing’), Work of Ministry Series (‘How You Can Be in the Perfect Will of God’, ‘Losing, Suffering, Sacrificing’, ‘Dying’, ‘Many are Called’, ‘Proton’, ‘Rules of Church Work’, ‘Rules of Full-Time Ministry’), Pastoral Ministry Series (‘The Art of Leadership’, ‘Transform Your Pastoral Ministry’), Success Series (‘Why Non-Tithing Christians Become Poor and How Tithing Christians Can Become Rich’), Christian Life Series (‘Backsliding’, ‘Daughter, You Can Make It’, ‘Demons and How to Deal with Them’, ‘Model Marriage’, ‘Name It! Claim it! Take it!’, ‘Quiet Time’, ‘Tell Them’).
In one hundred and twenty nine (129) chapters contained in five hundred and twelve pages, Heward-Mills holds the reader spell bound with his fluid, time tested physical and spiritual principles that would transform the tyro into the dynamic leader. The title, ‘Art of Leadership’, implies that the concept must be learned and the book is a very useful guide.
The issue of reading is given considerable and deliberate treatment in the book. This is really as a result of the relative ignorance of spiritual leaders in this information age. A considerable number of church leaders erroneously believe that all they need to do is to widely open their mouths and God would readily fill them. Others say that there is no need for teachers since the Holy Ghost teaches everyone. Though unjustified, this is clearly among the reasons why ministers of the Gospel are normally not treated with respect because there is much to learn.
In chapter 24, he encourages every potential leader to spend any amount of money and time to get a book since the information could well make a difference in one’s life. He not only passionately argues that reading is one of the most essential habits of every leader but warns that “if you do not read, please do not try to lead anyone” (p.122) as ignorance is mankind’s greatest enemies. Reading is therefore essential for leadership since, among other reasons, it leads to growth (intellectual and spiritual), improves one’s vocabulary and develops one’s leadership abilities. It is therefore evident that there are dangers of choosing to be an ignoramus in this age.
As one builds a personal library, Heward-Mills reminds the reader that “wisdom comes through reading” (p.343) and also makes an interesting radical departure from some traditional but misleading views. Some leaders narrow-mindedly assume that the Bible is the only book that one should read. The author reasonably suggests one should “read books which expand your imagination and frontiers of knowledge” (p. 347). Though some materials are poisonous to the Christian, there are several non-Christian books worth reading.
The importance of training cannot be overemphasized. In addition to investing in buying and reading books related to one’s work, Heward-Mills encourages the reader to actually spend money to be better trained and prepared for the assigned task from God. This reminds one of a very important character included in the text titled ’70 Great Christians’ written by Geoffrey Hanks and published in Fearn, Ross-shire by Christian Focus Publication in 1992. She is Mary Slessor, the Missionary to the Calabar. It is observed that “she realized she would need to improve her education if she was to become a missionary and started to borrow books from the church library. She also joined an evening class for two nights a week.” (Hanks, 1992, p.194).
More than one publisher (Parchment House and Lux Vertbi. BM Ltd.) has been responsible for the production of this book which is a clear display of its importance. The fact that the sixth printing was done in 2008 demonstrates the very high demand of the text and the publication of the second edition in 2011 lends further evidence to this fact.
In the Holy Book, we learn that Jesus and Samuel eventually grew both in wisdom and stature and were favoured by God and man. This underscores the importance of man’s recommendation. The foreword of the book under review was written by a household name in Christianity, Yonggi Cho who is incontrovertibly one of the most successful contemporary Christian leader. This implies that he endorses a considerable portion of the credible information in this timely publication. Furthermore, the inclusion of this West African author, Dag Heward-Mills, in the board of Church Growth International Ministry is a testimony to his relevance.
The text is very easy to read due to the length of each chapter, some as short as a page or two, for example, chapters 3 (The Type of Leadership You Must Avoid), 9 (Maintain Personal Integrity), 11 (Never Use Power Without Wisdom or Wisdom Without Power), 12 (Do Not Be a Lifeless Leader…), 91 (Translate Your Vision into Reality), 129 (Constantly Thinking about the Day of Accountability) etc. Further, the font is large enough for the average reader to clearly decipher. Scripture passages clearly stand out since they are in bold print and, except for verification, passages are not merely referred to but are reproduced to avoid laying the book aside to read from the Bible.
The general presentation of women, however, is not well balanced in the text and would give a first impression that women are not being regarded as important in church leadership. Though the writer appeals to the reader not to be angry with him but to direct such to God, he observed that “in its rawest form, the leadership of a woman is a dangerous thing” (p.34). One would have expected a treatment of some fine qualities of biblical women leaders such as Deborah, Esther etc.
The imprint (an umbrella term that comprises city of publication, publisher and date of publication) is incomplete. The missing link or strand on this chain is the city of publication which is not clearly indicated in the text. This is a very important bibliographic information. Instruction is however given to write to P.O.Box 114, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana. One wonders if the city here could be used as the place of publication.
Consideration to add an index and bibliography would further enhance the quality of this invaluable text. An index generally facilitates relatively faster retrieval of information. A bibliography, a descriptive list of reading materials consulted, could be very helpful on such an outstanding publication since many insights were given and several readers would be inspired to make further references. Adding a bibliography, an alphabetical list of the authors names (surname followed by other names) and the respective works cited in the next edition which is anticipated, would be quite helpful.
The above notwithstanding, Dag Heward-Mills’ text is very easy to read due to the length of each chapter, some as short as a page or two, for example, chapters 3 (The Type of Leadership You Must Avoid), 9 (Maintain Personal Integrity), 11 (Never Use Power Without Wisdom or Wisdom Without Power), 12 (Do Not Be a Lifeless Leader…), 91 (Translate Your Vision into Reality), 129 (Constantly Thinking about the Day of Accountability) etc. Further, the font is large enough for the average reader to clearly decipher. Scripture passages clearly stand out since they are in bold print and, except for verification, passages are not merely referred to but are reproduced for ease of reference.
I unreservedly recommend this classic publication to every potential leader. Every pastor must read this book.
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