“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

So says pastor/speaker/writer John Maxwell in the opening paragraphs of his book Developing The Leader Within You – 2.0, our Book-of-the-Quarter this summer at Bridgeway.

Invariably, the health of a family, a business, a church, a movement, a school-district, a sports teams, a nation, you name it…comes down to the quality of leaders within it.

If that seems dispiriting to you, and you’ve just thought to yourself, “Well, I guess we’re sunk then,” the title of Maxwell’s book should encourage you. Leadership skills can be developed. Leaders aren’t just born; more often than not they’re grown. And Maxwell blazes the trail for how its done.

The first thing I want you to do is look at the ten chapter titles.

We’ll be talking about how to set priorities. And how to develop character. We’ll explore how a good leader should create positive change, and solve problems, and manage his attitude, and focus on serving, and cast a compelling vision. And don’t forget about the importance of self-discipline.

Right away you’ll see from these topics that there is no great mystery to developing leadership skills. You don’t need to go to business school to get a master’s degree in leadership. You don’t need to memorize some secret code.

Almost intuitively, you should be saying to yourself, “Well that makes sense. A leader would know how to do these things.”

Not only is there no mystery to developing leadership skills, but you should be able to read those chapter titles and be encouraged that this is something you can work on. It’s not beyond your reach. With a little effort on your part, along with a humble willingness to allow God to teach you, you can step up your game in any of these areas.

The best leaders in the Bible grew in their leadership skills.

  • Moses listened to advice of his father-in-law Jethro by learning how to delegate – and became a better leader.
  • David advanced from leading sheep to leading men to leading a nation – and at each step became a better leader.
  • Elijah learned to stop being a go-it-alone superstar by welcoming Elisha into his circle – and became a better leader.
  • Peter learned humility and John learned love at the feet of Jesus – and became better leaders.
  • Nehemiah learned courage by setting aside a cushy job in the palace – and became a better leader.
  • Paul learned from Barnabas that John Mark was valuable after all – and became a better leader.

And you, whoever is reading this now, can become a better leader. Jesus is in the people-changing business. You’re already right where you need to be to get the best jump start. So take Jesus’ hand, and get reading Maxwell. Let’s start the journey.


1. Write down a couple examples of things that went belly up or blew up because of bad leadership.

2. If you had to pick three of the ten topics and say, ‘Now these are things that I really need to be working on,’ what are they? And why did you choose them?

3. What encourages you about the list of Bible heroes we mentioned who all grew in leadership?

Pray a prayer right now and ask the Lord to develop you as a leader, as his leader.


Bear Clifton, writer and screenwriter, is the pastor of BridgeWay Community Church in California, Maryland. His blogs, screenplays and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is also the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, “A Sparrow Could Fall”, and his latest – “Living Under The Cross”, a collection of essays on the Beatitudes – all available through Amazon. 

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