The Making of a Leader by Robert Clinton

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The Making of a Leader

by J. Robert Clinton
272 pages
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The Making of a Leader is arranged around the idea that a leader's life unfolds through a series of predictable stages, where in each stage the leader goes through specific experiences that teach certain lessons. You'll want this book as a coach because it reframes a leaders' life in terms of God's developmental processes--thereby helping you to do the same for your clients. It's a solidly-biblical, extensively-researched and robust framework that is easily applied to real-life situations.

Reading through the book and reflecting on your own story and life experience culminates in producing a personal time line, a tremendous help in understanding the work of God in your own life. Since God works differently in each season, developing a time line with your coach is a great way to understand and engage God in the transitional seasons of life.

As you examine these timeless principles through a myriad of examples, the author's personal stories and case studies, you'll see how the ministry of leadership flows from your "being", or character, and how God is constantly at work developing that character throughout your life. The Making of a Leader contains proven principles for:

  • Identifying those with the ability to lead, and the scope of leadership they are called to
  • Developing leadership ability in others
  • Understanding your own (or a client's) stage and where you are in God's leadership development process
  • Coaching those who are experiencing periods of transition, trial or frustration


The Stages of Leadership Development

The Making of a Leader lays out a detailed, six-stage process of leadership emergence. The stages are:
  1. Sovereign Foundations: how God providentially lays the foundation of your life through history, family and more
  2. Inner-Life Growth: the leader begins to know God personally and sets initial patterns for engaging God when he or she is tested
  3. Ministry Maturing: The rising leader identifies his or her gifts and learns by doing, as well as from his or her own experiences
  4. Life Maturing: The leader functions in his or her gifts in a satisfying way, and continues to grow
  5. Convergence: The leader's contribution is maximized by moving into a "convergent role" that fits his or her gifts and abilities and minimizes involvement in weak areas
  6. Afterglow: A lifetime of leading with integrity culminates in a season of less activity but with broad indirect and relational influence
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Video Review

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition
Introduction: who Needs These Lessons Anyway?
  1. A Letter to Dan, the Intern
  2. The Basis for Lessons: The Big Picture
  3. Foundational Lessons: Inner Life Growth Processes
  4. Second Lessons: Ministry Maturing Processes - Part I
  5. Second Lessons: Ministry Maturing Processes - Part II
  6. Ongoing Lessons: Guidance and Multi-Phase Processes
  7. The Deepening Lessons: Life Maturing Processes
  8. Integrating the Lessons of Life: ?Toward a Ministry Philosophy
  9. Accepting the Lessons of Life: The Leadership Challenges
  10. Appendices
  11. General Index
  12. Scripture Index

About the Author

Dr. J. Robert Clinton is Associate Professor of Leadership at the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary. He specializes in studying leadership, including how leaders are selected, how they emergence and how they are trained. He and his students have extensively researched the biographies of over 600 key leaders, past and present, and that research forms the basis of his many books and leadership studies..

Reader Feedback

"One of the most influential leadership books I've read in my life!"
Tony Stoltzfus