The Empowered Leader: 10 Keys to Servant Leadership

By Calvin Miller
Nashville, TN : Broadman & Holman (1995). 227 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Montoya
6.2 (Fall 1995) : 254-255

Calvin Miller is Professor of Communication and Writer in Residence at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This book is his second in the "Professional Development" series by this publisher, The Empowered Communicator: 7 Keys to Unlocking an Audience being the first.

The author's intent is threefold:

 First, I want the wisdom of Scripture to speak a clear and usable word to every contemporary Christian leader. Second, I want those sound leadership themes that dominate current thinking to be linked with Scriptural insight. . . . Finally, I hope to define Christian leadership in such a way that it escapes the haphazard reputation it often acquires (xi-xii).

The author uses David as the prime example of servant leadership and develops the usual themes associated with leadership around ten keys:

Key 1: Fostering an honest image.

Key 2: Seeing yourself as a leader.

Key 3: Networking and the special friends of a leader.

Key 4: Vision.

Key 5: Decision.

Key 6: Defining, structuring, and motivating.

Key 7: The policies of grace and abuse of power.

 Key 8: Coping with difficult people

Key 9: The art of delegation.

Key 10: Surviving a visible mistake.

 Miller is a masterful communicator and his works are delightful to read. He has a way of condensing the topic to a few meaningful paragraphs filled with concise quotable statements. Each chapter includes pithy quotations suitable to the topic and a letter from a congregant to his pastor concerning leadership. A splendid idea!

Although the book follows the biblical theme of David's leadership style, it seems to convey more secular principles of leadership adorned with biblical references. Perhaps the author relied too heavily on secular writers he consulted (cf. xii). References to great works on leadership by Christian authors of the past and present are absent.

Miller does the ministry a service, however, that of redefining servant-leadership by making the reader understand that leadership is not some weak aimless fearful task, but rather a divine mandate which every leader must fearlessly execute with excellence. Church leaders need to hear this side of leadership.