Suffice it to say that we had a far ranging conversation, lasting nearly two hours. Our time together culminated with me recommending the best book on leadership that I personally know of, at least for pastors. That relatively short book was written by Paul W. Powell, a long time pastor and denominational leader among Southern Baptists.
Dr. Powell wrote a total of 36 books over his long and illustrious career. As president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Annuity Board, he would prepare books and then give them away at denominational convention meetings as way of getting young pastors to come by the Annuity Board booth and inquire about retirement planning.
One of these was a book he wrote titled Taking the Stew Out Of Stewardship. Needless to say, it addressed a touchy subject for a great many churches, and thus, all too often for the ministers who serve them.
In any event, after a certain speaking engagement, Dr. Powell was approached and challenged to write a similar work on leadership. The result was his book titled Getting the Lead Out Of Leadership.
As a young pastor, I chanced upon this book and simply devoured it, gobbling up and digesting its various principles, and then putting them into practice at every church I have served. I have also consistently recommended it to others down through the years.
(In fact, these days, on a regular basis, I teach a short course at our church which we call “Leadership 101”. This course is designed to help develop young men who have leadership potential within our church family, preparing them to serve in such areas of lay leadership as Stewardship, Personnel, and Property Teams, as well as on the Deacon Body.)
Sadly, after a long and productive career, Dr. Paul W. Powell recently passed away. When I first read of his passing, I thought about the words of the Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, who in his eponymous Biblical book (chapter 11, verse 2) stated: “Wail, O cypress, for the great cedar tree has fallen, because the glorious trees have been destroyed; Wail, O oaks of Bashan, for the impenetrable forest has come down.”
What an apt image. For surely a mighty oak has now fallen. You see, as results in the felling a giant oak tree, Dr. Powell’s passing leaves a gaping hole in the canopy of the hearts and lives of untold numbers of younger ministers such as myself!
I would be remiss this day if I did not take the opportunity to state how beholding I am to this tremendous servant of the Lord. His faithfulness to serve the Lord as he was directed had a powerful impact upon me and my ministry.
I can only hope that I somehow both honor Dr. Powell and glorify the same God he served by following the example this man gave. I also hope that, in the process, I can perhaps inspire others to do the same.
If you care to read more about Dr. Powell and all that he accomplished in the 83 years God gave him in this world, please visit his obituary at: https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=17
You can also read more about his life and ministry at:
Perhaps the greatest legacy he left was his body of work, which can be accessed online at Baylor University’s web site. You can access each of his 36 books directly through the previous link at Wikipedia.
Specifically, Dr. Powell’s book Getting the Lead Out of Leadership can be found here: http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=146512.