Jan. 29, 2009
Whitworth President's New Book Offers Timely Insights on Effective Leadership
Incarnate Leadership shows how following the leadership of Christ is the best way to lead the followers of Christ
As the U.S. economy plunges deeper into recession, tensions escalate at home and abroad, and scandals continue to plague both the public and private sectors, people are growing increasingly skeptical of their leaders and uncertain about the future. Members of families, businesses, and churches are searching for strong, inspirational leaders who can provide direction yet remain in touch with the everyday needs of those in their care. And that’s exactly the way Jesus led, according to Whitworth University President Bill Robinson.
In his new book, Incarnate Leadership: 5 Leadership Lessons from the Life of Jesus, Robinson illustrates how the ways in which Jesus led his disciples are as effective today as they were at the time of Christ. Drawing from the gospel writer John's introduction of Jesus, Robinson points out how Jesus dwelt among those he led, how he was transparent with his followers, how he humbly reflected his Father's glory, and how he led with a strength born of grace, truth and sacrifice.
"If any leader had the right to be a little 'me-centered,' it was Jesus," Robinson says. "But he never was. From the manger to the cross he was mission-centered, service-centered, other-centered."
Incarnate Leadership follows Robinson's 2002 book, Leading People from the Middle – The Universal Mission of Mind and Heart, which addresses 20th-century leadership assumptions, the new dynamics of 21st-century leadership, and how leaders can change to meet the demands of today's organizations by influencing others from within a group, rather than from above, below, or in front of it. Robinson says he conceived the idea for Incarnate Leadership shortly after writing Leading People from the Middle, when he began contemplating the ways Jesus led his followers in the first century.
"As I looked at the way Jesus led the disciples, his humility contrasted with the pride I found in much of today's leadership, including my own," Robinson says. "He pitched his tent among those he came to serve and to lead. I found myself wanting to lead more like Jesus, because it works better and because it is better."
Throughout Incarnate Leadership, Robinson weaves in stories derived from his own successes and failures as a leader. Since he arrived at Whitworth in 1993, the university has enjoyed record levels of student enrollment and retention, major capital improvements, and increased external visibility.
"Incarnate Leadership is written by one who knows about leadership from a depth of experience," says Andrew K. Benton, president of Pepperdine University. "The call to be transparent, real, and even authentic should speak to any who dare to lead."
Greg Waybright, pastor of Lake Avenue Church, in Pasadena, Calif., says, "It helps me know that though this book is rooted in biblical truth and is set within well-developed leadership theory, it is also a down-to-earth guide toward how to lead in a way that honors God and genuinely helps people."
Incarnate Leadership, published by Zondervan, is available to order at Whitworth's bookstore (509-777-4524 or http://whitworth.thecampushub.com) and from major bookstores online. Robinson will share updates on Whitworth and highlights from his new book during a series of receptions the university will host throughout the West Coast in March and April. Receptions will take place in Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado. Alumni, donors, parents and friends are invited to attend. For a complete schedule and more information, please call (509) 777-3732 or visit www.whitworth.edu/presidentsreceptions.
Before taking the helm as the 17th president of Whitworth, Robinson served for seven years as president of Manchester College, in Indiana. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, his master's degree from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute. He has done extensive speaking, writing and research on leadership and faith-related issues.
Robinson has served as chair of the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce and as chair of the Independent Colleges of Washington. He currently serves on the boards of Princeton Theological Seminary, the ING Educators Advisory Board, and the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Lesley-Anne Stormo, assistant to the president, (509) 777-4665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or email@example.com.
Chris Fann, Zondervan Publishing, (616) 698-3465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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