Model Leadership by Bob Hostetler (Perspectives – Day 2)



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Model Leadership by Bob Hostetler

 Not long ago, I took a course in leadership, and in the course of that course (of course) the instructor asked who my Biblical model of leadership was. 

 I didn’t have one. 

 I’d never thought about it. 

 He urged me to make it a matter of thought, prayer, and study, so I did, eventually adopting David, the shepherd king of Israel, as my conscious, purposeful Biblical leadership model (of course, Jesus is my ultimate model, but since he never made a leadership mistake that I can see, and I have made millions of them, I thought I’d profit from a study of someone who shared at least a little of my propensity for boneheadedness). 

 It has been a very helpful exercise for me. I know David seems like the way-too-obvious choice, and part of me was tempted to make a selection that would seem more unique and make me feel more clever. But I resisted that impulse. There is just too much material, too many helpful insights into leadership throughout David’s life to ignore. 

Since that time, I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from David’s example in many ways. Consider: 


Even while he was exiled from the palace of King Saul, and on the run for his life, David refused to exalt himself, and even repented of cutting the hem off Saul’s garment when the king was in a vulnerable position. He somehow managed to submit to the leadership of another, while that “another” was acting sinfully and insanely! Wow, that’s humility. 


When other, better-equipped and more experienced me quailed at the threat posed by the warrior Goliath, David stepped to the front. Alone. 


When the so-called leaders of the nation let David take on Goliath, the shepherd boy declined the armor of King Saul and the conventional weaponry others would have relied on. He knew what his strengths were. He knew what he could do. He knew he needed God, but he also knew that God could use his strengths as much as anyone else’s, if he trusted in God. As a warrior and as a leader, he seems to have been comfortable in his own skin. I like that. I think it’s crucial for a leader. 


The guy shed his royal robes and danced before the ark of God with wild abandon. He had his priorities right, and he refused to sacrifice “the joy of the Lord” to preserve his own “dignity.”

 A Shepherd’s Heart

Not only was he an ACTUAL shepherd before becoming famous, Asaph said that David “shepherded” Israel. He was not primarily a manager or supervisor or commander. He was primarily a shepherd. That was a fundamental characteristic of his leadership: caring, protecting, feeding, providing, etc. 


David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, for Jonathan’s sake, and his mercy toward Shimei, who cursed David at one of the lowest points of his life, shows David to have been a uniquely merciful leader. Though his tendency toward mercy may have backfired in his own family, he is nonetheless an example of a leader who repeatedly chose mercy over judgment. 


David’s interaction with Abigail shows that he was not only able to recognize wisdom in others, but to exercise it himself. 


Asaph also described David as having “integrity of heart.” Though he lapsed into spiritual blindness and committed adultery with Bathsheba, when Nathan confronted him he didn’t deny or dissemble; he repented. Fully. Since I can’t expect to be a leader who never sins or makes a mistake, I aspire to be a leader who is quick to repent and admit his wrong. 


Perhaps recalling not only his youth as a shepherd but also his triumph over Goliath, Asaph sang of David leading Israel with “skillful hands.” He listened to counsel. He assembled a great team. He made tough decisions. He not only had the passion for leadership, but the skill as well. 


Though I can certainly bicker with the bitterness evident in David’s charge to Solomon (urging him to settle accounts with Shimei and Joab), his reign and his succession proved him to be a master planner, one who not only put out today’s fires but planned ahead, thinking of tomorrow’s challenges. 


These are not all the leadership examples that David’s life provides. But they are a start. They are an illustration of the rich material that is there to mine…and to emulate…in David’s example. 


I’m grateful for the challenge that was issued to me to choose a Biblical model of leadership. It has been helpful and encouraging in many ways. 


So what about you? Who is YOUR leadership model?


(Bob Hostetler ( is the author of thirty-five books, including TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY, a one-year devotional drawn from the writings of Samuel Logan Brengle. He blogs at


“My Ten Best Books of 2013” Via:

My Ten Best Books of 2013 (#2)

Bob Hostetler is a Writer and Pastor who also blogs at

Today’s post is the second in a series in which I ask pastor friends to list the “Ten Best” books they read in 2013 (to date, of course). Feel free to comment about any choices you agree with…or not.

Scott E. Strissel is a pastor and Salvation Army officer currently serving in Brainerd, Minnesota. He blogs at Pastor’s Ponderings. Here is his “ten best” books of 2013:

10. The Poor Will Be Glad 
Peter Greer & Phil Smith

Currently reading.

9. What We Talk About When We Talk About God
Rob Bell

Currently reading.

8. Jimmy Stewart: A Biography 
Marc Eliot

Currently reading.

7. Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II 
Larkin Spivey

This is a good daily devotional reader which shares personal stories from soldiers who endured and survived World War II. This devotional both inspires as well as challenges our faith and also provides evidence of God’s hand of protection and guidance to men and women of faith. 

6. River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon
Buddy Levy

This is a historical look into the European Explorer Gonzalo Pizarro and his Lieutenant Franciso Orellana who made their way through the Amazon. I love historic non-fiction books and when you throw in the investigative style with the awe of mystery, you’ve got a good read on your hands. 

5) The Way of Holiness 
Steve Deneff 

I received this book last year as a gift and I was blessed to pour through its pages! It speaks to the heart of our need for Christ-likeness in our lives, the process, and spiritual disciplines all the while personalizing it for the reader without making it read like a textbook. It is definitely worthwhile to read! 

4. Odd Apocalypse
Dean Koontz

I will admit some of favorite novels are by authors who not only provide suspense and action but those who write about victory with an underlined spiritual theme. Dean Koontz is one of my all-time favorite fiction writers because of his knack for writing in a way that engages the reader with humor and severely likable characters. 

3. Falling in Love with God
Bob Hostetler

Every time I read the book of Hosea in the Bible, I am challenged by its words. Bob Hostetler presents the love of God for His people and their wandering ways in a very simplistic yet thought provoking manner. Falling in Love with God was a page turner which also challenged my faith. 

2. Lincoln’s Battle with God
Stephen Mansfield 

Lincoln has always been a figure in American history I have always admired. To read Mansfield’s biography on Abraham Lincoln’s light and his spiritual battles was a challenge for me but also very enlightening with much that I did not know about this famous president. 

1. The Pursuit of God
A. W. Tozer

I must admit that this isn’t the first time I have read Tozer’s Pursuit of God, nor will it be my last. It has become a guiltless pleasure to re-read and seems to always find its way back onto my reading pile. Each time I read this book I am captured by God’s desire for us to know Him more deeply and this challenge to be like Christ in both word and deed. It is, without a doubt, my “go-to” book on the topic of spiritual disciplines.

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