Forward, Ronnie W. Forward: 7 Distinguishing Marks For Future Leaders. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2015. 194 pp.
We live in an ever-changing society, change is happening all around us. As I look around at our changing world, change seems to be approaching at a faster pace, from technology to ethics and values; things are rapidly changing. Our fast-paced, increasingly changing world requires leaders. Ronnie Floyd makes the case that our world needs forward leaders.
In Ronnie Floyd’s new book Forward, he defines a forward leader as someone who “rises to lead people to a better future” (1). After Floyd defines what a forward leader is in the introduction he spends the remainder of the book explaining what distinguishes this breed of forward leader. Floyd unpacks 7 distinguishing marks of a forward leader which are:
- Forward Truth– Forward leaders anchor their lives on forward truth, the unchangeable, infallible, objective truth of God’s word.
- Cross-Generational– Forward leaders have the ability to lead your generation, the generation before you and the generation after you.
- Futuristic Thinker– Forward leaders are always looking ahead, planning and preparing for the challenges on the path to God’s future plans.
- Culturally Sensitive– Forward leaders speak truth in love and are aware of the people, their ethnicity, and practices and lead with sensitivity.
- Growing Teachability– Forward leaders will maintain a posture of learning throughout their life.
- Compelled by Compassion– Forward leaders are “see what others see, hear what others hear and feel what others feel” (150)
- Driven by Something More– Forward leaders driving force is the mission of God, globally and locally.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Growing in leadership is crucial to pastoral ministry, especially in our rapidly changing society. Forward will help you go back to the foundation of leadership, anchoring your life and ministry on the truth of God’s word. It gently reminds you that forward leaders must minister from the outflow of God’s presence in their lives. Forward will bring to the forefront the importance of leading with compassion and allowing the driving force of your ministry to be the mission of God globally and locally. All of these truths are foundational and crucial for pastoral ministry.
Forward will also challenge the pastor in areas where we need to be challenged today. One of the convicting aspects of Forward is that forward leaders need to lead cross-generationally. Forward leaders lead the young and old and every one in between. Another challenge is to lead with cultural sensitivity, Floyd helps the pastor consider what this means in our 21st century society. Christians appear to be reactionary when it comes to change. In other words the church, for the most part is leading from behind, trying to catch up. Floyd challenges the leader to futuristic thinking; leads from the front anticipate the changes that are coming and prepare for them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the mentoring feel I get as I read it, like if Ronnie was sitting with me explaining to me what a forward leader is.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Forward will help you develop essential characteristics for effective gospel ministry in the world.