Don’t Mess Up the Ideal: Strategic Leadership, Planning, and Management for Christians

DanilchickStrategic Leadership, Planning, and Management for Christians by Peter M. Danilchick (SVSP, 2016)

Good ideas are rare, the ability to implement those ideas is as scarce as a professional athlete who can describe what he does. For every Tony Romo, there is a Phil Simms, that stand in for the thousands more who could not even earn a job as he inexplicably has in order to fail miserably on a weekly basis.

I work in a big idea place for innovative people, so my biggest concern is making sure we move the ideas from the Ideal World to the shadow lands called “reality.” This is hard, because the world of ideas is pure, eternal, and unchanging. The shadow lands make hash of such beauty if we are not very careful and always produce problems regardless.

As philosophers are to ideas, so managers are to implementing ideas. Just as there are bad philosophers, who twist ideas, so there are bad managers who confuse implementation of the good, true, and beautiful program with “the real work.”


I serve on a parish council and our job is to keep the place going so Father Richard can do what Church does. Father brings us to the mystery, we make sure we do not melt in Houston heat. Just as there is no excuse for idea-leaders who do not read idea books, so the leader who does not strive to become a better manager in the shadow lands believes he lives in heaven and is probably running a little hell.

Every Christian non-profit leader should read one management or business book a month. 

If you do not follow Michael Hyatt, do. I use something he writes every month.

The best book on the topic is Strategic Leadership, Planning, and Management for Christians . . . though the title is the worst part of the book. If the title sounds like the kind of seminar you dread, Father Deacon Danilchick has written a book that is winsome, spiritual, and practical.

That is rare and wonderful.

So is a church leader who is also an engineer who has created and managed numerous companies. Danilchick is a man of the Ideal World and able to negotiate the shadow lands with success, heavenly and earthly. We should attend to his wisdom.

This book is very practical, we learn how to design a meeting. The practicality often comes from sources many of us  think hopelessly impractical: the Bible, Jesus, and other spiritual writers. Danilchick knows better, because he has seen business drift without spiritual wisdom and churches unable to apply that wisdom.

He walks the middle way looking to the ideal and living in the shadows.

This book is particularly important for Church boards or parish councils, too often the best argument of total depravity. Danilchick thinks this a shame. Many church boards are full of sound and fury, but then all the pain signifies nothing. He writes plainly about how meetings can more profitable, humor filled (!), and productive.

Danilchick pulls off a rare feat: taking the ideal spiritual language and using it in business or non-profit governance without losing the true meaning of the original text. He does not paste a Bible verse out of context to make his case. Instead, he establishes the general principle first from the Bible or the Fathers and then applies it.

The highest praise I can give such a book is the wish, at the end, that I could have worked for more bosses like Danilchick and that he led every church meeting I have attended!

Take and read.



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