Lead Like It Matters to God: Values-Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Lead Like It Matters to God: Values-Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World


Richard Stearns


InterVarsity Press

Publication Date:

March 30, 2021




240 pages


Before he became the president of World Vision US, Mark Stearns had a storied career. He had started in the secular business world, rising to corporate CEO of both Parker Brothers and Lenox. Along the way, he found his faith made things challenging at times, but also provided guidance.

Stearns describes his early life and conversion to Christianity, then moves into describing the lessons he learned in both the secular and Christian sectors. Chapters are arranged by lessons learned, like:

  • Surrender: Not My Will but Thy Will
  • Trust: He’s Got This
  • Integrity: Who You Are When No One is Watching
  • Forgiveness: I’m Sorry
  • Self-Awareness: Know Thyself
  • Perseverance: Hang in There

In each chapter, Stearns combines personal stories with Bible-based descriptions of leadership traits that God desires.

Stearns starts the introduction by stating, “I don’t generally read leadership books.” From there, he makes the surprising claim that God’s economy is more interested in how leaders lead than in their success rate. That insight is key to understanding the rest of the book: Stearns talks about several concepts that routinely appear in leadership books (the need for vision, the need for excellence, work-life balance). However, he also talks about times when he failed to follow leadership values and laughs at himself for moments he looked foolish. Equally importantly, Stearns discusses values that American leadership experts don’t often bring up (such as forgiving other people). This gives Lead Like It Matters a good balance of the practical and the spiritual while showing all leadership should be done well unto God.

While Stearns argues that God will use our skills well in work, he doesn’t claim these traits will lead to immediate success or expanded blessings. He keeps the focus on doing the work well to honor God, refusing to give in to easy platitudes. This humility makes Lead Like It Matters an unusual leadership book, but arguably the best kind to read. No prosperity gospel pitches, no deifying his own story. Instead, Stearns firmly points readers to principles that will challenge them, yet result in serving God better.

An excellent guide to honorable leadership.


Rating (1 to 5 stars):

5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Christians working in any workplace, seeking to develop their leadership skills while getting closer to God’s plans for them.

Christian Impact:

Stearns builds his ideas on Scripture passages about leaders like King David, as well as an orthodox Christian understanding that God calls leaders to be servants first and foremost.

Lead Like It Matters to God: Values-Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World



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