The explosive growth of the LDS Church in recent years poses the major challenge to Church leaders at all levels to nurture capable, caring leaders in this dynamic environment who will be able to carry out the Church’s worldwide mission. Stephen Nadauld, as a BYU management professor and a former General Authority, is well equipped to help Church leaders learn how to deal successfully with their myriad responsibilities. In this volume, he has prepared a “primer” on priesthood leadership, focusing his attention on “a few simple principles which can be mastered by men and women of any level of education or background” (vii). He is appealing to a broad audience of Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood leaders at all levels and to sisters serving as leaders in Church auxiliaries. The language and examples he uses are easy to read and understand.
The scope of the topic of leadership in the modern Church is vast, particularly when leadership in all Church auxiliaries is included. However, the author demonstrates a commendable mental discipline in limiting his range to a small number of concepts or principles that will be most helpful. He feels that leaders can be successful by concentrating their attention on a few foundational principles, as opposed to management techniques, and “by doing a few right things” (117, italics in original). Three core principles are discussed in separate chapters: teaching the plan of redemption, ministering, and vision and focus. The author also includes chapters specializing in Aaronic Priesthood leadership and the leadership process.
Nadauld’s focused approach should be edifying and clarifying to Church leaders who may easily feel overwhelmed by the complexity that they often face in their callings. He has succeeded in providing a simple, useful conceptual framework for leaders from all backgrounds and experience to help them concentrate their attention on basic principles and dedicate their energies to those things that matter most.
For those that seek to learn more about Church leadership, there are two other recent books that merit attention: Counseling with Our Councils, by Elder M. Russell Ballard (Deseret Book, 1997); and Lead, Guide, and Walk Beside, by Ardeth Greene Kapp (Deseret Book, 1998).