Cole, Journeys to Significance


Neil Cole, Journeys to Significance: Charting a Leadership Course from the Life of Paul (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series). Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Referenced in: Summary

This book describes Paul as an example of how to lead “throughout a lifetime, increasing significance all along so that one finishes strong and leaves a legacy of leaders to carry on the work.” Cole says, “In this book, we will examine the leadership trajectory of the apostle Paul and discover the ways he developed to become a man whom God used to change the world forever.” (xxiii) The purpose is not to describe this stricly historically, but to be a “missionally strategic resource” by adopting some of the profound lessons Paul learned “so that he could be more productive and influential with different groups, finish strong, and develop as a leader.” (xxix)

He is influenced by J. Robert clinton’s “Time Line of Leadership Formation.” He looks at Paul’s development in six phases coinciding with major events as recorded in the Book of Acts:

  • Phase I, Sovereign Foundations - Birth and the Early Life, Philippians 3:5-6
  • Phase II, Inner-life Growth - Conversion and New Life, Acts 1-13:3, Galatians 1:11-24
  • Phase III, Ministry Maturation, First Journey, Acts 13-15, Galatians 2:1-10
  • Phase IV, Life Maturation, Second Journey, Acts 16-18:22
  • Phase V, Third Journey - Acts 18:23-20
  • Phase VI, Fourth Journey and Beyond - Acts 21-28, 1-2 Timothy, Titus

This is an excellent book. J. Robert Clinton says in his review:

Neil Cole, using the metaphor of journeys, focuses on five important development phases of the apostle Paul’s timeline. The strengths of this work, apart from the good overview of Paul’s life and ministry, are the post-chapter sections dealing with lessons—first observations from Paul’s life and then often valuable personal lessons from the author’s life. Neil gives the best interpretation of Paul’s progress of ministry breakthrough insights that I have seen. This interpretive biography of Paul is a valuable resource for a leader who wants to pursue the Leadership Mandate (Hebrews 13:7,8) and learn from Paul’s examples.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

“Finishing well is not something that you do at the end of your life — it is what you determine to do every day of your life. You do not finish well accidentally. Determine now that you will finish well or die trying, which, in the end, is really what it means to finish well.” - From the Preface

Life is not just one journey; it is several journeys, each culminating in valuable lessons that build toward our final breath and eternal destination.

In Journeys to Significance, bestselling author and organic church leader Neil Cole takes us on a journey as we follow the life of the apostle Paul and learn valuable lessons about how God forms a leader over the course of his or her life. It’s not about just reaching the end — it’s about finishing well and keeping your eye on the ultimate goal, not on short-term wins or losses. Journeys to Significance provides valuable insights to help any leader (or aspiring leader) to build upon each journey so that finishing strong is not only possible, but is a clear and practical focus in the here and now.

The apostle Paul is one of the most pivotal world-changers in history. In Journeys to Significance, the story of Paul’s life comes alive in an inspiring and helpful way and includes many real-life applications for the journeys we all must face. Cole adds fresh insights into Paul’s missional strategies and the lessons he learned. Following Paul’s lessons can increase a leader’s impact and significance and contribute to a strong finish.

As the apostle Paul demonstrated over the course of his life, if we are able to courageously follow God’s lead no matter what it costs, we will discover the true meaning of leadership—and we will finish well.

About the Author

Neil Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. While studying at CSULB he encountered the Good News of Jesus Christ and turned his life over to Him, never looking back. His journey in God’s kingdom brought him to serve in a mega church, a local community church and now small rapidly multiplying organic churches that meet in homes, campuses and places of business all over the world. Neil travels around the world sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom, catalyzing the development of organic church networks and coaching leaders. He has been married for over 27 years to Dana and has three adult children - Heather, Erin and Zach.

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