Jim Galvin, co-creator and co-editor of the Life Application Study Bible, advertises himself as an organizational consultant specializing in strategy, effectiveness, and change who is relentlessly focused on releasing the potential of leaders and organizations. He has written a book on biblical principles for leading and following well, titled I’ve Got Your Back. I was provided a copy of this book free of charge provided I review it. So here ya go!
I’ve Got Your Back by Jim Galvin
a review by Stuart Brogden
This book is subtitled, A Leadership Parable – biblical principles for leading and following well, and indeed most of this small volume is a story about common folk who are professing Christians struggling with life’s challenges and being gently educated by someone older and wiser. The second part of the book, one chapter, boils down the biblical principles contained in the 11 chapters of the parable and puts them squarely into their proper theological context.
Throughout the book, Galvin shows us application of biblical leadership principles, not so different from many books that do so, but leave out the person and the work of Jesus Christ – without Whom none of us can do anything good! This focus is made clear in the theological wrap up, but not so much in the parable. The author provides good counsel through his mentor, Jack, structuring three categories of leadership with 5 ways of following. Applying these in accordance with proper interpretation of the Bible, Galvin fails to press on the characters – and his readers – that all good we are able to do is by the grace of God in His Son. There is much talk about God and the Lord, along with much self-talk about making choices and facing fears – none of this is bad. It simply does not bring in the One in Whom we are able to do all things. This dawned on me as I was reading the last chapter – it’s subtle enough that one might not notice the absence of Christ from the parable, at least in a meaningful way. Chapter 5 is a prime example: quite a bit of Scripture presented showing how one is to live. Not a hint of the only provision we have for living right – only advice to “work harder”. Here’s the fine point – we are to work hard, but never thinking we are sufficient apart from Christ; not a one-time decision to follow Him, but a daily recognition that He is our strength and wisdom and strong tower.
Our author makes clear the monergistic aspect of our salvation, calling us passive in our justification, and he goes on to say that our sanctification is very much a cooperative effort in which we work hard and strive for godliness – “while remaining utterly dependent on his (the Holy Spirit) power.” Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord! The first 9 pages of part 2 are very good and have a proper focus on our eternal dependence on God. Some of the content on pages 148 & 149 need to be woven into the parable; if the author thinks he put it there, it did not work for me, Christ is hidden.
I think Galvin’s categories of leadership and followship are mostly on target and will be valuable to the reader. The danger for all of us is to follow Jack’s lead in the parable and teach biblical principles apart from the person and the work of Christ Jesus, leading people to think they can do what the author tells us (in part 2) we cannot do – manage life with others in work and church without being a new creature in Christ and trusting in Him alone for strength and wisdom to live rightly in this evil age.
Read the book – but by all means do not fail to read part 2. The parable alone is not what the body of Christ needs. We need to be reminded to fix our eyes on the unseen, trusting in the Lord of Heaven for protection and provision now and for eternity. To Him be honor and glory and dominion forever!