By Cliff Argue

 

Thy Will Be Done – Strategic Leadership, Planning, and Management for Christians by Peter M. Danilchick, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Yonkers, New York, 2016, 325 pages

Bookstores and online sellers have a seemingly endless inventory of writings in their Business sections providing guidance on leadership, management, planning and related topics. Rarely can  one find a book that presents these subjects from a Christian perspective, and even much more rare is Orthodox Christianity factored into such publications.

Thy Will Be Done by Peter M. Danilchick, a Protodeacon in the Orthodox Church in America, fills that void and does so very well. Deacon Peter spent many years as a senior executive with a major international company stationed in a number of countries around the world. Today he bring his experience of best practices to the table as a board member of FOCUS North America and as a member of the secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops.

In his unique offering to The Church, Deacon Peter blends his secular business experience with the wisdom and teachings of Prophets, Saints, Fathers of the Church and contemporary Orthodox theologians. He offers a great deal of helpful material in areas including Leadership, Strategic Planning, Board Service, Finances, and Fundraising. As a result, this book is an excellent guide for Orthodox clergy and lay leaders in all positions of responsibility and authority.

As a testament to the value of Deacon Peter’s book, one Parish Council in our Metropolis of San Francisco, told us that they begin each meeting by reading a chapter.

Much of the book is devoted to the subject of Leadership. Deacon Peter lays out six goals, noting that “the true foundation of Christian leadership is Christ.” These goals are: 1) Seek Christ and His Kingdom, 2) Examine and Rediscover Our Values, 3) Focus on, Care for, and Love Others, 4) Be Humble, 5) Desire to Serve, Not be Served, and 6) Remain Steadfast in Tough Times. Deacon Peter develops each of these goals in the context of how they apply to laity (in family, community, and vocation), deacons, priests, and bishops. Throughout each chapter, Deacon Peter combines the rich tradition and practice of the Church, past and present, with easy to follow “how to” advice based on his business experience.

Later sections likewise provide a wealth of advice on a wide variety of organizational matters and challenges, such as the purpose and process of going through a strategic plan, how to organize and understand parish financial statements, and tips for facilitating efficient meetings. Deacon Peter provides copious footnote references throughout the book as well as an extensive bibliography.

Deacon Dr. John Chryssavgis, Theological Advisor to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople , notes that Deacon Peter’s book “paves the way toward a better understanding of how ‘the way of the world’ should be brought to conform to and coincide with ‘the will of God.’”

The Will Be Done is sure to become a frequently consulted volume in the personal library of every Orthodox bishop, priest, deacon, and lay leader, as well as a staple in every parish library and bookstore. You can purchase Thy Will Be Done is available in print and Kindle editions from St. Vladimir Seminary Press and Amazon.com. Deacon Peter offers a personal video introduction to the content on the book’s page at svspress.com.   

Off the Shelf – Thy Will Be Done