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In “Change Your World,” John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins motivate readers to action

Steve Yount, a senior fellow with the Denison Forum, is a former newspaper editor and public-relations executive working with Christian ministries.

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Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Difference isn’t a Christian book, but believers can take its contents as gospel.

It’s full of biblical principles, so it should come as no surprise that authors John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins are Christian leaders. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP Leadership and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation, and Hoskins is the president of OneHope, a children’s ministry.

“The Inevitable Return”

As Christians, we’re taught to focus on others, and that’s one of the keys to changing the world. We are rewarded when we help others. “I call this process the Inevitable Return,” Maxwell says. “Give to others long enough, and we receive more than we give. Love people deeply enough, and love returns to us tenfold. Lift people up, and we get lifted even higher.”

Consider the story of Sam Yoder, owner of a patio furniture company in Berlin, Ohio. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order, forcing all nonessential businesses to close. Yoder’s first concern wasn’t lost revenue; it was paying his employees.

“One of the beliefs I have is to take care of our people first, and everything else will fall into place,” he said.

Then another company approached him about making plastic face shields for health care workers. After consulting with his team, Yoder decided to make the radical change.

“At their peak, they were producing a shield every fifteen seconds,” Maxwell and Hoskins write. “Everyone had a sense that they were making a real difference. They were saving lives.”

That spirit spilled over into the community outside the factory. Neighbors brought in food for the workers and even volunteered to work on the assembly line.

“The only thing that limits us in a time of crisis is our lack of creativity,” Yoder said. “That and recognizing that we all need one another.”

How to build a team

Jesus showed that one person can change the world, but even he built a team.

“Change requires a diversity of talents and skills in order to be accomplished,” the book says. “Your job is to give everyone who joins you permission to operate in their gifting and invite them to be in the story. If you aren’t a good public speaker, find someone who is. If you tend to be a skeptic, balance yourself by inviting someone who’s optimistic. Why? None of us is as smart as all of us.”

In building a team, Maxwell and Hoskins suggest approaching others this way:

  • Share your passion.
  • Ask what they think.
  • Invite them to improve your ideas.
  • Ask whether it’s something you can do together.

And be positive.

“Being against something isn’t attractive,” they write. “It doesn’t draw positive people who want to work for positive change. If you want to create positive change in the world, you have to be for something.”

Shared values are essential, and there is one common denominator. “If the value values people, then it is positive and worth embracing,” the book says. “If it devalues people in any way, it’s not a good value. Good values always align with the golden rule.”

Inspiring quotes from “Change Your World”

In researching another book, Maxwell found that the golden rule is part of almost every religion. Change Your World lists ten of those religions, ranging from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. As different as these religions are, the golden rule provides the potential for common ground.

Maxwell and Hoskins say it’s important not to dwell on your differences. “What we focus on expands,” they write. “If we focus on our differences, our differences increase. If we focus on what unites us, then our unity increases.”

The book is full of such pearls of wisdom including:

  • “Motivation is overrated; environment matters more. We become like the people we spend our time with.”
  • “You can work with someone whose skills are weak if their values are good. You can train someone who is inexperienced as long as they value growth. You can trust someone who makes mistakes if the person is honest. But when good values are absent in someone, working with them becomes very difficult.”
  • “Many things in life just happen, but positive change isn’t one of them. Changing anything in our world requires someone to be the catalyst.”

The book features inspiring quotes from many leaders who brought about change, including John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr.

King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question [is]: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

How would you answer his question today?