A Perspective on the Legacy of Leadership – An Interview with Mark Holbrook
Mark G. Holbrook is passionate about the integration of biblical principles into the workplace. He serves as the vice chairman of Christian Leadership Alliance’s (CLA) board of directors, and as the board chair for ECFA. He has served in various leadership roles for CLA for more than 30 years, including service as board chairman of the Christian Management Association , which in 2008 joined with the Christian Stewardship Association to form Christian Leadership Alliance.
Today, Holbrook serves as chairman of the board of managers of Ministry Partners Investment Company, LLC. Holbrook is the past president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU), a role he held from 1979 through 2015. He began his career with ECCU in 1975. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Biola University in 1973 and completed post-graduate studies at Chapman College.
Laura Leonard spoke with Holbrook about his experience in leadership with CLA, and his perspective on the impact this organization — which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016 — is having on Christian leadership today.
When and how did you first get involved with CLA?
Someone invited me to a chapter meeting at World Vision in Monrovia in 1979. I heard a speaker by the name of Steve Douglass, who was vice president of Campus Crusade for Christ and is now president and CEO at Cru. I met a lot of great people and realized that CMA — at that time it was called Christian Management Association — aligned with my personal passion to apply biblical principles to my management of the organization where I was working. I saw that opportunity to connect with other Christian leaders and to begin to develop a framework for applying what I believed and the principles we all shared from God’s Word to how we actually ran our Christian organizations.
What have you seen God doing through CLA over this time?
When I first got involved, the impression I had of Christian organizations’ leadership was that there was a real gap in management competencies — in many organizations, not all — and the reason for that was pretty obvious: people weren’t hired in Christian organizations based on their management skills. They were involved in ministry because they had a passion for ministry. They wanted to see the world changed through faith in Christ; they wanted to see lives changed.
A lot of organizations struggled with internal conflict, with suboptimal financial management; they really had a number of issues around basic management principles that made it difficult for them to focus on ministry. During the early years, and through these 40 years, many thousands of Christian leaders have gained new competencies and raised the bar for not only accountability that CLA can provide, but also the competencies to lead healthy Christian organizations.
How has CLA impacted your leadership?
I got involved in leadership on the board fairly early on, by 1985. Through CLA, I learned so many great principles and was mentored by other Christian leaders who helped me to really think through how to honor the Lord in leading a Christian organization. I see that throughout the Christian ministries that have been involved in CLA.
I see a higher standard and a higher expectation within Christian organizations, and stronger leadership.
This post is an excerpt of an interview done in the 2016 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.