Leadership by the Good Book

Timeless Principles for Making an Eternal Impact


By David L. Steward

With Brandon K. Mann

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Leadership by the Good Book will inspire, empower, and equip men and women to lead their businesses, their teams, their ministries, and even their families to greater heights and to have an eternal impact.

For David L. Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, his philosophy for building a successful business is simple and founded on a Biblical principle: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45 NIV). As a business leader, he says, the first priority is to serve employees.

Together with Brandon K. Mann, these two leaders distill their wisdom in this field guide for leaders who want to bring respect, integrity, honesty, and trust to the workplace. Steward and Mann draw from personal experiences as well as share insights and examples of how God’s Word has informed and influenced their leadership. Each chapter ends with a section titled Your Leadership Flywheel: Learn, Live, Lead, Legacy, which includes self-reflection questions, application of biblical principles, as well as a prayer.


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by T. D. Jakes

Being a servant leader requires deep faith. While some degree of risk is required in every area of our lives, leaps of faith are vital when creating something new and sustaining its growth. Whether it be a nonprofit, a ministry, a start-up, a side hustle, or an expansion of an existing business, you must step out in faith to reach new heights. Based on my experience and observations, I’m convinced risk-taking faith is the hallmark of successful entrepreneurs and gifted leaders.

No one knows this better than my friend David Steward and his coauthor Brandon Mann. I can’t think of better teachers to illustrate the relevance of Biblical principles in business and leadership. They understand that leadership by the Good Book is not only a matter of following the example set by Jesus and obeying the imperative instructions of the sacred Scriptures—they know these principles also show us how to become servant-leaders fueled by passion, purpose, and divine power.

This principle of daring to venture forward when the security and safety of the status quo offers satisfaction permeates the pages of the Bible. The Good Book is filled with heroes of faith—Noah, Moses, Abraham and Sarah, David, Ruth, Rahab, and Gideon, to name a few—who trusted God despite all odds and what their human senses were telling them. In Hebrews we find a list of many of these saints, a Faith Hall of Fame as it’s often called, spotlighting these men and women who dared to trust God for more than they could imagine, those who were willing to walk by faith and not by sight. Their emergent qualities—courage, patience, purpose, hope, discipline, service—inspire us not only in church but in our homes, cubicles, boardrooms, and online offices as well.

Anyone who has dared to imagine new possibilities and taken the necessary action to ignite change knows that faith fuels you forward. Human history is filled with these dynamic dare-takers and their spirit of overcoming adversity with faith in what could only be imagined. If we were to list a few members of an Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame, we might find the perseverance of Thomas Edison and the tenacity of the Wright Brothers, the inspired genius of George Washington Carver, and the dedication of Marie Curie. From recent decades, we would not be surprised to see entrepreneurial leaders such as Cathy Hughes and Bill Gates, Oprah and Tyler Perry.

Although many entrepreneurs and leaders excel in a variety of fields—many of them in more than one—they know that the beliefs in our hearts affect the thoughts in our minds, the words on our lips, and the actions we take. When leaders live from the belief that others, including employees at every level along with customers and community members, deserve to be treated like they themselves want to be treated, they embody the essence of faith required to inspire others to pursue their own God-given potential.

Servant leadership based on the Bible is rarely taught in business schools and MBA programs, but the wisdom David and Brandon share in this book is indispensable for leaders who want to maximize their potential without compromising their character. Throughout these pages, they emphasize a vital truth that often gets eclipsed by competitive convenience and egocentric climbers in today’s tech marketplace and social media ubiquity: Leaders who succeed at the expense of their integrity have conquered nothing but momentary milestones, no matter how lucrative or lustrous their temporary trophies may be. As the Good Book reminds us, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).

The kind of servant leadership distilled in these pages reminds us that every relationship counts, from the website to the warehouse, and from the mind-set to the marketplace. Servant-leaders have aligned their faith in practical ways that contribute excellence to those around them. They value each and every person from the top of the organization to the customer making the smallest purchase, from the entry-level employee who just graduated to the emeritus board member who continues to serve long after retirement.

David Steward’s brand of leadership is about serving the person and not just the account, the spiritual need and not just the product order. His bottom line carries eternal significance, not just fiscal profitability. Through his amazing, anointed, and admirable journey with World Wide Technology, David has been forced to proceed by faith every step of the way. He has married his work ethic to the ethics of his work! He has relied on God to lead, guide, and direct and has obediently made serving the Lord the only priority. David embodies the essence of the exhortation we find in the New Testament: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23–24).

I aspire to do the same, working as unto the Lord in all that I do. In fact, I’m often asked by up-and-coming leaders how I manage to juggle my many entrepreneurial and creative endeavors with leading my ministry and pastoring my flock at The Potter’s House. My answer is simple: I make sure that everything I do exercises the gifts and opportunities God has given me to serve Him by serving others. Business is never just business and ministry emerges from the pulpit as well as the prospectus. Instead of segregating my interests, gifts, and ministries, I’m inspired by leaders like David Steward to serve in all capacities as the Lord leads.

Without a doubt, I know your ability to lead by serving will be ignited by the passionate wisdom in these pages. Whether you’re just starting your career, making a switch into a different field, launching a new venture, or transitioning into a higher level of leadership, this book is your field guide to blazing a trail of triumph over trials and discovering the joy and fulfillment that comes from following God and leading by the Good Book. Whether you want to invest in an eternal legacy of vocational Christian ministry, to serve those in need through a nonprofit, or to succeed in business by making the Golden Rule your measuring stick, this book is for you!

—T. D. Jakes

A Note to Readers

Thank you for reading our book. Undoubtedly, David Steward’s message will bless and encourage you. As you turn these pages, you will hear David’s voice, experience his passion, and be inspired by his perseverance. I have the privilege of enjoying his friendship and learning from him on a daily basis, and it is a gift for which I am eternally grateful!

Candidly, however, David would prefer that this book not be written from a first-person perspective in his voice. David does not want anything, including his own voice or perspective, to come between you and the Good Book, the Holy Bible.

Therefore, please keep in mind that while these stories are told from David’s perspective, he wants you to know that they are really God’s stories. This book is not about what David has done but about what God has done in and through David’s life. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

David and I encourage you to open your Bible alongside this book and to focus on hearing God’s voice as you read the following pages.

To God be the glory,

Brandon K. Mann


by Brandon K. Mann

Why another leadership book?” you might ask. David Steward and I asked the same question before beginning this endeavor. Here is our answer: God has shown us how Biblical leadership principles can dynamically transform the way people lead and work.

Envision your business, industry, department, practice, school, organization large or small being led by men and women of integrity who seek excellence and understand the power of love and forgiveness. Imagine what it might feel like to work there…Can you see people flourishing at all levels? New hires, middle management, and executives working together. It’s not perfect (or fake in that way that comes from pretending it is), but there is teamwork and collaboration. Everyone seeks to communicate effectively. All share core values that ensure each person has an opportunity to contribute their unique skills and perspectives to the organization’s success.

Can this vision be realized, or is it simply a fantasy?

World Wide Technology (WWT) has realized this vision, and your organization can, too. With annual revenues exceeding $12 billion, WWT is the largest African American–owned business in the world. Founded by David Steward in 1990, WWT provides technology solutions to the world’s largest companies and gets ranked year after year as one of the best places to work by Fortune, Glassdoor, and many others. Beginning as a small start-up of five people in four thousand square feet in suburban St. Louis, WWT has grown into a global powerhouse with thousands of employees and millions of square feet, managing billions of dollars in technology systems and solutions.

When David started WWT, however, his ambition was not to build a multi-billion-dollar company. He had a very different goal in mind. “I wanted my company to be my ministry,” he explains. “It was an opportunity for me to live out the lessons of the Bible and for me to be God’s ambassador in the business world. As 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, ‘We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.’”

David and I share this passion for encouraging and equipping Christians to be ambassadors in the business world. So much so, that following God’s call, I formed a Bible study group at my office in 2008. My coworkers and I met Thursday mornings before work and discussed how we could apply God’s Word to work topics like teamwork, leadership, and customer service. We used David’s first book, Doing Business by the Good Book, as our curriculum. In the beginning, all of the attendees worked at Cassidy Turley (now Cushman & Wakefield), a commercial real estate firm where I was an executive.

These first study groups where the genesis of what has become Biblical Business Training (BBT), a global nonprofit ministry that God called me to form in 2009. In 2010, I resigned from corporate America to serve as BBT’s first executive director, and David was a founding board member. BBT’s mission is to help people apply Biblical principles at work. Through BBT, God continues to show us how Biblical leadership principles can transform the ways people lead and work.

I can’t think of anyone more qualified to fulfill this mission than David Steward, who models Jesus’ leadership like no other leader I’ve ever met. God brought us together in 2002 while David and I were both mentoring the same small-business owner. Shortly after meeting David, I asked him to be one of my mentors, and since that time, he has poured into my life and set an example that inspires me every day. So, it is only fitting that our book focuses on Biblical leadership examples.

For within the pages of Scripture, you can discover some of the greatest Biblical leaders, from Moses and David to Solomon and, of course, Jesus Himself. The leadership principles demonstrated by these iconic figures stand the test of time. Whether warring with hostile neighbors or telling parables set in their agrarian society, these Biblical leaders share shockingly relevant wisdom for us today in our tumultuous world of advanced technology.

So again…why another leadership book, especially one from David? David’s first book, Doing Business by the Good Book, provided a broad review of how Biblical principles can be applied to all aspects of work, from being an entrepreneur to branding and networking. This book is focused sharply on helping men and women apply Biblically based leadership principles.

To that end, following each chapter you will find a “Your Leadership Flywheel: Learn, Live, Lead, Legacy” section. Each of these sections includes several self-reflection questions regarding the application of the Biblical leadership principles included in the chapter, as well as a prayer. These sections are named for BBT’s leadership development model, the Leadership FlywheelTM. You can learn more about the Leadership Flywheel at the end of the book. David and I encourage you to explore all of BBT’s resources at www.B-B-T.org. All proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to BBT, helping to sustain and support the ministry. Thank you for your support!

God has shown David and me, through WWT and BBT, how Biblical leadership principles can transform the way people lead and work. And I believe He is also igniting a similar vision in you.

Remember when I asked you to envision your business, industry, department, practice, school, organization large or small being led by men and women of integrity who seek excellence and understand the power of love and forgiveness? And to imagine what it might feel like to work there? I’m convinced this vision gives you a glimpse of how Biblical leadership principles can transform the way you lead and work.

You don’t need another book on leadership to collect dust on your desk or sit idly on a shelf. My hope is that this book will be a field guide, one that you will return to again and again as God continues to fulfill all the incredible potential that He has placed within you as you seek to serve those entrusted to your care. So wherever you are—in your life, in your relationships, in your career—I pray that you will be inspired, empowered, and equipped by the Biblical principles contained in these pages to lead your families, your teams, your ministries, and your businesses by the Good Book!

Section 1


Chapter 1

Serve a Higher Purpose

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:43–45

I did not set out to create a multi-billion-dollar company.

When World Wide Technology (WWT) was launched in 1990, I wanted to build a world-class company that would help transform the world through technology. Little did I realize in those early days, but God certainly knew, that our journey as a company would not only transform the world through technology but also serve a higher purpose and become a true ministry.

In the six years that preceded the founding of WWT, God had taught me many lessons about the blessings and burdens of entrepreneurship. I acquired and started several companies during the mid-to-late 1980s, after transitioning from a blessed and successful career in corporate America. However, the darkest time of my entrepreneurial journey was yet to come.

Within three short years of starting WWT, I was at an all-time low. I vividly recall sitting in my small office in the dark. The darkness was both external and internal. Externally, the power was out, literally, because of a powerful thunderstorm. However, that storm and the darkness it caused paled in comparison to the emotional and psychological darkness that I was experiencing. WWT was in dire straits from a business development standpoint, and cash was in short supply because of, let’s say, a creative allocation of significant cash that one of my associates chose to make.

So there, in the darkness, I sat as the thunder echoed in my mind from the storms outside and inside. Then the phone rang. Expecting more bad news, I tentatively picked up the handset. The voice on the other end wasn’t the gruff one of a banker, supplier, or customer, which I was anticipating. Instead, it was the sweet voice of my mother-in-law. Thelma’s mother, also named Dorothy like my own mother, has always been more than a mother-in-law to me—she is truly my mother-in-love!

Like her daughter, my precious wife, Dorothy always knew what Scripture would help me experience God’s peace. “David,” she said, “God told me to call you and tell you to read Psalm Ninety-One. I don’t know why God wanted me to do this right now, but He does and I’m sure you do, too. I love you and God does, too!”

After thanking her and saying goodbye, I quickly opened my Bible to Psalm 91. As I read, I knew why God told her to share this Scripture with me. Reading these powerful words of God’s protection and provision inspired me. They renewed my strength and became my scriptural backstop whenever I felt the darkness closing in again. I encourage you to read Psalm 91 now. Its sixteen verses will bless you; I know firsthand.

While our bleak situation at WWT did not change overnight, my dependence on God’s Word for leadership guidance deepened dramatically. As the prophet Isaiah writes, God’s Word does not return void! Receiving and resting in God’s Word enabled me to see Him as the source, not WWT, our employees, bankers, or customers. Even while I was buying groceries for my family at 7-Eleven, on a credit card that I couldn’t afford to pay off at the time, I heard from God that it was going to be OK.

From that point on, my leadership approach was informed and influenced by the teachings of the Holy Bible. I promised God that if He allowed WWT to survive, I would ensure that WWT was a ministry. Well, almost three decades later, God has enabled WWT to not only survive but thrive!

And true to my promise to God, I have endeavored to shape WWT’s culture and core values based on the teachings of the Bible. WWT is a platform where we could exercise the leadership principles seen in Scripture. I wanted to serve as God’s ambassador in a company focused on serving others. This company would be a ministry that spreads the Word of the Lord. We were not going to preach per se; I simply wanted WWT to draw people closer to God.

I’m a living testament, flawed though I still am, that Biblical leadership principles rooted in God’s Word are indeed applicable today. With the incredible success of WWT, it’s easy to draw a line of cause and effect to prove my point. But you must understand this line is not short, nor is it straight! Through the many ups and downs along the way, WWT’s success reflects God’s goodness and the power of the principles of leadership within the Good Book, that divinely inspired collection of history, poetry, prophecy, and letters known as the Holy Bible.

I believe I would be just as strong in my faith and just as content if God had not blessed WWT with such audacious global success. I believe this because I know the way I’ve led my life, my family, and my business endeavors would not be any different regardless of their success. Anything I know about leadership begins and ends with my relationship with God. I sincerely believe that putting Him first in all I do makes a tremendous difference in my personal purpose as well as my mission, motivation, and management in business. Having this higher purpose gives me a different perspective than most business leaders. Focused on God and His principles for leadership, I’m more concerned with the eternal than the urgent, the person than the product, the relationship, not the ROI.

And my relationship with Him—as well as with others and with what I do with the life I’ve been given—all comes down to service.

Firm Foundation

Like most people, my attitudes about God and faith, about leadership and how to treat people were influenced by my upbringing. Fortunately, I was blessed with a firm foundation for the leader God created me to be. I was born in Chicago, but I grew up in Clinton, Missouri, a small town of five thousand during the 1950s. Like most places in our country at that time, Clinton was segregated, a reality I encountered every day—on the bus to school, in the classroom, at the drinking fountain, on the playground, or anywhere else I happened to venture. I vividly remember having to sit in the balcony at the movie theater, not being able to swim at the public swimming pool, and not being allowed to eat at Wiley’s Restaurant because it was whites only—the list of indignities was a long one.

Despite this challenging cultural environment, I was blessed to grow up in a loving home with two devoted Christian parents. My father was the first entrepreneur that I saw. He was an auto mechanic who supplemented our family’s income by providing “shade tree” auto repair, as well as janitorial and trashing-hauling services. When there weren’t jobs available, he created them. I have always admired that about him. My mother ran our very small home, no small feat with eight of us kids in the family and no indoor bathroom! She also volunteered at church and helped other families in our neighborhood. We were so poor that I like to joke we didn’t live on the other side of the tracks—we lived on the tracks! Nonetheless, we had a small six-acre plot of land that allowed us to own a couple of cows, keep a few hogs, and raise chickens. We also had a vegetable garden, which my mother tended—and taught us kids to cultivate—almost every day except in the winter. Speaking of winter, Mom was also a canner, who enjoyed hosting “canning parties” to make sure our family and many others had canned the fall harvest, so we all had enough vegetables to last us through the winter. Miraculously, our little farm provided enough food so that our family of ten never went hungry.

I tell you this not for sympathy or to underline just how far God has brought me in achieving success. I share my humble beginnings with you so you can understand just how crazy it was for me to quit my job, risk my life savings, and blaze my own trail! When you follow God in how you live, learn, and lead, it won’t always seem logical on paper or make sense to others. Most people I knew, including members of my family and close friends, questioned my sanity at the time.

This restlessness within my soul emerged when my career seemed to be at its peak, but it had started long before while I was still a boy back in Clinton, sitting in Sunday school and learning about Biblical heroes like Moses and Daniel. I wanted to emulate them and, in my own unique way, serve others by being their leader. The greatest inheritance that I received from my parents is the love of Christ. Therefore, at an early age I knew that God loved me—that He loved all people, black or white, rich or poor—and that He had a special purpose in life for me. I understood that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to live on Earth as a baby born in a smelly stable and to die as an innocent man nailed to a cross. Jesus’ life on Earth was about overcoming the odds, overturning the corrupt establishment, and relying on His Father’s love and power in all that He did. Jesus loved everyone—fishermen and tax collectors, sick people and prostitutes.

From a young age, I felt called to lead and to love people the same way. Don’t get me wrong: I never thought about parting the Red Sea or spending a night in the lions’ den, let alone walking on water. But I liked the idea of being a good shepherd leading his flock of other people who also wanted to serve other people. After seeing the ways prejudice and racism poisoned people’s hearts in our segregated community, I wanted to make a difference and unite a group of diverse people around a common, worthwhile cause, a higher purpose. I dreamed of building a company that would focus on treating all people—employees, customers, even competitors—the way I wanted to be treated.

When I felt compelled to take a huge leap of faith and start WWT, I had already been blessed with so much in my life. By almost everyone’s account, I was successful. Married to my beautiful wife, Thelma, a registered nurse, and father to our two children, I had worked my way up to the position of senior account executive with Federal Express. In fact, in 1981 I was named our company’s salesman of the year. Fred Smith, the company’s great founder and CEO, personally presented to me the trophy, a silver ice bucket engraved with my name, at the company’s hall of fame dinner. While I felt incredibly honored to receive the award, I also felt this odd discomfort. I can remember peering inside that silver bucket and feeling as empty as it looked. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life meeting sales quotas and then wake up in my seventies one day, wondering why I didn’t do more with my life.


  • "Through a collection of stories, David Steward captures the essential elements of what it takes to successfully lead people. Serve, love, risk, invest, trust, and so much more beautifully form a leadership template that you'll immediately want to replicate. But not so fast-let this book minister to you as God, through David, not only refines your leadership style but reconnects you with Him, the ultimate business advisor. Leadership by the Good Book has changed my life."—Cynt Marshall CEO, Dallas Mavericks
  • "David Steward is an incredible leader who has helped to shape the future for so many people not just in the technology sector but across life. His vision for WWT and, more importantly, his passion of helping others have been an inspiration for me personally. We are all so fortunate to have such an incredible human being who has done so well in life now working even harder to help others achieve a level of personal and professional success."—John W. Thompson Venture Partner, Lightspeed Venture, and Chair of the Board, Microsoft Corporation
  • "In Leadership by the Good Book, David Steward has written a profound,timely, and timeless book. The wisdom within its pages demonstrates the power of God and David's willingness to be used by God. The knowledge shared will accelerate you toward greater integrity, improve your excellence at work an home, and fortify your faith. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to go to the next level as a leader, professionally and personally."—DeVon Franklin Hollywood Producer and New York Times Best-Selling Author
  • "All you have to do is see the table of contents, which presents you with a reality many do not think is possible: How you can lead a life of meaning and service to others, and be as successful as David Steward? The secret he reveals is so powerful-meaning and service to others is success . . . and it produces results. Thanks for this gift, David."—Dr. Henry Cloud Psychologist, Author, and Leadership Consultant

"As a lifelong educator, I have found that the higher education mission is balanced by morals and ethics of individuals. Leadership by the Good Book is an extraordinary read, authored by an extraordinary man. David Steward is truly God's servant, whose life exemplifies one of humility. This book serves as a spirit-led guide to finding one's potential and purpose. Through faith and by following godly principles you, too, will be inspired to become a servant leader." —Dr. Henry Givens Jr. President Emeritus, Harris-Stowe State University

On Sale
May 12, 2020
Page Count
320 pages

David L. Steward

About the Author

David L. Steward is the chairman and founder of World Wide Technology (WWT), a market-leading systems integrator and supply chain solutions provider with revenue of more than $12 billion. Since 2014, WWT has been ranked annually by Fortune magazine as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in America. A graduate of Central Missouri State, Steward worked for FedEx, where he was named Salesman of the Year prior to launching WWT. He is a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and serves on numerous boards for civic, social, and philanthropic organizations. In 2016, he and Brandon Mann founded Kingdom Capital, a values-driven private investment and philanthropic firm that seeks to transform the world through a virtuous cycle of capital. He lives in St. Louis, MO.

Brandon K. Mann is the Managing Partner and CEO of Kingdom Capital, a values-driven private investment and philanthropic firm that seeks to transform the world through a virtuous cycle of capital. He is also the founder of Biblical Business Training (BBT), which provides Biblical leadership development and curriculum to small-group Bible study leaders, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and equipping them to pour into the lives of others. After graduating at the top of his MBA class at the University of Missouri, Mann became the youngest partner of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker (now part of Cushman & Wakefield). He has served as a church elder as well as an advisor to numerous companies, ministries, non-profits, and individuals.

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