Leadership Insights from Jossy Chacko’s Book: Madness

I was leaving the auditorium feeling inspired. I was at the Exponential conference in Orlando and had just heard Jossy Chacko speak. He shared about a movement of transformational leaders that are planting churches all across India and beyond. While reflecting on what had been shared, some volunteers thrust a book into my hand. It was Jossy’s autobiography – Madness. I’ve just finished reading the book and loved reading about his journey. As he shares about his faith, his move to Australia, establishing the ministry of Empart, and his vision to plant thousands upon thousands of churches, he weaves leadership lessons that have equipped him to grow such a fruitful ministry.

Whenever I finish a book, I go through it and copy out quotes and sections that have made an impression on me. As I reviewed Madness, I was struck by the alignment between what Jossy was sharing and the eight hallmarks of Christ-centred servant leadership that are the foundation of Grab a Towel. Therefore, I thought it a great opportunity to recap these hallmarks and emphasise them through relevant quotes from Jossy’s book.

Grab a Towel Hallmark 1: Christ-centred servant leaders increasingly display the character of Christ.

Jossy writes, “Leaders don’t fail because of lack of information, they fail because they lack character.”

Jossy Chacko, 2008:127

Grab a Towel Hallmark 2: Christ-centred servant leaders have a Gospel-focused vision that continues God’s work on earth.

Jossy writes, “Cast a big enough vision. A big-enough vision is one that makes you wonder, ‘is this too big?!’ It’s one that keeps you awake at night and energised during the day. A big-enough vision has ample space for others to join you and it requires ongoing miracles to continue.”

Jossy Chacko, 2008:92

Grab a Towel Hallmark 3: Christ-centred servant leaders are faithful stewards of the Gospel and their gifts in their generation.

Jossy writes, “Faithfulness involves multiplying what you have been given. Faithfulness and fruitfulness are two sides of the same coin. In God’s eyes, you cannot be faithful without being fruitful.”

Jossy Chacko 2008:65

Grab a Towel Hallmark 4: Christ-centred servant leaders catalyse other leaders through growing in maturity.

Jossy writes, “The level to which God can use you is directly proportional to the level of your surrender to him.”


“Don’t let the little things you don’t know hold you back from the big things you know to be true… To live a lifestyle of significance is to give yourself away… Our challenge is to discover and align all that we are and all that we have to that which God has already prepared.”

Jossy Chacko, 2008:55,113

Grab a Towel Hallmark 5: Christ-centred servant leaders put people before programmes, projects and profit.

Jossy writes, “Most of the time we are so self-focused that we miss the things that God put around us… To be less self-aware and more others-aware is to become like Jesus.”


“Invest in people not projects. It is easy to become too invested in a project close to your heart. Instead, invest in the people leading the projects.”

Jossy Chacko 2008:80, 221

Grab a Towel Hallmark 6: Christ-centred servant leaders empower others to fulfil their potential.

Jossy writes, “I came to believe that the quality and success of missionaries should not be determined by how long they stayed on the field, but by how briefly they stayed, and how strategic they were in developing national leaders and sustainable infrastructure… Missionaries and outside workers must be like a scaffolding: once the building is done, it must be removed and relocated to the next site.”


“As a leader, my job is to create an atmosphere where good ideas can flourish.”

Jossy Chacko 2008:96, 185

Grab a Towel Hallmark 7: Christ-centred servant leaders are motivated by compassionate love for others.

Jossy writes, “It is not either just about preaching nor is it just about meeting a need; we need to do both social and spiritual transformation. Jesus never separated the Good Commandment and the Great Commission; to him these were two sides of the same coin.”


“Christ-like compassion compels us to care for the lost and the needy, giving people the answer to both problems.”

Jossy Chacko 2009:121, 122

Grab a Towel Hallmark 8: Christ-centred servant leaders have the steely resolve to persevere.

Jossy writes, “I strongly believe that a person’s leadership capacity is determined by their capacity to bear pain” (Chacko 2008:204).


“Let struggle refine you. Character is rarely developed in comfort; it is tested and refined by struggles. Hardship and trials are the most fertile ground for character formation and leadership development” (Chacko 2008:41).

Jossy Chacko 2008:204, 41

I hope you have been inspired by this sample of quotes. Leaders like Jossy raise the bar as they themselves seek to follow the example of Jesus. Find out more about Jossy Chacko here: https://jossychacko.org/.

All quotes are taken from the 2008 edition of Madness.