Seven Men – Study Guide for...

George Washington

The earliest known portrait of George Washington captures the look of a young man with ambition. The portrait was painted about 12 years after Washington’s service in that war, and several years before he would reenter military service in the American Revolution.

Focus for the Week

What is the right kind of ambition?


How did you take action in “everyday” ways during the last week based on the challenges of our study? Remember to be specific! How did you show courage?

Did anyone specifically set aside time to dream about how we can be used by God to be catalysts for cultural transformation? Remember: what you thought about on the way to our time together doesn’t count. Did you set aside time?

What is the next step you need to take in being “a catalyst for culture change?”


Metaxas was very willing to acknowledge some of Washington’s flaws. What were these flaws?

Do you Washington’s flaws were significant enough that they should have disqualified him from being included in a book like this?

Metaxas begins the first chapter by pointing out that although everyone knows who George Washington was (our capital and a state are named after him!) few have really considered the paradoxes of his life. To begin with, Washington is known as the “father of our country.” Yet, he never had any children of his own.

What was the paradoxical action that Metaxas says Washington took?

But here’s the biggest contradiction: Washington was an extremely ambitious young man who worked hard to achieve fame, glory, land, and riches— yet at a pivotal moment in American history, he did something so selfless that it’s difficult to fully fathom. It’s principally because of this one thing that he’s included in this book. So what did he do? In a nutshell, he voluntarily gave up incredible power. Seven Men (pp. 2-3). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

What character qualities came together so that Washington made such a great decision?

In his highly regarded business book,  Good to Great, Jim Collins described Level 5 leaders. If you’re not familiar with this book, you can watch/listen to Collins talk about Level 5 leaders here.

Do you think Washington met the criteria for being a Level 5 leader?

Can you think of a highly successful leader (by culture’s standards) who was not a Level 5 leader.


Read Philippians 2:5-12.

How did Jesus set the ultimate example for Level 5 Leaders?

Christ gave up what was legitimately His. But in the end was he left with nothing? See Philippians 2:10-11.

Engage and Execute

Should everyone set a goal of being a Level 5 leader?

Which level of leadership are you targeting?

What can you do today to be a Level 5 leader?

Do you have a project/initiative in mind in which you are showing the right kind of ambition?

For Further Reading and Study

Thom Rainer, Fifteen Characterstics of Great Leaders

George Washington’s Farewell Address


Tim Johnson is a Regional Vice President for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Leader of Pinnacle Forum for Central Illinois.