Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Unleader: Reclaiming Leadership and Why We Must."

I have been looking/praying for some books on  Christian leadership for the next time I teach Christian leadership.

The key  problem here is that such is not a biblical concept...at least as usually defined.

The key good news is I have a great book to use...and it is biblically refined.

I heartily recommend  Lance Ford's "Unleader: Reclaiming Leadership and Why We Must."

An encouraging aside: Other books in  this vein  are on the way. Richard Kriegbaum (who wrote  the first book on Christian leadership which is primarily prayer...hmmm)'s next book is dedicated to Christian followership (Full disclosure: Kriegbaum is my father-in law, but  who else is even writing on followership?) .

 Lance Ford's brave volume must be wrestled with: yet I  can only dread how many who need this book will  write it off before reading it.  The equally brave Beacon Hill Press must be thanked; I can only imagine how many Christian publishers did (or would have) turned it down for a well-meaning but dead-wrong reason.

You see, the book, though very pastoral and gracious,  pulls no punches on questioning the status quo:

"Twice as many books on Christian leadership are available on Amazon.com as compared to titles on discipleship...I have not found one Christian book on serving as a coveted position in and of itself. When they do  get close to it, authors....cannot hep themselves but to use  the phrase 'servant-leader.'...
Perhaps the biggest mix-up concerning the current leadership obsession is that Jesus himself directly contradicts much--if not most--of what is being imported into the church under the leadership mantra.  Better put, much of it is expressly forbidden  by Jesus.  Cam you imagine the apostle Paul hosting a leadership conference for the early church with a lineup of speakers such as Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus...?"  (pp.20-21)

Neither can I.

But neither can I imagine a church culture that  basically fears/refuses even the considering of such questions.  That is the day we live in.

By the way, Ford is clear:. "This book is not about eliminating leadership in the church. Far from that.."  The book is a clamant wake-up and shake up call to a  "redefining and recalibrating leadership according to 'Jesusian' coordinates."  (p.21)

Suffice to say the comments about "Jesus jerks" simply must be read ( p. 71 ). This hilario-tragic analysis summaries how deep the rabbit hole goes.  I am afraid I recognize myself   in it!

The quotes so far have been from the first and "descriptive" half of the book, "Abandoning Leadership."  But even this section is not all detox and critique, and very balanced.

The second, prescriptive, half is prophetic, practical, and worthy of reading thrice before coming to a judgement.

A few starter quotes to wholly and holy provoke:

"following  him means seeking to be servants, not leaders.  Then,  when we do lead , it is  born from the person of Jesus  (85)..."

"Leadership is the fruit not the tree."  (p.86)

Don't even get me started on a sentence (p. 164) you have never heard before:

"Jesus was a follower."

And my favorite, related to the what I have often blogged on, as  "All American pastors know that  the Bible knows nothing of a weekly meeting where a pastor preaches a sermon.":.

"No pattern is found of a single-decider leadership ethos...in the New  Testament.  The notion of a single leader  overseeing a church has no foundation in the New Testament  (121).


But this is what even those of us who know better (all of us!) we do by default if not design.


I am tempted to quote the section on the senior pastor and sola pastora .  But instead, sell everything you have,  buy thirty copies of the book for senior pastor friends  and immediately have all read page 144.

They may hate you, or argue violently, but I dare anyone to argue the case Ford makes.

Bottom line to underline:

"The  'not so among you; declaration by Jesus pushes us  into the reign of love--the domain of his kingdom--a different kingdom from the domain of humans." (p.87)


Once you have finished the book, especially if you are still unconvinced, start here:

-- Re-read the C/S. Lewis  quote on page 72, and let it read you,

---Take the  simple, and simply profound, self-analysis  on page  87

---prayerfully and carefully weigh the book's Scriptural studies

Then you'll be ready to

-order those twenty nine additional copies

-order your "associate pastor" business cards (see p. 144)

-host the first (first annual, at least) "Christian servanthood conference."

Somebody's got to do it.

It might as well be a new unleader like you.

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