He starts out by looking at whether the notion of ‘leadership’ is biblical, an interesting question certainly. It’s a label that has been so important in wider society for decades but only really in recent years within the church. He takes the reader through some biblical concepts from both Old Testament and New in order to unpack this, which I found really helpful, as well as touching on some of the recent reports written on leadership in the church.
In fact throughout the guide Paul refers to other writers and looks at their approaches, which brings a wider viewpoint to what is essentially a short guide, as Grove booklets are. Something I like about Grove books in general is that you can read them in one sitting but that there is lots of meat if you want to explore a bit further, and this one is no different. It left me wanting to go back and start again and really get into the nitty gritty of what he is saying. In fact though I was sent the guide digitally for free to review, I will be buying my own hard copy so I can add notes and scribble on it to my heart’s content!
The title notes ‘challenges and opportunities’ and that’s exactly what it does, highlighting some of the key issues and needs for evangelical leaders today. Paul doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, in fact he openly embraces it and rather insightfully I feel, notes how we can deal with it. For example noting how the rise of the evangelical tradition, and a significant number of evangelicals in senior leadership positions in the church, means that we now have more of a voice and need to learn to embrace that and use it.
He also looks at what it means to be an evangelical in a tradition that is about as broad in it’s understanding as the CofE itself, with some interesting notes on the variations in what the label means.
Being a Mission Pastor, I was particularly drawn to the chapter on ‘Being Missional’ which highlights some key ways in which churches can enter into mission whilst also noting the potential difficulties. Really helpful especially for those who don’t know where to start or what ‘mission’ even means today!
Each chapter also has helpful questions and points of reflection to take the reader further and to encourage them to look at both their own faith and style of leadership but also that of the congregation.
Who is it for?
If you are starting to think about leadership as an evangelical, or perhaps you are a leader but haven’t given it much thought, this guide is a really great starting point. It is both interesting and yet useful (not always an easy match to make), theoretical without going too deep, and touches on both the individual and corporate.
Who is Ian Paul?
I first came across Ian via his blog. I don’t always agree with what he writes but I do always appreciate the thoroughness of his posts and the challenges he poses – go check it out! However, aside from that he is also Associate Minister at St Nic’s, Nottingham and Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham and tweets at @Psephizo amongst other things.
Where do I get it?
It’s available now, from Grove books here for just £3.95 – what a bargain! You can either download it or get sent a paperback copy. If you want to know a bit more about it before you part with your hard earned cash then Ian writes about it on his blog here.