by Brian J. Dodd
“Dodd examines the letters of the Apostle Paul, writing to church leaders, lay and clergy alike, in hopes of engaging the reader in an extended study of the New Testament’s “underpinnings for effective, life-giving leadership.”
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426, 2003, 191 pages, $13.00.
—Reviewed by Christina T. Accornero, adjunct professor of Christian leadership and mission, School of Theology, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.
“The lure of success is seductive. Its siren song causes many people to ascribe uncritically so much authority to high-profile leaders, platform speakers and megachurch pastors. In the United States, this high value placed on success is alien to the value the kingdom of God places on faithfulness and obedience.” Thus begins this introspective and easily read book by Brian Dodd, as he tells his journey with the seduction of power.
Dodd examines the letters of the Apostle Paul, writing to church leaders, lay and clergy alike, in hopes of engaging the reader in an extended study of the New Testament’s “underpinnings for effective, life-giving leadership.” He begins the study with an interesting chapter on spirit-empowered leadership, using Paul’s style and leadership qualities as an example. He draws the reader in with a list of Paul’s leadership qualities and asks, “Would you hire Paul to lead your church or ministry?”
Although the questions and issues Dodd addresses are not new, his fresh approach to leadership is worth the read. Each chapter ends with engaging questions for reflection and discussion and opens up opportunities for deeper study. His use of biblical texts from Paul’s letters is woven together with carefully chosen quotes, insights and phrases from noted leaders in the wider Christian community across the centuries.
His sections on partnership and prayer are most important, as well as a significant chapter that views theology from below and challenges the reader to consider the position of leader as a “race to the bottom.”
Dodd presents a valuable book for understanding the deep and basic characteristics of biblical leadership that are often missing in church and mission structures. While his writing style and theology might be overlooked as simplistic, Dodd gives us an important text that can be a tool for carefully examining current church and mission leadership and administrative structures.
Check these titles:
Law, Eric H. F. 1993. The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community. St. Louis, Mo.: Chalice Press.
Sanders, Cheryl J. 1997. Ministry at the Margins: The Prophetic Mission of Women, Youth & the Poor. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Willhauck, Susan and Jacqulyn Thorpe. 2001. The Web of Women’s Leadership: Recasting Congregational Ministry. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press.
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