by Wil Triggs
Ajith Fernando’s latest book provides an interesting perspective on leadership in the church and parachurch.
Ajith Fernando, Crossway Books, 1300 Crescent St., Wheaton, IL 60187, 2002, 255 pages, $19.99.
—Reviewed by Wil Triggs, communications and development associate, World Evangelical Alliance.
Ajith Fernando’s latest book provides an interesting perspective on leadership in the church and parachurch. To borrow from Paul, the present Christian world’s attitudes may mirror the Corinthians—I am of Hybels or Warren or Piper or MacArthur. Or from a parachurch context, I am of Drucker or Collins or Barna. But Fernando points to Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of, not just our faith, but of our work and ministries as well. At least, that’s how it ought to be.
I know one Christian who says we ought never to retreat because Christians are only to advance. Yet Fernando asserts five benefits to retreats, and defines them as times of “retreating to God.” Most anyone involved in church or parachurch work can find areas of weakness, failure and misperception in ministry, and the helpful voice of a paraclete-type prophet, a fellow minister coming alongside to point to Christ and his word as an antidote to less-than-Christian practices that creep into our lives and ministries. Fernando’s tone throughout is open about his own shortcomings, which makes it easier to receive his incisive thoughts and apply them to the real-life difficulties at the doorstep or pulpit or in-box everyday.
What does the incarnation have to do with ministry leadership? Almost everything, Fernando asserts, and the examples of Christ in relation to his ministry team (the disciples) and those to whom they ministered point us in directions opposed to much of what many people accept as customary in Christian business and everyday life.
Time with God in prayer in diverse situations, time alone in the word, short retreats with the Lord, the right kind of accountability group, a willingness to sacrifice the Palm Pilot or DayTimer for people in need—these are just a few of the areas where Fernando suggests that Jesus might better drive our ministry.
Fernando even devotes a brief chapter to “Facing Wild Animals,” which involves how to handle evil people who seem to prevail. This is perhaps the best example of how Fernando manages to surprise, to bring to life Jesus and the Gospels in a fresh way in relation to ministry.
I doubt that a cottage industry will spring up around the book. There will be no “How Would Jesus Drive” (HWJD) bracelets. That would seem to violate at some level the incarna-tional premise of the book. Still, I have to confess to wanting to get copies of this book for friends on the mission field and in the pastorate. If you want a how-to book on successful business life, this book is not for you. If you want to prayerfully consider God and his word in relation to your ministry in a new way, take a close look at Jesus Driven Ministry.
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