Archives For Leadership


Experiencing  the Now-But-Not-Yet
of God’s Kingdom

A Brief Review of 

The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World
Sandra Maria Van Opstal

Paperback:  IVP Books, 2016.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Leslie Starasta

In her most recent book The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World, Sandra Maria Van Opstal presents a convincing case for why diverse or multicultural worship must become normal and expected in our churches rather than reserved for special events.  Van Opstal does so using biblical evidence, leadership resources, engaging metaphors and her own personal experiences as a worship leader and trainer.

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Acknowledging our Human Condition

An Interview with Mandy Smith,
Author of 

The Vulnerable Pastor:
How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry

Paperback: IVP Books, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

The current issue of our print magazine, mailed earlier this week, features an interview that John Pattison did with Mandy Smith.  John’s interview was longer than we could use and several questions were trimmed in the editing process. However, this conversation was too good to waste, so we are sharing these extra questions here.


PATTISON: How do you think vulnerability as you describe it in this book should be cultivated in our church communities?

SMITH: For us, it started with me being able to go there. Somebody has to be the first one to break out of the mold. There are all these reasons why that is scary. I hope my book can be a kind of companion along the journey, so that whoever goes first can say to their community, “This is going to be worth it.” Then, not only do they give freedom to other people, by being courageous, they themselves learn not to be ashamed, if the community is kind enough not to reject them for it.

Confession and testimony are a big part of this. They have fallen out of practice in a lot of traditions. But in my experience, that is where all this began and where it began to filter down to more and more folks.

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Delicious and Desirable, but Incomplete?


A Feature Review of 

The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reaclaiming a Lost Vision
Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan

Hardback: Baker Academic, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Adam Joyce


When talking with pastors, you sometimes hear how the work of theology—reading, writing and research—is a luxury. Seminary provided the space for it, but accumulating ministry pressures mean book spines remain uncracked, theological memories remain dormant, the conference room supplants the study, and the balance sheet replaces Barth. Theology (especially academic theology) appears inapplicable to the practical and immediate concerns of ecclesial life.

In The Pastor as Public Theologian, written by theologians Owen Strachan and Kevin Vanhoozer, the aim is to revive the theological portion of the pastoral vocation. Strachan and Vanhoozer argue that many churches and pastors have forgotten what pastors are for, too often viewing them as CEOs, entrepreneurs, activists, therapists, or celebrities. And while the pastorate has undergone changes throughout Christian history, the multiplication of pastoral roles is a sign of mission drift and confusion.

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Bringing Rich Theology into Conversation with Principles of Leadership


A Feature Review of 

Storied Leadership:
Foundations of Leadership from a
Christian Perspective
Brian Jensen and Keith Martel

Paperback: Falls City Press, 2015.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Stephen Milliken


Storied Leadership is a persuasive and multi-layered re-telling of the Christian story through the lens of leadership. Jensen and Martel have an exceptional ability to weave many lessons and themes throughout their narrative tapestry without leaving the reader behind. Uniquely, the telling of the Christian story through the frame of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration echoes in the background of this refection on Christian leadership. The simplicity and depth of their writing establishes Storied Leadership not only as one of the best resources for college students today, but also as an asset in the larger Christian leadership conversation that brings together various Christian themes into a coherent whole.

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A Little Walter Mitty in All of Us.

A Brief Review of


The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life
Mike Matheny

Hardback: Crown Books, 2015.
Buy now:  [ Amazon  ]   [ Kindle  ]

Reviewed by Dave Baker.


Everyone loves a good story and Mike Matheny has provided one. The Matheny Manifesto was written for sports parents by someone who is an expert on that subject, but the book will appeal to a broader audience. Namely Cardinal fans and anyone who is interested in coaching as leadership. This book grew out of a letter that he wrote after he was asked to coach a little league team. That letter was his way of establishing the rules. Not the infield fly rule kind, but rather rules that relate to behavior and expectations. His intention is to make sports a positive experience for everyone and that is admirable.  One of the most important things he writes is to be careful about what we tell kids. (106)

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LGFrancisStaying Awake


An Op-Ed on Ferguson and Faith


By Leah Gunning Francis,
author of Ferguson and Faith
(Forthcoming, Chalice Press,
Summer 2015)

In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech titled Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution during a Unitarian Universalist General Assembly meeting in Hollywood, Florida.  King’s speech was a clarion call for the church to remain awake to the social injustices of the day, and join the efforts to eradicate oppressive systems in the United States and abroad.  It was one year after “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama where peaceful protests were lodged to lobby for African Americans to have the rights to vote, but were met with violent opposition from police and civilians. The images from “Bloody Sunday,” coupled with Dr. King’s invitation, compelled hundreds of clergy from around the country to come to Selma and join the struggle for voting rights.
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Lance Ford - UnleaderCan We Trust Jesus to Lead His Own Church?

A Feature Review of

Unleader: Reimagining Leadership … and Why We Must

Lance Ford

Paperback: Beacon Hill, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Mike Bishop.

Ten years ago I was in the middle of an identity crisis.  To be more precise, it was a pastoral identity crisis.  I had trained for several years to be a church planter and had moved to South Florida in 2001 to do just that.  But things did not go according to plan.  In fact, any plans I did have were probably not going to take shape for ten years at least.  We were asking big questions: What is church?  What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus in this new century?  And of course, what is the true nature of Christian leadership?

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The Power of AllMaking Space for a Multiplicity of Voices.

A Feature Review of

The Power of All: Building a Multivoiced Church

Sian and Stuart Murray Williams

Paperback:  Herald Press, 2012.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Hilary J. Scarsella

Reading this book as a life-long Anabaptist who hears about the importance of making space for all voices in the church practically every Sunday (and often again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…), I expected to be a bit bored reading Sian and Stuart Murray Williams book The Power of All: Building a Multivoiced Church. Much to my surprise, I found myself hooked.

Sian and Stuart Murray Williams bring a wealth of wisdom and experience to their first coauthored book. Sian comes as a minister, a teacher, and a spiritual director; Stuart as a church planter, a teacher, and a writer. Together, they cast an inspiring vision for what church can look like, feel like, and be like when it allows itself to be shaped by all of its members.

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The Permanent Revolution - Alan Hirsch / Tim CatchimThe Architecture of Missional Ministry

A Feature Review of

The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church
Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim

Hardback: Jossey-Bass, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Andy Johnson

When measuring the church’s effectiveness and suggesting paths toward improvement we must start by evaluating our paradigm. What are we trying to accomplish? Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim, co-authors of The Permanent Revolution, believe that the church is meant for more than maintaining a safe haven for believers in the heart of Christian civilization.

The church that Jesus intended “…was specifically designed with built-in, self-generative capacities and was made for nothing less than world-transforming, lasting, and, yes, revolutionary impact.” (xxiv) Although movement toward a more missional approach has gathered momentum in recent years, The Permanent Revolution proposes that there is a systemic flaw that will always impede our progress until it is addressed. Continue Reading…


“To Follow the Lead of Christ

A review of
As  Christ Submits to the Church:
A Biblical Understanding
of Leadership and Mutual Submission

by Alan Padgett.

Review by Micah Weedman.

AS CHRIST SUBMITS TO THE CHURCH - Alan PadgettAs  Christ Submits to the Church:
A Biblical Understanding
of Leadership and Mutual Submission

Alan Padgett.
Paperback: BakerAcademic, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Alan Padgett states quite clearly that he writes this book as a “study of biblical ethics and Christ-centered mutual submission… to set out for readers the strength and wisdom of the biblical egalitarian perspective.” (11)  This alone makes it an important effort, if not one already taken by many writers and thinkers.

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