On-line version ISSN 2312-878X
Print version ISSN 0256-9507
Missionalia (Online) vol.41 n.1 Pretoria Aug. 2013
Jørgensen K 2012. Equipping for service: Christian leadership in church and society. Oxford: Regnum. xiv +150 pages. ISBN 978-1-908355-06-5. No price quoted.
A few years ago, I undertook a course in Leadership and Management the concept of servant leadership was well to the fore. However, this was presented as a secular contribution, with copious references to Robert Greenleaf's significant work in this field, to such an understanding of leadership. It was unbelievable that this biblical approach to leadership was passed off as a recent development in the secular realm. The author of this book had many years of experience of leadership in church and mission in various contexts globally and writes in a manner that integrates scriptural witness, philosophy and contemporary management theory. This demonstrates that he is a 'reflective practitioner. This book might be described as a by-product of the Third Lausanne Congress held in Cape Town in 2010, where Christian leadership was at the forefront of many discussions.
The Christian concept of diakonia (service) lies at the heart of this approach to leadership and underpins the entire work. For a book of its relative size, it is packed with a comprehensive array of topics to be considered in leadership formation, including the need for leadership, theories and models, a theology of servant leadership, the identification and promotion of leaders, team leadership, management and leadership, strategies and planning and models for training. But what is especially significant here is that the author tackles the thorny issues related to leadership with sensitivity and adherence to biblical truth - issue which include gender and leadership, and leadership in society and culture. The book ends with the author's attempt to project types of good leadership practice and summarises his thesis that all that is required for good leadership is 'to have a heart for people'.
The only jarring note I found in this book is related to the issue of spiritual conflict and the assertion that 'a Christian leader must know how Satan attacks at the person al level, in human relations and through witchcraft and evil spirits' (p.14). This almost put me off reading further. As someone who has served outside my country of origin for many years, I found this statement both presumptious and theologically dangerous and could have negatively influenced my evaluation of the chapter on leadership and culture.
Yet, despite this, I was glad that I read on for this book still does have a value for anyone involved in church leadership and that should involve all of us called to Christian service in mission.
Reviewer: Prof GA Duncan, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, PRETORIA, 0002.