When it comes to talking about the activity of directing the church, the language of leadership and leaders is increasingly popular. Yet what is leadership – and how might theological narratives better resource the discourse and practice of leadership in ecclesial contexts? In identifying and critiquing managerialism as a dominant narrative of leadership in the Western church, this book calls for an alternative approach founded on the concept of friendship.
Engaging with the wider field of leadership studies, the book establishes an understanding of leadership activity and brings it into conversation with an incarnational ecclesiology. The result is a prophetic reimagining of ecclesial leadership in terms of a relational, kenotic praxis. This praxis of mutuality and love is framed here in the rich language of Christian friendship. The book also wrestles deeply with the embodiment of such a praxis, making explicit the power behaviours typical of friendship-leadership and offering constructive guidance for practitioners in the task of implementation within a complex and fractured world.
This book offers a new vision of the centrality of friendship to leadership of a healthy church community. As such, it will be of great use to scholars of practical theology, ecclesiology and leadership, as well as practitioners in church ministry.
Part I: Expressing the Pain
1 Leadership and the Dominant Consciousness
2 Seeking an Alternative Consciousness
Part II: A Deep Remembering
3 Memories of Servanthood
4 Memories of Incarnation
5 Memories of the Church
Part III: Coding the Discourse
6 Incarnational Ecclesial Leadership and the Eschatological Inbreaking
7 ‘I Have Called You Friends…’
8 Friendship: Love’s Ideal
Part IV: Practising Hope
9 Incarnational Ecclesial Leadership and the Prophetic Imagination
10 Prophetic Hope in a Groaning Creation
Appendix: Imagination’s Starting Points
Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.