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.
Table of Contents
Introduction 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
Chloe Lynch is Lecturer in Practical Theology at London School of Theology, UK. She has also spent a decade leading a church in West London and worked for a number of years as a City solicitor.