This book is a little gem for the busy minister, distilling a remarkable amount of wisdom and insight into around 100 pages. It would be possible to read it at a sitting although it is also well worth digesting reflectively over a longer period of time. It is not a textbook or ‘how to’ manual but almost a meditation on the nature of leadership in a Christian context.
The book is the latest addition to the SPCK Library of Ministry, a series of books on practical aspects of ministry. It is written out of Keith Lamdin’s first hand experience, as a Baptist minister, as a parish priest, as Director of Training in the Diocese of Oxford, and most recently as Principal of Sarum College. In it he draws together observations from a lifetime of ministry and the material is down to earth and convincing, with plenty of quote-worthy examples and engaging anecdotes to keep the pace lively.
The book offers six possible paradigms for leadership in ministry: the Monarch, the Warrior, the Servant, the Elder, the Contemplative, and the Prophet. Unlike some other books in the genre it is not ‘value neutral’ about the different models and styles it describes. There are clear warnings attached, particularly to the ‘Monarch’ and the ‘Warrior’ styles of leadership and the potential pitfalls are carefully examined, drawing on anthropological and psychological perspectives. Perhaps unsurprisingly it is the paradigm of the leader as Servant which is given the most detailed and approving treatment, although criticisms of this style are also thoughtfully weighed.
Even if you already have a number of books on leadership adorning your shelves there is good reason to make room for one more – or it buy it as an ordination gift for someone who is about to embark on public ministry themselves.
Reviewed by Jane Charman
Director of Learning for Discipleship and Ministry, Diocese of Salisbury
Published by SPCK, “Finding Your Leadership Style” is normally priced £9.99. Mention the website to order a copy at the special price of £8.99 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until August 31st 2012.