success stories

Posted November 5, 2003

Book: Empowered Church Leadership: Ministry in the Spirit According to Paul
Author: Brian J. Dodd
InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, pp. 191

Excerpt from the Jacket:

The lure of success can be seductive, and the adoption of secular standards or methods to achieve it may seem a small but necessary price to pay.

Brian Dodd, however, holds out a different model for us, the model of the apostle Paul, who acted in accord with kingdom principles, empowered by the Spirit of God. Worldly standards are stood on their head in order that ministry reflect the power and presence of the Lord. Dodd helps us to see the necessity of prayer, followership, partnership, servanthood and willingness to run against the current if we are to lead where God wants us to lead.

Excerpt from Book:

Paul’s Theology of “WE” and the Heresy of “ME”

To the extent tat these caricatures are true of leadership in the church, the heresy of “me” has polluted our life-giving ability. The leadership of rugged individualism reflects the brokenness of the world, not the redemption plan that God has revealed in Jesus and commanded us to work out through community of the church. The CEO conception of leadership, which may be an indispensable component of large-program congregations in the United States, is hardly God’s new plan for leadership. In a world context, the CEO leader who has immense control and authority looks more like the “lord it over” leadership that Jesus condemns in Matthew 20 that it does the self-lowering leadership that Jesus models in Philippians 2.

. . . To be a Christian leader — to lead “in Christ,” in Paul’s terms — is a team effort in which each person contributes gifts and the whole is much healthier and stronger than any individual. A clear example of this issue is seen in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. He dismisses their divisiveness over individual leaders as evidence that they were not walking by the life-giving leadership of the Holy Spirit but were walking in the death-giving life “in the flesh.” By prizing individualistic leadership over the united ministry of Christ’s one body they were making a mockery of the redemption, reconciliation and reconnecting work Christ has done by drawing us into the one body.

. . . Paul spends the first three chapters of his letter to Corinthians confronting this attitude . . .

The whole emphasis is on God’s initiative and activity in the body of believers. Does a leader make a church? No. God does because only God . . . gives the growth. Paul says that those with leadership gifts are a part of God’s team, by God’s choice, through the ability God manifests through them. Neither Paul or Apollos “is anything without God’s working through them. Instead, leaders serve a “common purpose” — God’s purpose, not their agendas. The reason is we are God’s coworkers (synergoi). We join God in what he is doing in his “field,” his “building.”

Table of Contents:

1. Spirit-Empowered Leadership
2. Followership and Self-Surrender
3. Pay the Price, Carry the Cross
4. God’s Power in Cracked Pots
5. The Power of Personal Example
6. The Power of Partners
7. Through Prayer
8. The Race to the Bottom
9. The Leadership We Need is Apostolic
Appendix: Hearing God’s Direction for your Ministry