Stacy T. Rinehartâ€™s small volume Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998. 170 pages) focuses on the leadership model that Jesus gave the church. The author details briefly the transformation of his own leadership philosophy from that of a â€œhard-nosed, aggressiveâ€ style leader to one with Jesus as its model. He describes how dangerous the CEO models are for the church, where â€œfailing to submit is to rebel against God. . !â€ (p. 36).
Rinehart sketches a historical development of leadership philosophy within the church, demonstrating the â€œdark side of leadership,â€ the abuse of power by leaders in the church, and the criteria for leaders set by the Apostle Paul which the church ignored. Chapter 6 offers a Trinitarian â€œrotating functional leadershipâ€ model which emphasizes the â€œrelational nature of spiritual leadership.â€ Rinehart discusses the outcome of those forms of leadership that leave congregational members feeling impotent and irrelevant. Rinehart asks, â€œIs there a better way, and what will further the equipping of Godâ€™s people and release them for ministry?â€ (p. 143). The final chapter describes some of the temptations for leaders and outlines the differences between â€œpower leadersâ€ and â€œservant leaders.â€
The concept of Servant Leadership has been treated in depth in other works, and Rinehart offers a cursory treatment at best. His strategy for unleashing the laity by recognizing each individualâ€™s unique design using spiritual gifts is not well developed. Rinehart provides a passionate argument against the personality-focused omni-competent model of leadership, where all that is needed to do a ministry is to be committed (p.l17). While he offers little guidance for implementing change his personal journey provides helpful illustrations about the concepts. His treatment of the theological foundations for servant leadership is one of the most helpful parts of the book. This is a useful book for lay church leaders.
Date posted: Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 12:02 am | Under category: books, leadership, theology
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