In school there was always a sigh of disappointment when our professor assigned us to work in groups. Having to deal with others always complicated the task we needed to accomplish and increased the risk of a lower grade. Except for those who simply take over, even those who enjoy working in groups need to steer a path through often difficult issues of leadership, power, trust, communication, and responsibility if the group is to accomplish its mission.
In The Politics of Ministry, four seminary teachers and church leaders address this issue for those in vocational ministry. By “politics” they mean, “the art of getting things done with others,” an art expected of the church by her Lord to be the normal way we seek to be faithful day by day. Our Lord also made it clear he expects the Christian’s approach to such leadership to be distinct from that of the world (Matthew 20:25-28). In The Politics of Ministry Burns, Chapman and Guthrie help us learn what that looks like.
Book recommended: The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Books; 2019) 192 pages + appendices + notes.