In a world of speed, flux, and blur, leadership is more important than program. Yet even our understandings and expectations of leadership vary over time and place, among different cultures and lifestyles. My interest is not to impose a single definition of leadership, but to explore different kinds of leadership. And this implies new ways to discern, train, evaluate, and hold leaders accountable for their leadership.
Spiritual leadership is a matter of both function and identity. Different lifestyle segments gravitate to different kinds of spiritual leaders primarily because of who they are, and only secondarily because of what they do. The credibility of a spiritual leader depends on how well they model the courage to overcome the particular existential anxieties that drive the quest for God among different lifestyles. Then they provide practical help. This book explores the eight different kinds of spiritual leaders in America today. The Constant Leaders are part of Christendom; the Organic Leaders are bridge to the future; the Extreme Leaders are emerging in the post-Christendom world. This is the third book in the series on demographics and Christian ministry.
"Spiritual Leadership uses detailed analysis and typologies to explore the functional and sacramental sides of leadership required to serve increasing numbers of people who are disenchanted or alienated from the church" - Lovett Weems, Wesley Theological Seminary
"Spiritual Leadership unravels the enigma of why some pastors and their flocks resonate with one another and other clergy and congregations live in a state of constant conflict." - Fr. Aris Metrakos, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, San Francisco
Why Should I Believe You?
The #1 reason people ignore, leave, or resent the church is that they don't trust the leaders! This book explores the two historic paths of Christian leadership (which I describe as "diocesan" and "monastic"). As the institutional church declines, postmodern seekers and spiritual travelers are turning more and more to "monastic" kinds of leadership. Making connections with ancient Christianity, this book describes the challenging path back to clergy credibility.
"Tom Bandy's work - whether in person or in print - consistently stimulates and stretches my thinking and my faith. He's refreshingly deep, extraordinarily articulate, broadly accessible, and intensely committee to the mission of Jesus Christ: a needed and rare combination. I continually meet people who have been helped, even liberated, by his growing body of faithful and intelligent work" - Brian McLaren
"Tom Bandy doesn't teach in a seminary, but he is one of the most insightful theologians on the world scene today. Tom Bandy doesn't pastor a church, but he provides more practical help to pastors than almost any practitioner or consultant Iknow. This book brings these two strands together like the Amazon brings together the Rio Negro and the Maranon to create the largest river in the world and a rain forest of hope and life that insures the church a future filled with genetic (apostolic) authenticity, earthy (biblical) wisdom, and miracle (pastoral) cures, many awaiting your discovery." - Lenorard Sweet
The Christian church maybe declining, but the Christian movement is accelerating and diversifying. The first part of this book describes the emerging church as constantly adapting to be relevant to different publics, at different times, in different ways ... and yet cling to essential convictions and values (similar to the "mission to the gentiles" of ancient times. It is the transition from the "body in residence" to the "body in motion". But this kind of church makes new demands, and brings new stresses, to Christian leaders. The second part of this book explains how Christian leaders keep fit and healthy for the demanding task of leading the movement into the future.
"This is not a book for Christians who want to sit on their sofa, take out their atlas, look it over, become familiar with the topography and landmarks, and learn about the accompanying facts and figures - what Bandy calls knowing the way. It is a book for road runners who want to explore unfamiliar territory, visit unusual people, practice pilgrimage, and experience the abundant life found in following Jesus into the mission field - what Bandy calls walking the path.
There are two different paths one can choose in preparing for ministry. On the one hand is the path of training to be a “church leaders’ in which you wait for 3-4 years to complete a specialized education, spend your career truing to settle down in a place where you’re comfortable (and pay off your debts); where you can hope that no judicatory leader will move you and no conflict will crush you. On the other hand is the path of “mission movers.” You’re on this path if you literally can’t (and won’t) wait to start your ministry, if you’re working among those for whom your heart bursts, if all you require is the confidence to know that you can learn what you need when you need it, and if your passion for personal growth and pragmatic adaptability will get around any conflict or obstacle that throws itself in your way.
“Tom Bandy has the gift of truth telling – not just to tear down our prized notions but to build iup the power of mission. The Christian leader faces unique challenges that call for radical and costly decisions. ‘Are you in it for mission, or philanthropy?’ is just one of the questions every pastor needs to face. He tells us what is in order to move us to what can be. Read this book!” – Michael Foss
“Nothing can remain the same. There is no ‘pause’ button for the church. As Tom Bandy has so powerfully portrayed in Mission Mover, there is only one way to resist entropy: move “forward” in mission or move “backward” into irrelevance.” – Leonard Sweet