Some books I enjoy because they change my mind on something; others I enjoy because they reinforce something I already believe. This book falls into the the second category. Stott's Basic Christian Leadership: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel and Ministry is a call for pastors to avoid the various culture-centered models of leadership popular in many churches. The book is filled with well-written nuggets to this end.
From the conclusion:
"Our model of leadership is often shaped more by culture than by Christ. Yet many cultural models of leadership are incompatible with the servant imagery taught and exhibited by the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, these alien cultural models are often transplanted uncritically into the church and its hierarchy. In Africa it is the tribal chief, in Latin America the machismo (exaggerated masculinity) of the Spanish male, in South Asia the religious guru fawned on by his disciples, in East Asia the Confucian legacy of the teacher's unchallengeable authority, and in Britain the British Raj mentality--the overbearing pride associated with the period of British rule until Indian independence in 1947."
Surprisingly, he left the United States off the list. From what I see, the model of choice in America is one of the following two (preferrably both): CEO and Celebrity.
Stott uses the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians to make his case that leadership in the church has to be humble and servant-centered. The Apostle Paul's poverty, humility, and his suffering were the marks that enabled him to lead in a way that mirrored Christ.
Other nuggets from a mostly good book:
- "Beware, I beg you, of the temptation to be a popular preacher! I doubt if it is possible to be popular and faithful at the same time. . . . If we compromised less, we would undoubtedly suffer more."
Despite being an Anglican, Stott writes:
- ". . . some people even murder the English language and call us 'reverend!'"
Another good quote regarding pastors:
- "Too many behave as if they believed not in the priesthood of all beleivers but in the papacy of all pastors."