By Tony Baron
By Tony Baron
thinks that the model of leadership in the church has precepts of the sword and the shield, yet when he
read the pages of Scripture, in particular the life of Jesus Christ and his
found the actual leadership strategies are based upon the cross and the sword, not the sword and the shield.
Jesus' style of leadership should be liberating and self-giving.
More often than not, the Church's style of leadership seems eerily like business or political models, jazzed up with religious jargon added for positional leverage, says Baron
This made Baron feel inadequate because he
never had a megachurch, a radio ministry, or even a book that millions would say had changed their lives.
worked hard trying to impress God in ministry to "the greatest calling in life."
identifies three areas of concern.
Both, says Baron
, have power, purpose and followers.
is critical of the professional status attained by clergy.
"We have turned the succession of the apostolic ministry, including the process of ordination, into a professional society filled with academic exams, psychological testing, and background checks.
I know why we do it, and I am not suggesting we shouldn't do it.
But passing exams, getting the 'okay' from psychologists, and avoiding significant crimes does not guarantee someone is called by God."
Baron, an Anglican priest, says a calling involves appropriate preparation in scripture, spiritual disciplines, and social awareness of contemporary issues.
"Years may pass before the calling is fully recognized by the Body of Christ.
After all, the call of God must be tested and confirmed."
Because the Church and its leaders have adopted the secular symbols of leadership to define success, believers within the Church have suffered.
In psychological terms, they have suffered from "learned helplessness," says Baron
We are called to be witnesses to Jesus, not to be custodians who maintain the institutional church.
"The results have lead to unhealthy spiritual exhaustion and spiritual deprivation."
Reflecting on the sexual quagmire that has overtaken many church leaders, Baron
says that because of pedophilia and infidelity within the clergy ranks, the church has been scarred by its leadership.
As a result, it has suffered greatly in its witness to the world.
In a chapter on "The power outage in the church", Baron
said the blackout is not due to overgrown trees, but to disbelieving Christian leaders in the power of the Holy Spirit.
"It is not that the leaders within orthodox Christianity deny the existence of the Holy Spirit or even the influence of the Holy Spirit; they simply are willing to settle for so little of the power in order to achieve their own personal agendas.
Unfortunately for many in Christian leadership, ministry success is all about size, skill and speed.
says that in his
Anglican world, the institutions we have developed through the centuries present barriers that have hindered personal incarnational formation through the Spirit of God.
sees the remedy lying in the Jesus way to develop servant leaders, of moving from success to significance, of moving from self to saint.
"The two gifts for all church leaders seeking that unitive experience with our heavenly Father are prayer and scripture.
Both gifts are designed by God to provide an ongoing conversation between divinity and humanity."
calls upon clergy and other leaders to relinquish and liberate the soul from the attachments associated with money, sex and power and to accept the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience or simplicity, fidelity and service to Christ.
This book is a must read for wannabe leaders and those who are already leaders in the church.
Each chapter in the book comes with its own Table Talk for discussion and action.
has touched several nerve endings in this slim but readable volume.
second book "The Art of Servant Leadership" provides a prophetic voice in overcoming the craziness within the business world applying his
principles of servant leadership.