Radical Leadership in the New Testament and Today

By Michael Green published by SPCK

Books on leadership abound, and truth be told, many of them simply rephrase and repeat the content of all those who have gone before. Worse still many leadership books aimed at church leaders are nothing more than secular management books with the word ‘God’ thrown in every now and then. Green avoids some, but not all, of those faults.

One of the positives of Radical Leadership is that it focuses very much on models/lessons about leadership from the Bible. Naturally it begins with Jesus and here it treads a well-worn path noting various aspects of Jesus’ leadership style. The chapter includes an excellent contrast between transactional and transformational leadership. The author follows that up with a brief survey of Jesus’ leadership training methods. He quickly moves on to see what lessons can be learned from Peter, from Paul (particularly in dealing with issues in Corinth), with a later chapter on Paul’s epistles and from the Book of Acts. There is an excellent section on the qualities of a leader. The chapter on women in leadership provides a concise refutation of the quaint idea that leadership in the church is for men only. The purpose of these explorations is of course to help provide a roadmap for leadership in the church today. On that basis Radical Leadership succeeds fairly well, Michael Green’s careful reading of Scripture is evident throughout the book and his exegesis is very readable and he avoids theologically technical language.

If there is a flaw in the book it lies in its title as there is really nothing that is radical here for the modern reader, although readers may get a sense of the radical nature of church leadership in the Greco-Roman /Jewish cultures in which it was born. The problem is that books on leadership abound, and if you have read two or three others you are not likely to be stunned by any insights here. Having said that, it is a good, easy read and would be an excellent source book for new/future leaders and a great refresher for more seasoned leaders in your church.

Rev N R Graham