Leading by Story
Rethinking Church Leadership
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There is a great deal of interest in churches across the UK, US and Europe about applying ideas from the world of leadership and management to Christian ministry. There are those who wish to apply (sometimes quite uncritically) mechanistic approaches which they hope will enable churches to be run in a more ‘business-like’ manner. There are also those who argue that insights from organizational studies have no place whatsoever in churches.
This innovative and original book builds on qualitative thinking about organizational narrative and argues that it can provide significant insights into how churches function, which is much more in keeping with their ethos and history. As well as analysing how stories and storytelling work in churches it also provides practical ideas for how they can be used to improve church leadership.
Taking the work of organizational thinkers and researchers and bringing it into conversation with biblical scholars, theologians, and church historians, the authors establish a conversation across these disciplines and explore how story and narrative work through and within churches.
1. What Is Leadership?
2. Leading the Stories and Storying the Leading
3. Stories and Identities: Story, Character and Becoming
4. Living in Multiple Stories
5. Who Owns the Story?
6. Church Narratives: Interpretive Stories
7. Church Narratives: Identity Stories
8. Church Narratives: Improvised Stories
9. Curating Congregational Stories in a Tick Box Church?
Conclusion: Ten Ideas for Leading By Story in Churches
"This absorbing book sets out to bring the category of story into the centre of debates about church leadership. The authors succeed admirably in this with a study that is lucid, persuasive and enjoyable. If people follow stories rather than leaders, here is a rich story well worth pursuing." -- John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford
"Against the current trend of lionizing heroic leadership, the authors have sought to offer a view of gentler, more collective account of leadership built around stories that explore, evolve, unite and inspire. They have succeeded brilliantly. The book, full of rich stories from the authors’ own experiences, will also delight and inspire every scholar and practitioner who loves organizational storytelling and stories in general." -- Yiannis Gabriel, Chair in Organisation Studies in the School of Management, University of Bath
“Leadership is not much of a New Testament word whereas discipleship, or followership, is. Churches are keen on 'servant leadership'. So, too, is business. To say what it means we tell stories. Leading by Story provides excellent thought leadership in what has become disputed territory. It is informative, subtle, insightful and wise. It recognises the importance of leaders who love as well as the significance of context and community.” -- Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
"...Vaughan Roberts and David Sims have given us a real gem – a book of treasures that will gestate within us as we ponder the ways in which stories lead our thinking and action. This is a great book, full of richness and wisdom from leading thinkers in contemporary Anglican ministry.” -- Martyn Percy, Dean, Christ Church, Oxford
“This is a fresh look at leadership, challenging old models of heroic individualistic approaches and advocating forward looking collaborative leadership. It’s inspired by stories which aid decision making!” -- Caroline Spelman, MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner
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