Leading as Jesus led
Baptist minister Karl Martin's exploration of leading the Jesus way is one to recommend to any minister, pastor or leader
By Karl Martin
Reviewed by Ed Jones
There is something about a book with a single word title, such as Lead, that along with the bright yellow cover, seems to be saying to any prospective reader 'if you think you're up to it, bring it on'.
Yet as soon as I delved into the two prefaces of the book, Stake and Set, it was clear from the start that Karl Martin is someone who isn't seeking to point out what's not being done, or how current ways are just wrong. Instead he writes with a passion that wants to see leaders rise up, to see them fulfil their potential in Jesus, and a longing to see people led in a way that enables them to be all God has created them to be.
Clearly putting the onus on the leader to play their part, Martin, Senior Pastor of Central in Edinburgh, speaks to the reader with the phrase 'You are The Project'. It's an ongoing rallying-cry to be the leader God has called us to be.
Taking the last nine chapters from the Gospel of John, Martin seeks to explore what it means to lead as Jesus led. This concept of Jesus-leadership is carried and unpacked throughout the book.
Unpacking the themes serve, secure, source, school, synchronise, skirmish, sacrifice, succession and shepherd, he manages to balance contemporary and relevant references with substantial exposition of the text. It's neither heavy nor over-bearing, nor light and fluffy. The experiences he shares don't appear forced in anyway. Here's someone who is sharing something of the journey he is on, hoping it will help light the path of others around him.
There is a clear simplicity to the way that he writes, enabling what he shares to be easily understood. Yet this does not mean the content within Lead is in any way shallow or basic. There is a depth and a challenge that cannot be skimmed over or added to a to-do-list, only be easily crossed out in due course.
One of the great things in how Martin has crafted his book is the way he's stayed clear of the pattern similar Christian books fall into, namely presenting a set number of questions to work through or steps to tackle as each chapter and subsection of the overall topic concludes. Here each chapter concludes with its own style of reflection and question. Some more blatant and obvious, other not so much. All fed off the flow and the topic that has just gone before.
Lead was a book I could neither put down, nor rush through because of the exciting challenges within. One to read as a leadership, one to work through where you are at. Not a book to pass on to others leaders mind you, because you'll want to go back over it and dig into it afresh yourself!
Certainly one to recommend to any minister, pastor or leader passionate about leading in Jesus' way.
Ed Jones is minister of Battle Baptist Church
Leadership: The Model is Jesus Jesus offers perfect leadership – and here’s why we need to rediscover it, writes Baptist minister Karl Martin