Ducking Spears, Dancing Madly: A Biblical Model of Church Leadership


Lovett Weems reviews Ducking Spears, Dancing Madly: A Biblical Model of Church Leadership by Lewis A. Parks and Bruce C. Birch. The authors look at Saul, David, and other central Old Testament figures to learn about pastoral leadership.

Lew Parks and Bruce Birch have made a marvelous contribution to church leaders as they bring together Bible, theology, and leadership studies for their model of church leadership. The book is enriched by the incisive exegetical work of Birch on 1 and 2 Samuel, the extensive pastoral and judicatory experience of Parks, and the astute theological sensibilities and writing gifts of both authors.

ducking spears dancing madlyTheir book is based on two strong convictions. First, leadership is the most crucial factor in the reform of the church today. Second, the way we talk about church leadership has little to do with the church’s scripture or theology. To address both concerns, they have integrated in a seamless way biblical insights, theological understandings, the best secular work on leadership, and clear Bruce examples from church life, particularly pastoral ministry.

As with the biblical witness, no easy answers are provided. Rather, they engage in a dialogue with the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, texts that portray the people of Israel in frequent transition, and hence in need of effective leadership. We come to see ourselves, perhaps more than we might wish, in Saul and David and the events of their time.

Bruce Birch was Dean and Woodrow W. and Mildred B. Miller Professor of Biblical Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary and Lewis A. Parks is Associate Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Congregational Development and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Wesley. They collaborated on Ducking Spears, Dancing Madly: A Biblical Model of Church Leadership (Abingdon, 2004), which is available on Cokesbury and Amazon.

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