As understanding and awareness of abuse has grown, many revelations of church leaders abusing their power have come to light. How did the church get here? Is there a way we can address both individual and institutional failings to counter the misuse of power and, more importantly, prevent it in first place?
Powerful Leaders? exposes and explores how leaders are tempted away from a biblical model of leadership into illegitimate - and in the worst cases abusive - use of authority and power. Director of Living Leadership, a charity that focuses on healthy leadership and church culture, Marcus Honeysett traces how leaders move along a spectrum of healthy to unhealthy uses of power and position and offers practical wisdom for countering and preventing harmful leadership.
Drawing on his years of experience in the local church and working with leaders and congregations, Honeysett unpacks how to spot danger signs of abuse in the church and provides advice on what to do if you see or are under unhealthy leadership. He also explores why people don’t blow the whistle and encourages critical self-examination in existing leaders to ensure they maintain a healthy use of power – and offers guidance to help leaders improve their skills and move back towards healthy, biblically-based leadership.
For anyone concerned about improving safeguarding in the church, Powerful Leaders? will prove a valuable resource. It challenges and equips both those in leadership and those in a position to hold leaders accountable, and will empower them to take the necessary steps forward to create healthier church cultures in which everyone can thrive.
Few issues are as pressing for the church today as the right and godly approach to power and leadership, and few are as qualified to write on it as Marcus Honeysett. This is an outstanding and urgent book for our times. I am confident it will help many churches towards safety and health. -- Sam Allberry, pastor and author In a season where we are only too aware of the clay feet of some of our Christian leaders, Marcus's timely book speaks with compassion, integrity and a deep knowledge of his subject area. While an admittedly sobering read, this wise and practical book perceptively outlines the early warning signs of the misuse of power in a leadership context. Engaging with biblical material and real-life experiences, Powerful Leaders will be a vital resource for all kinds of leaders and churches who wish to pursue godly wisdom, accountability and integrity in leadership. -- The Revd Dr Hannah Steele, Director, St Mellitus College, London A really important book that contains warning signs for all in Christian leadership. I pray that it will make a significant impact in enabling healthier leadership in our churches. -- Gavin Calver, CEO, Evangelical Alliance What an important book! This is a must-read, must-think-about, must-act-on essential read for all church leaders - and members. Marcus writes wisely, courageously, searchingly and humbly. He keeps shining the light of Christ's grace into the dark corners of our leadership lives. It should lead all of us to be more repentant, more believing and more humble servants of the Lord and people.
I think his description of what should be Bible-based, transparent, legitimate and boundaried church leadership is spot on. This book must not be ignored by any servant of the Lord. -- Dr Ray Evans, FIEC Leadership Consultant and a pastor at Grace Community Church, Bedford Being concerned for how Christian leaders lead and the potential for power abuses is neither a passing fad nor capitulation to some external agendas. It is a profoundly biblical and godly concern and Marcus Honeysett has written such a helpful and down-to-earth introduction to some of the key issues. Many of us feel immobilized by fears of getting things wrong but, in this book, we find practical wisdom and helpful questions, especially in identifying stages along the slippery slope to abuse. This will be invaluable both for leaders and those they lead -- Mark Meynell, Director, Europe and Caribbean, Langham Preaching Marcus understands the subtleties involved within the power dynamics of leadership and life in the local church. The book will save you from simplistic understanding of why power is wielded poorly and enable you to act thoughtfully and prayerfully to deal not only with the worst excesses, but also any creeping slippage in your own heart. I would certainly give every newcomer to pastoral ministry a copy but, if you are already leading, I would suggest you read it prayerfully with your leadership team and reap the benefits in your local church. -- Andy Peck, host of The Leadership Show, Premier Christian Radio The author introduces the reader to what is a complex and challenging issue in the church today. He helpfully identifies five factors by which a leader can review or be reviewed within any context. The section on leaders understanding and reflecting on their leadership provides good questions and thoughts on how a leader with genuine concern to lead with humility and dependence can do a self-appraisal. There are many helpful insights in this book, which will be a useful tool. -- Dianne Tidball, ex-president of The Baptist Union, Baptist Regional Minister, and Deputy Chair, Hope in Action The power dimension in relationships, unrecognized for most of my ministry, is now centre stage. Marcus Honeysett has thought deeply about the issue and provided a forensic analysis of what can go wrong, based on a wide range of experiences. He has also provided an encouraging, practical guide to both avoiding problems and putting them right when they occur. Reading the book will help every leader to look in the mirror. The key is then not to forget what we have seen. -- Derek Tidball, theologian, writer and previous Principal, London School of Theology Having read Marcus Honeysett's fine book, several observations come to mind. It is insightful, wise, thorough, sensitive and compassionate; a careful handling of a delicate theme by someone with genuine care for the body of Christ, avoiding accusation but arguing constructively for paths of peace and security. -- Terry Virgo, founder of Newfrontiers and author of God's Treasured Possession This is an important and much-needed contribution to the challenging subject of abuse in Christian leadership. It is distinguished especially by Marcus Honeysett's sustained commitment to viewing the issues involved through a biblical lens. Precisely because of this, it provides a holistic blend of theological substance, pastoral empathy and practical advice. The result is a genuinely fresh and very welcome addition to the burgeoning literature in this area - one that promises to become a key reference-point with and beyond the author's own evangelical constituency. * Revd Dr David Hilborn, Hon. Senior Research Fellow, Moorlands College & Chair of the Evangelical Alliance Theological Advisory Group. *