Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 4:2 (Spring 1987) p. 90
Books By The Faculty
Pastoral Leadership, by Robert D. Dale. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986. 240 pages. $10.95.
Pastoral Leadership is more than a book; it is a one-volume leadership library on a make-or-break topic. It seems that today’s churches and pastoral leaders experience conflict and relational breakdowns because of leadership behavior more than for any other reason. There seems to be less tolerance of leadership deficiencies than in any other skill area. That makes this book valuable in the contemporary church world.
From his wide-ranging experience as assistant pastor, pastor, pastoral ministries consultant, church-minister relations supervisor, and seminary professor in pastoral ministries, Robert Dale has gathered practical information that speaks realistically to all factors that influence effectiveness in pastoral leadership. He has avoided implying that all effective leaders do all things the same way. Instead, Dale writes that appropriate leadership behavior is determined by a variety of factors each of which needs careful consideration. That makes this one-volume leadership library a helpful resource for all persons in church leadership.
Dale makes good use of spiritual and psychological understandings in calling church leaders’ attention to their personal health and personal growth. The last portion of the book focuses on spiritual foundations, self-awareness, the importance of a family support system, and continuing professional growth. These concerns are not presented last because they were afterthoughts or were needed as filler material. Quite the contrary, they are the last thing the reader confronts, so they will linger in the mind and undergird and surround all the why and how-to information in the three preceding sections.
The book likewise is rich in practical suggestions. They reflect the author’s wide-ranging experience and his ability to organize the ideas he has gleaned from these experiences, as well as the many volumes of contemporary literature through which he has searched in order to make the why and how-to of these suggestions clear. The rank-and-file church leader knows that some things work and others do not work but may not understand what really has been done and why it did not work. The uncommon leader, such as Robert Dale, is able to analyze the experiences, find reasons why they do or do not work, organize the understandings that the analysis reveals, and present the understandings in concepts that are understandable and applicable by church leaders. Pastoral Leadership excels in presenting concepts that are tested, practical, specific, and understandable, because they rest solidly on biblical truth and healthy human principles.
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