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Reviewing Leadership, 2nd Edition

A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches

series: Engaging Culture

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This book offers a comprehensive evaluation of current approaches to leadership from a discerning Christian perspective. Combining expertise in leadership, theology, and ministry, the authors take a historical look at leadership and how it is viewed and used in today's context. The book is informed by both biblical and leadership studies scholarship and interacts with a number of popular marketplace writings on leadership. It also evaluates exemplary role models of Christian leadership. The second edition has been updated and revised throughout.

About the Series

The Engaging Culture series is designed to help Christians respond with theological discernment to our contemporary culture. Each volume explores particular cultural expressions, seeking to discover God's presence in the world and to involve readers in sympathetic dialogue and active discipleship.

Foreword by Max De Pree
Preface to the Second Edition
1. Leadership: An Emerging Academic Discipline
2. Biblical, Historical, and Denominational Perspectives on Leadership
3. Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Leadership: The Ethical Foundation
4. Faith-Based Approaches to Leadership
5. Practicing Leadership through Faithfulness, Integrity, and Service
6. Leadership Development: Leaving a Legacy
7. Governance: Practicing Faith-Based Leadership
8. Christian Leadership in Action: Some Exemplary Case Studies
Conclusion: The Future of Leadership


Praise for the First Edition

"It's not easy to lead Christianly, but for those who want to examine the best thinking on what it means to be a servant-leader, Banks and Ledbetter have compiled a broad and helpful survey of the recent literature."

Marshall Shelley, vice president, Christianity Today International; editor, Leadership Journal

"This book is more than a dry bibliography of the literature on leadership. Banks and Ledbetter have crafted a theological and spiritual reflection on leadership for service in the world that is both timely and timeless. This is an indispensable guide for those who teach and nurture leaders."

R. Paul Stevens, David J. Brown Family Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership, Regent College

"This book is a wellspring of knowledge about the intersection of leadership and Christian worldviews. Its ecumenical breadth and analytical depth can guide Christians from many traditions in shaping leadership for both the church and society. This resource should be embraced by all who care deeply about the theory and practice of Christian leadership."

Shirley J. Roels, Calvin College

"Every wise leader I know learns from the past and applies it to the future. Books on leadership abound, yet anyone who begins a serious study of this subject needs to become familiar with the broad history of leadership development, both its theory and its practice. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one book contained some of the most insightful writings and thoughts from past to present? Reviewing Leadership is such a book and should be on every Christian leader's bookshelf."

Carson Pue, president, Arrow Leadership Ministries

The Authors

  1. Bernice M. Ledbetter

    Bernice M. Ledbetter

    Bernice M. Ledbetter (EdD, Pepperdine University) is practitioner faculty of organizational theory and management at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She formerly directed the De Pree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary.

    Continue reading about Bernice M. Ledbetter

  2. Robert J. Banks

    Robert J. Banks

    Robert J. Banks (PhD, University of Cambridge) has taught at various universities and theological colleges in Europe, North America, and Asia. He is honorary professor at Alphacrucis College in Sydney, Australia, and adjunct professor at the Australian...

    Continue reading about Robert J. Banks

  3. David C. Greenhalgh

    David C. Greenhalgh

    David C. Greenhalgh (EdD, Boston University) is professor of education and leadership and director of the PhD in organizational leadership program at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

    Continue reading about David C. Greenhalgh


"This is my leadership resource of the year for senior pastors, denominational leaders, and nonprofit CEOs. This book guides you to help leaders grow, adapt, and innovate to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of your organization."

Tom Bandy,

Outreach (a recommended resource of the year for 2016)

"The authors . . . bring their experience and expertise in organizational theory and management, Christian thought and practice, and education to the task of reviewing and evaluating approaches to leadership. . . . The authors' concern for Christian leadership ultimately provides a grounded understanding of leadership as a spiritual discipline. . . . Reviewing Leadership offers both pastoral leaders and those in the workplace concrete theory and practice for integrating their relationship with God into their leadership practice. . . . For leaders seeking to lead authentically out of their core identity in Christ this book is essential reading."

Deborah Rundlett,

Journal of Religious Leadership

"In eight informative chapters, the reader is introduced to a host of concepts and models, individual exemplars of particular aspects of leading, and a 'faith-based' evaluation of current leadership trends. . . . The theological lens of Reviewing Leadership is a generous, evangelical Christianity."

Lyndon Shakespeare,

Anglican Theological Review

Praise for the First Edition

Christianity Today 2005 Book Award Winner

"[Banks and Ledbetter] weave reviews and summaries of twenty authors and practitioners. . . . The biblical and historical material will be a great boost to doctoral students studying the field of leadership. . . . For the student choosing to master the field of Christian leadership, these chapters are a gold mine of references and further study."

Richard Leslie Parrott,

Ashland Theological Journal

"The first word I would use to describe this book is scholarship. Banks and Ledbetter have certainly done their homework. Their leadership research, bibliography, and knowledge of the field are nothing short of outstanding. It is one of the most impressive works I have read that seeks to provide an overview of various approaches to leadership. . . . This book is impressively researched and written. I plan to use it as collateral reading in my leadership course. The historical overview in chapter two provides a wonderful foundation and the case studies throughout the book will stimulate class discussions."

Larry H. Lundquist,

Journal of Youth Ministry

"While leadership studies, both secular and religious, have become very popular, most Christian works are of an experiential or testimonial nature. While these are of value, Reviewing Leadership attempts to fulfill a different role. It offers a more substantial consideration of the historical and theological aspects of leadership study. . . . It is not a textbook in a pure sense, but an evaluation, which surveys a tremendous amount of scholarship with insightful evangelical reflection and critique. . . . I would recommend it to the academic or student who has already had some introduction to leadership studies, Christian or not. It helps one get a grasp of leadership as a discipline rather than a simple character trait or skill."

Richard Ramsey,

Christian Education Journal

"[The authors] carefully survey the myriad assumptions that underlie various approaches to leadership, and how each makes sense theologically. The book is not a light read as many church leadership books can be. It flows across the vast literature on leadership and by the time you're done reading, you'll have an excellent grasp of the field and where to find answers to more specific questions. The highlight of the book is how Banks and Ledbetter skillfully display the ways leadership thinkers often blend ethics, proof texts, or a story from the life of Jesus into leadership principles that may not be thoroughly Christian. . . . For Christian leaders trying to make sense of popular leadership studies, this book provides the broader perspective pastors need, and helps us avoid the all too easy subversion of Jesus for the purposes of businesslike efficiency."

David Fitch,

Leadership Journal

"The best word to summarize this book is 'comprehensive.'. . . A valuable resource. Properly studied, this book will allow novices in the area of leadership to discuss the topic intelligently and thus would benefit any reader."

Thomas White,

Southwestern Journal of Theology

"[The authors] successfully bridge the gap between scholarship and pragmatics, bringing their readers from basic theory to case studies. Throughout the book, Banks and Ledbetter interact with significant, contemporary works in leadership. . . . [The book can] be used as a significant primer to the topic of leadership and should be read and referenced by leaders and aspiring leaders, particularly those who call themselves Christian."

Jim Cianca,

Christian Week

"An important survey of precedent literature and an evaluation of leadership approaches and theories. Banks and Ledbetter offer us a well-crafted, carefully designed tool that will serve our students well. Their manuscript is perfect for the introductory, graduate leadership course that deals with the foundational theories and history of leadership, with a purposeful Christian worldview. . . . This book will serve an ecumenical community well with its breadth and depth of analysis of many traditions that have shaped leadership for both church and society. It is an important resource for the student of leadership, whether in higher education, the local church, or the individual study."

Christina Accornero,