As part of my ongoing (and either over-ambitious or radically managable) 2017 Reading Challenge, I’ve recently been reading two books where the topic of ‘power’, particularly in relation to church leadership, is a key focus. The first, now finished and reviewed is Mark Meynell’s superb ‘A Wilderness of Mirrors: trust again in a cynical world’. The second is an old SPCK book, published in 1996 before I could read (let alone work for SPCK), by Martin Percy called ‘Words, Wonders and Power’. The overlap between the book is fascinating, and greater than one might expect.
In Martyn’s book, he examines the social/theological/religious phenomenon of revivalism and fundamentalism by way of an examination of John Wimber; one of the founders of the Vineyard movement. As a member of a Vineyard church, who has dabbled theologically, it has been instructive as well as amusing working through this book. In Marks book, the author notes the importance of power dynamics, and lifts from Tony Benn a brilliant set of five questions for people to ask Leaders.
This is not a leadership blog. This is a blog where I waffle and explore things that culturally and theologically interest me. In a previous incarnation, however, I was nominated for a leadership blogging award and so I’ve ended up weaving in some tentative thoughts on leadership from time to time.
But I digress
Tony Benn’s five accountabiltiy questions for those in power are thus:
1) What power have you got?
2) Where did you get it from?
3) In whose interests do you exercise it?
4) To whom are you accountable?
5) And how can we get rid of you?
I think these are good questions for every leader to ask of themselves, as well as good questions for Christians to ask of different church structures and arrangements. What are the power dynamics at play in the way your community is arranged?