(Edited posthumously by Timothy F. Sedgwick)
Seabury Books (New York), 2009
Reviewed by Rev Dr David Ferguson, minister with the Clermont and Capella Uniting Church congregations.
I am currently studying for my Masters of Ministry in Missional Leadership and was interested to hear a different voice on the subject.
This book, compiled from the collected essays of the Episcopal theologian Richard A. Norris, is certainly thought provoking.
The essays move from discussion on the nature of the church to the tasks of ministry
in our current time, moving effortlessly from examining scriptural and traditional models to ones based on current dominant social structures such as corporations and CEOs.
As with any study from another tradition there are going to be sections of the essays which disturb or challenge us but there are several sections that provoke thought and the occasional incisive aside.
For example, while I feel Mr Norris goes too far in the direction of humility in discussing the nature of the church as being a signifier of the kingdom of God rather than a participant in the mission of God, there is wisdom in his cautions against the church over confidently seeing itself as the citizenry of the kingdom of God or falling into the trap of considering itself as the only participant in the mission of God.
Ultimately, Mr Norris' final comment on Christian leadership shows both the depth of thought contained in his writings, plus his humble and engaging view of ministry which makes both the journey and the destination worthwhile to anyone exercising leadership.