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Against the chatter of pop psychology and the latest list of must-have motivational habits, twenty Bible scholars and ministry professionals thoughtfully grapple with what the Scriptures, in their totality, actually have to teach us about the essence of true leadership. In Servants and Friends, Skip Bell and his team examine and correlate the breadth of evidence in the Old and New Testaments. They trace the nature of God's intent, and bring it all together in a fresh and challenging theological understanding that may radically alter what we have thought leadership really is.
Skip Bell is professor of Christian leadership and director of the Doctor of Ministry program at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He received a DMin degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous academic and professional articles and of one book, A Time to Serve. His primary focus has been leadership and administration, serving the church in pastoral, administrative, and academic roles.
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"Servants and Friends is an outstanding anthology on a biblical theology of leadership. The impressive collection of contributing authors not only balances both Old and New Testament leadership examples and definitions, but also skillfully integrates current leadership theory. The third section of the book is an exceptionally rich look at some biblical narratives including women in leadership, contextualization, and empowerment. As the church continues to be confronted with new leadership paradigms, Servants and Friends is a valuable resource to help the church recalibrate its perspective of leadership with solid theological truth."
Associate Professor and Director of Leadership Development
"Skip Bell and the other contributors to Servants and Friends have done a favor for students of leadership. They've examined the biblical data and produced an applied theology. They don't delve into contextual particulars or how-to's of leading, but they take the higher road that ponders the concepts of leadership posture and relationships. In this way, the title describes the book well. Leaders are servants and friends."
Marshall Shelley, editor in chief of Christianity Today's Leadership Journal
"Leadership from a biblical viewpoint is a subject that will never be mined completely. Dr. Skip Bell has assembled a group of skilled leaders and biblical scholars who share their research in a compelling and theologically sound basis. The principles of leadership discussed here are vitally important to every area of our lives—including business, education, family, and church. I congratulate Dr. Bell and his group for a fantastic work that I predict will become a classic."
James W. Gilley, President & CEO
Three Angels Broadcasting Network
"A substantive contribution for a too-long neglected field of study—a solid biblical theological treatment of Christian leadership. The method here stands in stark contrast to much of the literature on church leadership. It offers substantive exegetical work across all the genres of scripture in drawing out an insightful understanding of God's agency at work in and through human servants. The final chapters which pull together a theological understanding of leadership are particularly strong. May this volume stimulate others to contribute to this important subject."
Craig Van Gelder
Professor of Congregational Mission
"Servants and Friends takes us on a breath-taking journey into the rich texture of biblical thinking about leadership. From creation, the ultimate leadership act, to Apocalypse, the book of cosmic leadership-transparency, this thought-provoking book challenges Christian leaders to see their calling as rooted in the mystery of God's purposes with this world. The reality of servant leadership has never been explored in a more profound and practical way. A must-read book for Christian leaders."
Erich W. Baumgartner
Editor, Journal of Applied Christian Leadership
Professor of Leadership, Andrews University
"Skip Bell and his colleagues have provided an accessible and substantive volume at the thinly populated intersection of biblical theology and leadership. Their theological journey through the canonical narrative honors the inspirational authority of Scripture while acknowledging the unique aspects of each literary segment. I highly recommend Servants and Friends to students and practitioners whose hearts crave the sacred integrity of leadership grounded in the love of God and neighbor."
Thomas F. Tumblin
Professor of Leadership
Dean of the Beeson International Center
Asbury Theological Seminary
"Servants and Friends does not get caught up in sanctifying business world principles of leadership, but rather offers a comprehensive exploration of biblical foundations for leadership in ministry contexts. This book should be read widely by those engaged in the on-the-ground work of spiritual leadership: leadership that cultivates the transformation of people and their world."
Kurt N. Fredrickson
Associate Dean for Doctor of Ministry and Continuing Education
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry
Fuller Theological Seminary
"This splendid compilation of biblical insight and guidance should prove to be one of the most valuable treasures of spiritual and professional wisdom available to leaders of this era in any context. It achieves the noble goal of "teaching" universal truths for leadership that "both transcends human experience and transforms human relationships."
Ella Smith Simmons
General Vice President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
"Servants and Friends is impressive as it exegetes in detail both the Old and New Testaments to derive an insightful theology of leadership qualities. The authors demonstrate that true spiritual leadership is more than the practice of certain principles, but is also a part of the 'spiritual pursuit.' For those engaged in spiritual leadership and management this book provides a vital foundation. Each chapter concludes with a 'Reflection' section to assist in application."
Brian C. Richardson
Basil Manly, Jr. Professor of Leadership and Church Ministry
Chair, Department of Leadership
Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"This is a rich and thoroughly researched book. The breadth and depth of this powerful book will make it an excellent guide for Christian leaders, especially for framing and fulfilling their calling from a biblical point of view. It will be a valued resource for me, and I'm sure many others, for years to come."
Christian leadership consultant, coach, and trainer
"Finding ourselves in leadership roles in community or in positions of leadership in organizations, we face the very questions this book addresses. Only occasionally do we find an opportunity to discuss them with trusted friends and colleagues. This collection of essays provides that conversation. Refreshingly, it focuses on the original text rather than popular leadership theories. In so doing it uncovers hidden nuggets otherwise overlooked by other approaches. If you want to dig deeper into the meaning of leadership from a biblical perspective, this is a great place to start."
David S Penner
Loma Linda University
"Servants and Friends is a well-conceived book describing and analyzing a biblical perspective of leadership. Regardless of religious persuasion, the accounts and historical profiles are instructive for understanding leadership (e.g., vision, mission, courage, collegiality, reflection, vulnerability, modeling and growth). The work contains early references and descriptions of servant leadership. In this case, servant refers to submitting to God's will and serving others in meeting His plan. For those seeking guidelines for Christian leadership aptly described by Dr. Bell as "for some, as for us, scripture is normative for the way leadership is understood and practiced," the book is surely a must."
Daniel W. Wheeler
Professor Emeritus of Leadership Studies
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Author, Servant Leadership in Higher Education: Principles and Practice
"Servants and Friends fills a much-needed biblical foundation for leadership studies. I cannot think of another book that as carefully elucidates the scriptural material on leadership. One overarching principle arising from the chapters of this book is that God is the real leader, and our leadership practices must be formed from the implications of that understanding. The best characteristics of leadership have long ago been reflected in the Scriptures. This book is an inspiration to read."
Benjamin D. Schoun, General Vice President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Chair, Board of Trustees, Andrews University
Former Associate Dean, SDA Theological Seminary and Professor of Leadership
Foreword by R. Scott Rodin
Preface by Skip Bell
Introduction by Skip Bell
Section One: The Old Testament
"Leadership Language in the Old Testament" by Richard M. Davidson
"The Creation Narrative" by Jacques B. Doukhan
"The Pentateuch" by Roy E. Gane
"The Historical Books" by Jiri Moskala
"Wisdom Literature and the Psalms" by James R. Wibberding
"The Prophets" by Paul B. Petersen
Section Two: The New Testament
"Leadership Language in the New Testament" by Jon Paulien
"The Gospels" by Robert M. Johnston
"The Acts of the Apostles" by C. Adelina Alexe
"The Pauline Epistles" by P. Richard Choi
"The General Epistles" by Thomas R. Shepherd
"Revelation" by Sigve K. Tonstad
Section Three: Selected Biblical Narratives
"Nehemiah: The Servant Leader" by Barry Gane
"Women in the Old Testament: Leadership Principles" by Jo Ann Davidson
"Jesus and Leadership" by R. Clifford Jones
"Peter: A Narrative of Transformation" by Douglas Tilstra
"Paul: Principles for Leadership and Contextualization" by Leslie N. Pollard
"Barnabas: A Study in Empowering Leadership" by Bernard J. Sauvagnat
Section Four: A Biblical Theology of Leadership
"A Reflection on Leadership Principles in the Old Testament" by Skip Bell
"A Reflection on Leadership Principles in the New Testament" by Stanley E. Patterson
"A Biblical Theology of Leadership for the Church" by Skip Bell
About the Authors
2014 | 456 pp.