Strange Leadership: a book review

Having read several books on leadership and innovation, I approached Greg Atkinson’s Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization with some speculation, feeling it would offer the same perspective and suggestions given by books I had previously read. With that mindset, I was completely surprised by the richness and depth this book offers its readers. Atkinson’s love for Christ and the church resonates in his writing.  His genuine compassion and enthusiasm serve as catalysts for what he shares with his readers. It’s inspirational fire for those of us challenged by his words of wisdom and faith.

God Is the Chief Innovator
Strange Leadership is filled with spiritual truths and lessons. It reminds us that effective and innovative leadership stems from a heart centered on Christ. As Atkinson says, “God is the chief innovator.” He emphasizes that having a strong relationship with him gives us the strategies and direction we need to lead a church in community and faith. “Innovation is about following the Holy Spirit,” Atkinson writes, not our own path and ideas.  As we listen for God’s leading, our ministries will reach those we are called to help.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
Keep It Simple & Keep It Fluid
Many church leaders are church planners.  They need strategy, logic and a long-term plan to help them lead their churches and staff. Atkinson recognizes this need and values the importance of good planning and effective strategy, but he reminds us that in our planning, we must seek Christ and his direction.  He encourages leaders to remain “open to the Spirit’s leading and sudden change,” keeping plans simple, fluid and flexible.  He also asks that leaders “call to God, rely on him, desperately seek him.” This “spirit-led” leadership is the key to successful, innovative leadership.
The Ear of the Leader Must Ring With the Voice of the People
Some of the best insights Atkinson offers come from the quotes and scriptures inserted generously throughout the book.  Blending Bible stories with strategy, he teaches and demonstrates that great ideas come from many people, not just one individual leader.  In his discussion on collaboration, he points out that “none of us is as smart as all of us.” He reminds us that great ideas often come from working as a team. We are challenged to collaborate, communicate and dedicate our lives to our passion and purpose, as both team members and innovative leaders.
The World Is in Your Hands
As a marketing and social media director, I especially enjoyed Atkinson’s discussion on communication and globalization.  Many of us understand that communication is vital to the success of churches and their missions.  And, just like Atkinson, we are inspired to proclaim the gospel in new and innovative ways. His passion for sharing God’s word is evident as he discusses the need for interaction and the various platforms available to church communicators.  He reminds us that we cannot use the “old mindset” with the new tools, and we must be willing to “dive in” and develop new communication strategies. Yes—Facebook, Twitter, digital meet-ups and blogging are effective and necessary to share information in today’s society. We should work to build the church through these new tools and reach out to those who would otherwise be in the dark.
Watch What God Does and Then You Do It
Are you ready to be challenged?  Do you want to develop innovative and Spirit-led leadership skills?  Could you surrender your ministry to God and ask what he wants from you?  If the answer is yes, then you are ready for this book.  Your heart is longing for its truths, and God is asking you to read it. I encourage you to begin reading Strange Leadership with an open heart and let each chapter lead you into new thoughts, ideas and perspectives. Atkinson’s insight, intellect, experience, passion and open-hearted leadership will inspire you to listen for and hear God’s voice, respond to its leading and invite Christ into every aspect of your life and leadership style.
Courtesy of The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Florida Conference.
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