Reviewing Leadership

A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches

series: Engaging Culture

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Christianity Today 2005 Book Award Winner

"I would recommend [this book] 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

In Reviewing Leadership, Robert Banks and Bernice M. Ledbetter offer an acute theological analysis of the influence and importance of leadership in our culture today.

The authors begin by analyzing the current growing interest in leadership and examining its development within the church. Next, they consider the spiritual dimensions of leadership. Finally, they offer examples of exceptional Christian leadership and discuss ways to nurture this type of leadership for the future.


"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, director, Lilly Vocation Project, 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. 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 a visiting professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where he serves on staff at the Centre...

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  2. 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.

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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. . . .The [second] two chapters are an excellent 'appetizer' of spiritual and faith-based leadership. For the novice, it is a place to begin an in-depth study. For the expert, it is an opportunity to sharpen the skills of mental debate. . . . 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. . . . Overall 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. Another great contribution is the nearly 300 references in their bibliography. 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 is adequately supplemented by footnotes, an excellent bibliography and an index. . . . It 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, Missiology