By Stan Friedman
HOLLAND, MI (March 18, 2014) — Articles by six Covenanters are included in the recently published two-volume Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook, including one of its co-editors Kyle Small, associate dean and associate professor of church leadership at Western Theological Seminary and ordained Covenant minister.
The 824-page book includes 100 articles that explore religious leadership in the United States. Among the themes are contextualizing leadership in faith communities, leadership as taught in theological education and training, and how religious leadership impacts social change. Topics are examined from multiple perspectives, traditions, and faiths.
Small was asked to recruit writers who would approach the topics from an evangelical perspective, he says. In addition to Small, who writes on “”Formation of Christian Leaders: Forming Faithful and Just Actions for the Sake of the World,” other Covenant writers are:
David Olson, former executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism, addresses, “Leadership for a New Church.”
Jo Ann Deasy, pastor of Sojourner Covenant Church in Evanston, Illinois, writes about “Women Leaders in Evangelical Congregations.”
Soong Chan-Rah, Milton B. Engebretson associate professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary, explores “New Forms of Evangelical Leadership.”
Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, professor of global Christianities and mission studies at the Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, focuses on “Post-colonial Insights for Religious Leadership.” Cardoza-Orlandi also teaches courses at Centro Hispano de Estudios Teologicos, the Covenant’s Hispanic leadership training center.
Al Tizon, co-president of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Tim King, chief strategy officer at Sojourners, each present case studies of religious leaders.
The book represents increasing academic interest in the particulars of religious leadership, which Small says has received a paucity of attention until recent years.
Each article includes more information than general encyclopedia entries but with less jargon than is typical of journal articles. “This is not a book people are going to sit down and just read,” Small says, laughing.
Still, it is an important book for people who are pursuing academic research, he adds, noting, “Every author had to submit 15 to 25 resources to accompany their article.”
Small says he has no illusions that the book will make the New York Times best-seller list. At a cost of $350, the volumes, which are part of the SAGE Reference Series on Leadership, are much more likely to be purchased by libraries and other institutions, he says.
“Sage is considering releasing portions of the volumes digitally, which will allow users to access these articles -and others – at a reasonable cost,” Small adds.