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The Politics of Ministry

Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests

By: Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman, and Donald C. Guthrie
SKU: 9780830841509 Categories: , ,
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
ISBN: 9780830841509
SKU: 9780830841509

$18.00 $14.40

We all need help navigating the politics of ministry.

“Politics” is often considered a dirty word. It brings to mind lies and manipulation, accusations and scandals. But at its most basic level, politics is simply the everyday activity of getting things done with other people: understanding their interests, recognizing the power dynamics at play, and learning how to negotiate relationships and institutions to achieve a common goal.

These realities are as true in ministry settings as anywhere else. In The Politics of Ministry, Bob Burns, Tasha Chapman, and Donald Guthrie combine their long ministry experience with sociological research on the topic. Filled with real-life stories taken from a variety of ministry settings, this book sets out wise principles and practices that help us see more clearly the political dynamics at play in our churches and parachurch ministries.

All ministry is political. As servants of Christ’s kingdom, we are called to navigate the politics of ministry with grace, wisdom, and charity. This book shows us how the gospel of Jesus changes the way we work with those around us toward our common goal.


Foreword by Steven Garber
1. Three Ministry Stories
2. The Four Dynamics of Politics
3. Power in Ministry Politics
4. The Branches and Roots of Interests
5. Personality Interests
6. Organizational Interests
7. Societal Interests
8. Negotiation, Power, and Interests
9. Negotiation in Cell Four
10. Ethical Issues in the Politics of Ministry
11. Tom Moves into a Political Struggle: A Final Case Study
Postscript: How People Learn the Politics of Ministry
Appendix 1: Emotions Checklist
Appendix 2: Constructing and Exploring a Family Diagram