The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests

Reviewed by: Connor Salter, Professional Writing student at Taylor University, Upland, IN.



Title: The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests

Author:  Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman, Donald C. Guthrie

Publisher: IVP Praxis (InterVarsity Press)

Publication Date:  2019

Format:  Paperback

Length: 216 pages


“Politics is the art of getting things done with others,” the writers say in this book’s introduction. Art can be used for good or for evil, and it exists anywhere that people interact with one another, including Christian ministries. Using research on relationship dynamics, biblical stories like Jesus’ meetings with the Pharisees, and accounts from people who’ve experience the political dynamics of churches, they explain how church and parachurch leaders can positively work together.

It may take some readers a while to get used to the idea that politics (in the sense of person-to-person dynamics) are part of any ministry job, but the writers make it clear that ministry leaders can’t avoid this reality. Having established that, they then do an excellent job of outlining the key concepts that ministry leaders must know to survive this reality, such as negotiating for the right reasons and understanding what factors influence people’s decisions. Some of these concepts require going into academic theories and analyses, but the writers make even those sections readable and understandable.


Rating (1 to 5)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians leading churches, as well as parachurch organizations and other Christian groups. Christians wanting to learn how to work with their ministry leaders.

Christian Impact

This book will teach ministry leaders important skills for avoiding and navigating organizational conflicts, allowing for healthier ministry work.


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The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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