The purpose of this book is simple -- to reclaim a vision for church leadership from the great spiritual awakening known as the Wesleyan movement. Yet the way one goes about this work, contends Lovett H. Weems, Jr., is anything but simple. It involves walking a tightrope between continuity and change. The task is neither to repeat the past, nor to ignore it. Rather the need is to locate the genius behind the achievements of the past from which we can learn for our day. It is to choose selectively those themes and emphases of the Wesleyan movement that can best inform the practice of ministry today, and to seek to grow into them. In order to achieve this, Weems identifies such principles of early Wesleyanism as beginning with where people are, focusing on service, and remembering the poor. He then enumerates practices of Wesleyan leadership, such as leading from the center and the edge, living in tension, and making "connection" happen. Finally, he names the core passions of the Wesleyan spirit: knowing God, proclaiming Christ, and seeking justice.
Lovett H. Weems Jr. is distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at WesleyTheological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He came to this position in 2003 after 18 years as president of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. A native of Mississippi, Dr. Weems is a graduate of Millsaps College; Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; and Wesley Theological Seminary. The author of several books published by Abingdon Press, his most recent includes Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results (with Tom Berlin) and a revised edition of his classic, Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity. He co-edits the online newsletter Leading Ideas, available free at ChurchLeadership.com.