Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire

Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire

Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire

Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire


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While the exodus dates back thousands of years, religious organizations continue to operate in the shadows of the pyramids—the symbol of empire—that the Israelites once toiled to build. The reason is understandable, given that pyramids are remarkably stable structures. Pyramids lend an orderliness to organizational relationships in our churches and synagogues.

However, Kathleen McShane and Elan Babchuck argue that such leadership models reflect syncretic cultural traditions more than our theological convictions. These patterns elevate the structure of the pyramid above the people. They reward the consolidation of power at the top at the expense of the freedom of those below. They constrain creativity and elevate efficiency at the cost of human dignity.

In Picking Up the Pieces, McShane and Babchuck argue that these leadership models are not the way of the gospel. Therefore, today's religious leaders need a more generous model. They need a leadership model where power is shared rather than hoarded, and where every person can stretch toward the fullness of their God-given gifts, regardless of where they land on an organizational chart.

Through an innovative exploration of Moses's biblical narrative, the authors suggest that Moses's leadership failures were because he, too, was shaped by empire. The authors notice Moses's stumbles and corrections and the ways he picks up the pieces of broken leadership templates to guide his people toward their liberation. Picking Up the Pieces also offers stories of contemporary innovators and boundary-stretchers who grapple with failed experiments of religious leadership.

This book offers a provocation to religious leaders to exercise institutional power more generously. The book will speak to leaders who are ready to shift from organizational patterns that demand over-functioning and instead share power so that power multiplies. It will help leaders help their people fully engage in the life-giving promise that awaits them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506490977
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 01/16/2024
Pages: 244
Sales rank: 701,339
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Rev. Kathleen McShane is an attorney and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church who cofounded The Changemaker Initiative, which launched a multidenominational network of churches to empower ordinary people through social entrepreneurship to live as compassion-driven changemakers like Jesus. Kathleen's work focuses on developing innovative forms of community ministry and social impact. She lives on a vineyard on the central coast of California.

Rabbi Elan Babchuck serves as the executive vice president at Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the founding executive director of Glean Network, an incubator and network for faith-based entrepreneurs. Elan has incubated more than 150 successful startups and built several of his own. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and writer. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and three children. Elan is an avid rock climber and backyard gardener.

Table of Contents



Part 1: In the Shadow of the Pyramids

Chapter 1: The Pull of the Pyramids

Chapter 2: Cracks in the Facade

Chapter 3: Breaking Free

Chapter 4: Shattered: The Way Up Is Down

Part 2: In the Wilderness

Chapter 5: What We Leave Behind

Chapter 6: Power Struggles

Chapter 7: Testing for Trust (or Risking Everything)

Chapter 8: Liberating Structures

Part 3: Toward the Promised Land

Chapter 9: Risk and Reward

Chapter 10: Living in the Already and the Not Yet


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