by Stacy T. Rinehard
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1998 US $12.00
Reviewed by Jean-Luc Lézeau, Associate Director, General Conference Stewardship Ministries
This is a book for people who want to influence others spiritually. After years of research and many conversations with church leaders, Stacy Rinehart recognized a sad fact: there is very little difference in the way religious organizations function as compared to those found in the marketplace.
The dark side of religious leadership is that human ambition is coated with the veneer of spirituality. Similarly, in Jesus’ time—the only institution He confronted was the church. Stacy quotes Alister McGrath’s Power of Religion in which a parallel is drawn between the distorted idea of priesthood in the medieval church and ministry in our time. Both are highly authoritarian. Both rest upon an ideology of power, which places the right to speak for God in the hands of a small and unaccountable elite. Leaders perceive any questioning of the vision or integrity of the ministry as a direct threat. The church should not be a chain of command as it often is, but a network of love.
Religious organizations readily embrace business models to embody the acronym of success (ABC): Attendance, Buildings and Cash flow. On the other hand, the servant-leader believes that God alone produces the fruit, which is often hidden and always defies measurement. If leaders in the corporate world are to ask themselves if they have followers, then spiritual leaders should ask themselves if Christ has more followers, thanks to their ministry. UpsideDown is a must for church leaders who wants to follow Jesus’ example.