As the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years, followed by 18 years in Life After Cricket and Chairman of Well-Being Australia which includes the young writer ministry with Christian Today, one might say I get about-a-bit. One of the most delightful people I met over all those 42 years as a Baptist Minister is Salvation Army Major Peter McGuigan.
Peter was heavily involved in Salvation Army publishing and in addition served for three years as the President of the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA), a position he held till 2011. When his latest book came up, realistically distributed globally amongst The Salvation Army, and then handed to editors at the 2019 ARPA conference, I was one of many who secured a copy.
This is not Peter McGuigan's first book and his ledger has innumerable feature articles to his distinguished name, but having also read other reviews of his new book, The Leadership of Jesus, I must concur, this volume is a stand-out.
Let's not hold back here, we're taking about someone who is highly qualified, as Peter McGuigan holds an MA (Writing) and his personal warmth and charm, insights and welcoming conviviality immediately illustrates someone of substance. The word 'substance' is a King James Biblical favourite in Hebrews 11 when describing faith – the substance of ….. conveying empowering embodiment. That’s Peter!
One reviewer wrote: “The Leadership of Jesus will be a book that, once read, many will want to keep close at hand for regular reference. Such is the clarity, depth of insight and flow of thought on such a vital subject for our times.” I agree with that comment.
Peter McGuigan is someone who illustrates “reflective writing”. Realistically, without gushing or spiritual froth, Peter powerfully takes readers on a journey, as one reviewer wrote, “to a place we have needed to go for a very long time – deep into the leader-heart of Jesus Christ.”
I think we can quote the book's Foreword, by General André Cox: “The author helps us explore spiritual leadership that is rooted in our identity in Christ, relationship with God and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit.” The development of spiritual depth and the development of leadership capacity are entwined from start to finish in this ‘must-read’ book, resonating with each other like reciprocal themes.
I was interested to grab hold of a number of reviewers including the immediate past ARPA President Peter Bentley (2012-19) which was read out at the recent ARPA conference in Christchurch in September.
Then a further reviewer commented thus – something with which many theologians can concur: “Over the last few years I have grown increasingly weary of most Christian publications. The more extreme the claims made by the book, the more reluctant I am to spend my money to learn something that ‘will fundamentally change’ my life or promises to transform me into a super hero. The reality is that, usually, two pages in I am disappointed.”
How true. Sometimes a phrase like this encapsulates the entire mood of reading and reviewing such “uppity” hype of a book. I even met, not that long ago, a Pentecostal pastor who went from builder’s labourer to 'Pastor' to an 'Apostle' all within 3 months. (I'm still a back-waters Baptist preacher of 42 years with two doctorates – no such advancement for me).
The reviewer continued: “When I was asked to write this review, my usual reluctance came to the fore, and I was pleasantly surprised! The further I delved into the book, the more jewels of wisdom I found. Peter McGuigan knows how to apply quotes from a huge range of writers from Frederick Coutts to Nelson Mandela, added to his own deep personal insight.”
ARPA President Peter Bentley (2012-19) wrote: “Although set in the life and mission of The Salvation Army, I can warmly commend this book to you if you are in another church like myself. It has enabled me to reflect again on my own experience as I hear the honest and open reflections of someone writing from within their own context.
“I particularly found the chapter ‘The Elephant in the Room’ very helpful, and the amazingly succinct reflection on the nature of authority. The whole collection is built upon the values of leading like Jesus with conviction, integrity and courage; grounded in humility; a true reflection of the incarnational model of our living God.”
So what more can I say to all of this. Here are some ‘practical’ things.
It is easy to read.
The print size makes it a good read.
As well as 16 chapters on various aspects of leadership, it features Leaders’ Prayers and reflection points in each chapter
It is a good size - carry it anywhere
Read it on a plane, the lounge chair, office
Ideal gift to a family member, a friend
I have a rule - be nice to an Anglican Curate and to a Salvation Army officer – one day they might be Archbishop or General.
How can a copy be purchased and delivered
Here are the purchase details and the cost
The Leadership of Jesus, published by Salvation Books and with Foreword by General André Cox (R), is available for purchase on-line at commerce.salvationarmy.org.au or thetrade.salvos.org.au. Also available as an e-book from Amazon or Kobo.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html