Agape Leadership: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership from the Life of R.C. Chapman by Robert Peterson and Alexander Strauch
Robert C. Chapman was a godly pastor in 19th century England. In fact, Charles Spurgeon called him “the saintliest man I ever knew.”
This excellent little book is not so much a pure biography of Chapman as illustrations from his life how he lived out his loving leadership. The title “Agape leadership” sort of gives that away but may understate how excellently the authors blend together the biographical sketch and life principles he modeled.
Like many pastors and evangelists in past days, Chapman abandoned a life of ease and material prosperity to pursue his calling. After being trained by another pastor in London, he was called to lead at Ebenezer Chapel in Barnstaple, County of Devon, England. While he had some significant differences in theology with the church, they called him with the condition that he be allowed to preach whatever he found in the Bible, even if it contradicted their past practices. Many of the leadership lessons in the book deal with the conflicts he ran into as his Biblical theology intersected with their unbiblical practices.
The book covers not only traditional pastoral leadership elements, but also aspects such as practicing hospitality and giving to the needy. It is a wonderful 360 degree view of how a loving church leader ought to conduct himself both around the people of God and those who would oppose the truth.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I plan to give a copy to each of our small group leaders to encourage them with a godly example of what loving leadership looks like.