To get a sense of what others are saying, here are those endorsing the new book:
Polycentric mission leadership is becoming essential for any church or mission organization that wants to work respectfully and fruitfully within the Global Church. This book highlights and unpacks the scholarly thinking that is emerging in this field. It is a great read for all who want to get up to speed on this topic. I believe this way of leading equips us far better if our genuine hope is to help and not hinder God’s missional purposes in the world.Mary T. Lederleitner, PhD
Executive Director of Missional Intelligence LLC
Author of Cross-Cultural Partnerships and Women in God’s Mission
I’m happy to endorse both this work and this person. Joe is someone who has a heart for all of God’s people and who is deeply committed to the training up and empowering of leaders from around the world. For the Lausanne Movement as well this book is a great snapshot in our ongoing nurturing and supporting and platforming of global polycentric leadership, community, and collaboration, all core to the vision for Lausanne 4.Michael Y. Oh, Ph.D.
Global Executive Director / CEO
Plurality of leadership is clearly God’s design both in Old Testament Israel (elders, judges, priests and prophets as well as kings), and the New Testament church. And the history of Christian mission from the earliest centuries has been shown to be polycentric and multi-directional. Joe Handley’s research and recommendations are timely, indeed one might say long overdue as the day of uni-directional, western-centred, hierarchically structured mission enterprise is long past (not that it was ever really the true or whole picture). His broad analysis from several sources identifies a range of qualities that polycentric leadership requires and, when functioning well, actually exhibits. It is encouraging to see these leadership qualities exemplified (even if imperfectly) in the Lausanne Movement among others, and important also to add that all of them have profoundly biblical roots and precedents.Chris Wright
Years ago, the leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance encouraged us to grow as ‘reflective practitioners.’ These words accurately describe what Joe Handley has presented to us in Polycentric Mission Leadership. Joe’s work is reflective—integrating well-documented research and theoretical approaches regarding leading a multi-cultural team. And his work is the voice of a long-term practitioner—offering practical and implementable ideas of creating an organizational context where diverse people are empowered and encouraged to bring their strengths and insights to the table for the benefit of all. Polycentric Mission Leadership is for mission executives, field leaders, and anyone who cares about leading a culturally diverse team for Kingdom of God impact.Paul Borthwick,
Development Associates International
Author of Western Christians in Global Leadership: What’s the Role of the North American Church?
Jesus continues to build His global Church! But growth brings challenges. Mission leaders throughout the world regularly discuss leadership tensions affecting the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Eavesdrop on these conversations and you will hear discussions related to ethnicity, diversity, effective communication, conflict, leadership style, cultures, and Western-Majority World partnerships. Few resources, and even fewer highly competent leaders, exist to assist the Church with these matters. Polycentric Mission Leadership is a fresh paradigm that challenges the status quo! Joe Handley draws deeply from theological, missiological, academic, and personal experience and provides this much needed book. He is my go-to person when it comes to leading global teams! Now this book has been published, eavesdrop on future leadership conversations and you will hear much discussion of polycentric leadership as a necessary way forward!J. D. Payne,
missiologist, author, professor of Christian Ministry,
Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.
“If you have spent any amount of time serving the Church in Africa and different parts of the world, then you know that leadership structure plays a significant role in determining what gets accepted and how novel ideas are received and processed. This book articulates a leadership approach which I believe has the potential to empower the Church to be all that it is called to be in these constantly changing times. Joe does a very outstanding job of not only defining but showing us what polycentric leadership could look like in ministry settings. Like the parable of the wine and wineskins, I believe that we should all be constantly giving thought to the nature of the wineskins needed to contain the fresh move of the Spirit as He continues the work of preparing His Bride for His return. Joe’s book adds substance to that conversation. I strongly recommend it to Church and ministry leaders.”Delphine Fanfon, Doctor of Strategic Leadership
Africa Leader, LeaderSource
“The Significant and rapid changes of the Kingdom landscape demand a new structure, governance, leadership model and style to do and manage mission works internationally in the 21st century. This Kingdom Landscape change does not only demand the needs for the rethinking of global missions strategy but also leadership … [Handley] opens up for a new or newly introduced discourse on structure, governance, management and leadership of international mission organizations for the 21st century.”Bambang Budijanto, Ph.D.
Asia Evangelical Alliance
While every observer of world missions currently acknowledges its radically changing context and conditions, too little attention has been given to the nature and shape of leadership in this new complex environment. To this dire need speaks Joe Handley’s innovative study which suggests a new paradigm called Polycentric Mission Leadership. Drawing from both his vast international and global ministry experience and resources as diverse as secular and Christian leadership theory, trinitarian theology, and focused interviews of leaders of a prominent global missions agency, among others, Joe presents a compelling and inspiring fresh vision. Highly recommended for all practitioners and academicians interested in the future of Christian ministry in the third millennium.
Professor of Systematic Theology
Fuller Theological Seminary
Docent of Ecumenics, University of Helsinki, Finland
Leadership is the art of influencing others toward achieving mutually beneficial outcomes, but for missions today that can be seen as something like trying to conduct jazz. For 200 years, traditional missions have been playing from the same score; playing different parts to the same Eurocentric Evangelical melody and rhythm. Now, the decolonising of theology and globalisation of missions is radically changing the beat. New instruments have been joining the stage and the melody is morphing. Recognising this shift, Joe Handley draws on his missions leadership experience and research to propose a way forward for leaders of traditional missions in a new era. Continuing the jazz metaphor, it is an era of multiple instruments with unique tunes, each one authoritative in its own context. As they mix on the global stage, Joe argues that a new breed of leaders is needed—influencers gifted to produce harmony from cacophony. They are participants on stage. Their playing is innovative and visionary. They connect and create space. Their influence is light. Their discernment is keen. Their sole concern is to follow the Holy Spirit in Christ’s ‘unforced rhythms of grace’ to fulfil the mission of God. They are exemplars of polycentric mission leadership.Dr. Jay Matenga
Director, Global Witness Dept.
Executive Director, Mission Commission
World Evangelical Alliance
“This book on Polycentric Mission Leadership meets a pressing need in this global century of missions from everywhere to everywhere. It provides a roadmap to empower emerging mission structures and to transform existing ones to be cutting edge, nimble, authentic, and innovative. It identifies the kind of value-based global leaders that can spearhead the completion of the Great Commission.”Dr. Mary Ho,
International Executive Leader
All Nations International, Inc.
“For decades, particularly in the West, Christian organizations have been enamored with the models and methods of successful marketplace corporations. They copied their tenacious pursuit of efficiency and impact all in the effort to serve Christ and his kingdom. But in the process, they also followed the more toxic elements of the marketplace. A cascade of scandals, organizational implosions, and leadership failures is making a new generation of Christians rethink these institutional assumptions. Handley’s exploration of polycentric leadership offers a helpful corrective to the toxicity of more top-down, autocratic models while also providing a practical framework for Christian organizations in the interconnected, globalized twenty-first century. Where older models sacrificed health for efficiency, Handley wisely offers a more Christ-like vision of leadership that is both effective and humanizing.”Skye Jethani
author and co-founder
Holy Post Media
Measure the Clouds Ministries
Looking for some new ideas on leadership in the complex and changing world of mission? Learn from a veteran. After years of disciplined study and practice, including his own extensive research, Joe Handley has synthesized six primary themes/features of polycentric models of leadership setting forth a vision for leaders in the global community. Learn from a veteran who has been there and done that.Duane H. Elmer, PhD
Trinity International University/Evangelical Divinity School
G. W. Aldeen Professor of International Studies (Emeritus)
Distinguished Professor of Educational Studies (Retired)
Joe Handley draws you in immediately and keeps you reading at a fast clip, leaving you with plenty to reflect on and apply. Not only does his research draw from a polycentric model of collaborative, communal, diverse, and relational inquiry, his work engages multidisciplinary literature in the fields from Mission, World Christianity, and leadership studies. This short book is comprehensive without being dense—thorough in exploring the literature from different regions of the world and managing to name many of the leading lights in mission and world Christianity studies. His survey also interfaces with contemporary disruptive events that make the need for a polycentric model of missional leadership even more vital. As a professor of mission studies and world Christianity, this will be an important little text to orient my graduate students as they seek relevant models of leadership in mission work.Wanjiru M Gitau
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and World Christianity
Palm Beach Atlantic University
author of Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective (IVP, 2018)
“Joe Handley is a discerning strategist and a skilled practitioner of leadership in a polycentric context. He appreciates the complexities of cross-cultural interactions, and sees the adjustments that global leaders will need to make in their perspectives and in their structures for the world that is coming, and is already here. His observations and insights deserve careful attention.“Rev. David W. Bennett, D.Min., Ph.D.
Global Associate Director for Collaboration & Content
The Lausanne Movement
“Joe Handley provides an important contribution to our knowledge of the leadership associated with polycentric mission in the 21st century. His study of the Lausanne Movement as a case study of leadership transition documents the emergence of diverse leaders around the world. Building on the ground-breaking work of Allen Yeh, Handley focuses the trained eyes of a leader on the new model he terms polycentric leadership. This is an important work for the global leadership conversation and worthy of broad circulation.”Douglas McConnell, Ph.D.
Provost Emeritus and Professor of Leadership and Intercultural Studies
Fuller Theological Seminary
“Joe Handley does a commendable job in taking the principles from my IVP Academic book (2016), Polycentric Missiology, and robustly expanding on the principles therein, taking it from the theoretical to concrete application. He has his finger on the future of Christian missional leadership.”Allen Yeh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies Department of Intercultural Studies