The Art Of Captaincy – Mike Brearley

Those of you who know me will be astounded that I have been reading a book about cricket!  I am not a great sports fan, and when it comes to watching sport cricket would be bottom of the list along with golf.  However this book was recommended at the ‘Leading Your Church Into Growth’ Conference and I decided that as I had grown to respect the leaders of the conference I would put aside my loathing of the sport and give it a whirl.

Okay so there was a lot of names that were unfamiliar, and terms which slightly bamboozled me at times, and there were anecdotes that the humour probably passed me by on, but on the whole what a great book about leadership.  There was a fascinating insight into how captains are chosen much of which I believe could be said for the church as well, and on more than that occasion I could see direct correlations with leadership in the church.   Right at the very front of the book there is a wonderful story.

A French general was once asked; after a famous victory, if it hadn’t really been won by his second-in-command.  His reply was “Maybe so, but one thing is certain: if the battle had been lost I would have lost it.”

A good leader should be prepared to take the flack when it flies, and also be prepared to let others shine and take the glory when praise is being passed out.  Charisma; Brearly, later goes on to point out, is no substitute for ability and vica-versa, having energy, optimism and enthusiasm in what you are doing are often the best tools for encouraging the best from others.  It would appear there are a lot of similarities between the captain of a cricket team and a parish priest, maybe this book should be added to theological colleges book lists.

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