In this book Mike Starkey sets out a compelling vision for how local church ministry can involve a call to creative thinking, to stepping 'outside the box', rather than labouring to work with standard assumptions about congregational growth and models of what constitutes success. Drawing on his own experiences and insights from a wide range of contexts, from inner city to rural, he offers challenge, guidance and encouragement for all those answering the demanding - and at times exhilarating - call to serve the Church. From the author: 'The question underlying this book is: "What if we were to see the role of church leader not so much as the guardian of a tradition or formula, but as an explorer, a creative person who takes people on a journey of discovery and opens up fresh possibilities?" The explorer is somebody who heads off on a journey with others, for the sheer excitement of travelling and the wonder of arriving at new places not seen before. How can this sort of leader possibly know in advance precisely what the journey will look like or where it will take them?'
'The book has been born, in part, out of frustration at the dominance of standardised models of successful church leadership on offer in theological colleges, books, conferences and courses, and in the minds of many church leaders themselves. So, in a sense, this is a very personal journey. It is made all the more personal because this is the sort of book I wish somebody had given me as I started out in my first parish. In all these years, nobody else has written that book, so I decided it was time to have a go myself.' 'Nevertheless, I aspire to be more than Narcissus gazing at his own reflection in a pool. I hope the book will connect with people from a broad range of church traditions, and with a number of important wider conversations in today's church.'