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Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm Paperback – March 1, 2014
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I cannot express how much I needed this book—nor how much our church and our culture needs it. From the first page (or more precisely, the second) to the last it is full of surprise, insight, honesty, clarity, and hope. It is prophetic in the deepest sense of the word. No one who aspires to lead in the way of Christ should miss the chance to read Facing Leviathan.
Andy Crouch, executive editor, Christianity Today, author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power
Facing Leviathan is a beautifully written book that weaves history and the Word of God together in a spectacular and challenging tapestry. I was moved, encouraged and provoked.
Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas, president of Acts 29 Church Planting Network
With a sharp historical analysis, Mark Sayers shows how we are shaped by a culture where image and performance is everything. This book is a must-read for brave leaders who want lead and live in a way that is shaped by the life of Jesus.
Thomas Willer, sociologist, author, pastor of Regen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mark has written a beautifully engaging and well researched book on culture that drips with the prophetic. His insights into cultural history and how we got here are breathtaking, and how he turns them into lessons on leadership is just brilliant. This book is fun, insightful, engaging...I could go on and on. If you are a leader in any capacity, read this book.
Dave Lomas, pastor of Reality San Francisco, author of The Truest Thing About You
Mark Sayers understands leadership far beyond the bite-sized axioms frequently used. By teaching with his own failures in leadership as a prime example, he has the experience necessary to show the danger of following the movement of the culturally-mandated leadership. Take up the challenge of having your own preconceived notions of leadership questioned by reading Facing Leviathan, and walk away a leader who first follows the example of Christ, rather than the latest management tool.
Tyler Braun, author of Why Holiness Matters: We’ve Lost Our Way—But We Can Find It Again
Unlike any leadership book I have ever read, Facing Leviathan traverses the waves of Western history and exposes dangerous cultural currents in order to land us safely ashore a leadership that is neither pragmatic nor pietistic. Sayers charts a course right through the storms of vocational pride, ministry travails, and personal suffering by keeping a bead on God's profound, personal providence. Littered with insights, I couldn't shake the book after I read it. It haunted me, beckoning me into deeper self-reflection, while also inspiring me to lead underneath God. As you read, you'll get to think, repent, and refocus. On top of all that, it's a literary feast with morsels for all to enjoy.
Jonathan K. Dodson, lead pastor of City Life Church Austin, author of Gospel-Centered Discipleship
If you're like me and thought that leadership was reserved for the elite, that you had to be a CEO to be an influencer, there's good news: You don't. And this book will show you how.
Jeff Goins, author of The In-Between
The cultural and personal storms of our day are indeed raging, and few books will help us navigate them like Facing Leviathan. With prophetic insight and personal transparency, Mark Sayers steers leadership the way it should always go in a storm: the way of Christ Himself.
Tim Chaddick, pastor of Reality Los Angeles, author of Better
No one will challenge your thinking more than Mark! I so appreciate both his insights and his passion to develop authentic disciples of Christ. We are in dire need of new ways to think about the development of disciples and leaders. They need to be the net results of a culture and community, as opposed to a new program or our quick-fix methods.
Terry Walling, president, leader of Breakthru
From the Back Cover
There are two styles of leadership at war in the world.
On one side, the mechanical leader casts a vision of heroic action aided by pragmatism, reason, technology, and power.
On the other side, the organic leader strives to bring forth creativity, defying convention and relishing life in culture’s margins.
This leadership battle is at the heart of our contemporary culture, but it is also an ancient battle. It is the reinvocation of two great heresies, one rooted in an attempt to reach for the heroic, godlikeness, the other bowing before the sea monster of the chaotic deep.
Today’s leader must answer many challenging questions including:
- What does it mean to lead in a cultural storm?
- How do I battle the darkness in my own heart?
- Is there such a thing as a perfect leader?
Weaving a history of leadership through the Enlightenment, Romanticism, into tumultuous 19th century Paris and eventually World War II, cultural commentator Mark Sayers brings history and theology together to warn of the dangers yet to come, calling us to choose a better way.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Using the French Revolution and Paris as a metaphor, Sayers shows us how a society of power and glamour in 19th Century Paris that looks good on the outside can spawn the rise of a cruel and wicked person like Adolf Hitler. He points out the two popular forms of leadership: Mechanical (Enlightenment values) and Organic (Romanticism values). The former is based on power, task-driven, traditional, conventional, etc, while the latter is based on creativity, radical, relational, spiritual, imaginative, etc. Sayers admits that for the most part of his life, he has tried to evolve from the mechanical to the organic form of leadership.Gradually, he gets swamped by "surprising fruitlessness," "cultural splits," as well as his own bipolar condition, making him even more determined to find out the root cause of it all. He begins by meeting the Leviathan and the dangers of the sea. He observes with much fascination how poets like Jules Verne live out the Mechanical style of leadership while Rimbaud represents the organic form. Both had one thing in common: Both abandoned their Christian faith.Read more ›
Mark Sayers sets the challenge of leadership in this perspective. He examines two perspectives – the first, power through control, and the second, skeptical critique. Force versus romanticism. The following excepts from the book tell it well:
"Public speaking was irrevocably altered. No longer would leaders simply tell people what to do. Any public figure making exclusive claims seemed to now be treading on dangerous ground. No longer would people look to those in authority as messianic figures with the ability to rescue society from the storms that face us. It was almost as if the poison that Hitler released into the world had infected our idea of leadership itself. … Today many of us want to influence, but not many of us with to lead. We describe ourselves as activists, consultants, creatives and entrepreneurs.”
Go to the business or self-help or leadership section of your local bookstore and see how many titles you can find that describe the key to leadership as creativity, flexibility, collaboration, love, relationships, etc., the list goes on and on. The last several decades have seen the pendulum swing away from leadership by power (mechanical) to leadership by style and relationships (organic). But the pendulum will continue its motion as society responds to failed leadership of the past.Read more ›
What You’ll Read About
To begin with, Facing Leviathan is no ordinary leadership book. It doesn’t attempt to extrapolate principles from the author’s life experience so much as it tries to weave a tale of leadership amidst a chaotic historical setting. Most of the time Sayers focuses on discussing historical leadership positions such as Hitler or even the fictional sea explorer Captain Nemo. Throughout the book, Sayers tries to explain where true leaders must find their foundation and how they must go about leading when everything around them is in chaos.
The book begins with a scene from Paris right before World War 2. This was before Hitler’s regime became one of the most well known powers in world history. Sayers attempts to explain Hitler’s culture and worldview, all the while weaving a comparison of “Organic Leadership” and “Mechanical Leadership”. He discusses bohemian culture, the art world, and how trendy it was (and still is) to abandon traditional leadership styles and methods.
Interesting Concept, Bad Execution
I have to be completely honest with you: I did not like Facing Leviathan. It was extremely disjointed and unorganized. I’m even having trouble writing a cohesive review for it because it tried to talk about too many things. There was little reference to even the book’s title until the book was coming to a close. I came away from this book having learned little about leadership, at least from a practical standpoint.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We tend to think that our cultural challenges are new , but there is nothing new under the sun. Let us join the Creator in building toward the New Creation, God's kingdom come.Published 23 days ago by Chris
Great Book. This book really opened my eyes to how our culture is just a reflection of a centuries old pendulum swing between Modern and post Modern cultures.Published 11 months ago by Brandon Heath Purgahn
"Facing Leviathan", while containing some good points, did, in my humble opinion, like some other reviewers, seemed to be unfocused and distracting in certain areas. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Michael Taylor
Influence. Leverage relationships. Eschew formal authority. Develop compelling values… this is pretty much what you see in all the best-selling leadership books. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Aaron Armstrong
Found the Leviathan analogy a bit forced at first, as if Mark was trying to force his ideas to fit into it. Read morePublished 18 months ago by patrick daniel coates
Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm
Mark Sayers. Read more
I appreciate Sayers book on leadership in a cultural storm. I found it to be very insightful and helpful as a growing leader.Published 19 months ago by Ben Terry