Greg Atkinson's Strange Leadership is the result of six years of focused research, teaching, conversations and collaboration with thousands of pastors and ministry leaders all over the world on the subject of innovation.
This book is the culmination of speaking at countless conferences, engaging in numerous conversations and thousands of hours of research on the subject of innovation.
Are you a leader in a Christian organization? Is your church, ministry, or business lacking innovation? Perhaps you’re experienced in trying new things and moving in new ways, but you haven’t ever tried anything strange. Truly innovative leaders are often considered strange. Don’t settle for everyday leadership; immerse yourself in Strange Leadership!
Greg gives 40 different ways the Bible teaches us to be strange leaders. Greg pulls from Scripture to illuminate these concepts and, from the words and writings of other leaders, to drive them home. Strange Leadership is practically an encyclopedia on the subject of innovation.
Here is the video content for the book Strange Leadership by Greg Atkinson.
Watch author, Greg Atkinson, explain what Strange Leadership is about.
Greg Atkinson does an interview about his new book with Jason Curlee.
The Bible says to “taste and see,” so here’s a little taste of Strange Leadership.
Remember there are forty chapters and a Conclusion chapter.
Let me say up front this book is full of Scripture. You might get tired of all the biblical references or verses I share in each chapter, but my heart from the start was to teach on a biblical view of innovation. As I travel teaching on innovation, I always say up front our lens for the discussion will be the Bible.
I believe God is extremely innovative. He is the Chief Innovator. It is He who is doing a new thing, as we’ll discuss later. I believe some of the people mentioned in Scripture are some of the most innovative (and strange) people to have ever lived.
You may also notice that I spell Church with a capital C. This is referring to the universal Church (the body of Christ). If I have a lowercase c, then I’m talking about a local church.
This book is a six-year project and is the result of much travel, discussion with thousands of leaders and pastors, and much thoughtful prayer and reflection. Through traveling North America extensively and a couple of third world countries teaching on and discussing innovation and leadership, I came up with ways that innovation can be birthed. This book is a true collaboration project and the fruit of the conversations and ideas of the Body of Christ.
Innovation – it’s a popular buzz word now and a sought-after topic of discussion in conferences, and in both the business and ministry world. Whether the topic is outreach, leadership, worship, technology, or ministry in general, how to be innovative is a desire most Church leaders share.
The dictionary defines innovation as “something new or different introduced” and “the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods.” Some people say the goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better. I think we’d all agree we want to introduce positive change and see our churches and ministries become better.
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? —Isaiah 43:18–19 (msg)
I was chewing on the whole concept of doing something brand-new and decided to look up “new” in the thesaurus. One of the words the thesaurus listed as a synonym for “new” was “strange”—especially when referring to a new approach to doing something. I started thinking about how innovators over the years (both in the Bible and not) were often thought of as strange. Many people thought Noah was strange for building a boat before it had ever rained. Many people thought Jesus, Peter, and Paul were strange. After thinking about it for a while, I discovered innovative leaders are often considered strange and so this book is for you, the strange leaders of the world.
Please know up front, I approach innovation a little differently and try my best to look at it through a biblical lens. Innovation, as we just defined, is the act of introducing something new. God tells us in Isa 43:19 it is God who is doing new things. He’s the Chief Innovator. Something foundational in my own life was studying Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God. In the book, Blackaby teaches when you recognize where God is working, you can join in what he is doing. To me, friends, this is at the very core of being innovative—to be so in tune with God; his dreams become your dreams…
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Break out the dry erase board!
Ideation is the process of forming ideas or images. I’ve found when most church leaders I talk to think of innovation or being innovative, this is what they are thinking of—their brainstorming or creative planning meeting. I hesitated to even include this chapter because my true heart is innovation is about being led by the Spirit, not sitting around thinking up ideas, but I realized God can be in the planning and brainstorming meetings. So I left this chapter in. My only caution to you is to realize this is just one of many ways innovation can come about. Please don’t let this be the only way you practice. You’ll miss out on so much! With this being said, let’s talk about ideation and how it can lead to new ways of doing things and new ideas for your organization.
The Master said: “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it, I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing. Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track. You shut God out and work behind the scenes, Plotting the future as if you knew everything… —Isaiah 29:13–15 (msg)
As I’ve taught on innovation, I’ve said one thing over and over: “Prayer isn’t just how you start the meeting—it’s the meeting.” I think being prepared spiritually is about positioning ourselves or assuming a posture that frees us to respond to God’s activity around us. Remember the Experiencing God concept. Throughout this book, I will talk about the posture in which we should approach something. For the act of ideation, when you gather to plan, dream, brainstorm, and create, you should approach with a posture that will free you to respond to God’s activity around you and follow where He’s leading.
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How flexible are you?
I dare say probably no other of the principles contained in this book can set you up for innovation quite like the principle of adaptation. Now, I’m building on the spiritual chapters on prayer and seeking God—those are primary, but as far as what you can personally and organizationally do in your own human strength, this is king. Having a mindset of adaptation is vital and healthy to every innovative and growing organization.
Simply put, adaptation means adjustment. Every innovative company, organization, and church gets this concept and has set up their systems, structure, and processes to be able to operate with this mentality. In the chapter on organization, I said, “If Rick Warren and Craig Groeschel—two leaders of two of the largest and most innovative churches in America are looking for nimbleness and movement like speed boats, I think there’s some pretty good insight.” Like everything I’ve shared though, this won’t happen by accident.
You have to intentionally and strategically set yourself up to function like this. There’s the word again: intentional. I imagine by now (halfway through this book) you’re either loving or hating seeing the word in print. Forgive me—you’ll see it many more times.
An innovative leader is an intentional leader. —Greg Atkinson
I was watching the TV show Chuck once and the Buy More store manager (Big Mike) asked his employee (Casey) a funny but powerful question. He said, “Are you strong enough to bend like a reed and not break like a KitKat?” Wow. I’d like to ask every church, company, and organization I get the pleasure of consulting with this opening question. I’m afraid too many of us are about to break like a KitKat candy bar.
It’s interesting; Big Mike said, “Are you strong enough…?” You and your organization must work at being flexible, fluid, and nimble. Just like I have to workout, exercise, and stretch daily to be able to still touch my toes, you have to build up enough strength to be able to “bend like a reed.” Throughout this book, you’ll find me using phrases, words, and concepts like “mindset” and “posture”. You as a leader must make up your mind and approach your leadership with the posture of a willingness to adapt when called for.
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Strange Leadership is available now.Purchase
Here are some downloadable resources from Greg Atkinson.
Download this free Team Discussion Guide to go through each chapter with your leaders.
Greg’s first eBook is entitled Church Leadership 101, and has now been downloaded over 28,000 times. In this eBook, Greg shares basic leadership lessons and principles he’s learned over two decades of ministry.
This is Greg Atkinson’s ebook on the ministry of communications with interviews from Kem Meyer, Shawn Wood, Kent Shaffer and Brad Abare. Get it here.
Leadership is one of Greg’s greatest passions and what he writes frequently on. But to lead others, you must first have the discipline of leading yourself well. Here is Greg short ebook on leading yourself.
Here is what some very kind authors, pastors, consultants, college and seminary professors and presidents who read early drafts of Strange Leadership said:.
Innovation is imperative in today’s leadership culture. Strange Leadership reminds us all that innovation is about doing a whole new thing, that ultimately flows from God, the Chief Innovator. Thanks Greg for pointing us back to our true source for innovation and inspiration.
Because leadership in Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom is so different and distinct from the world, it is “strange leadership.” In his book, Greg offers practical and helpful thoughts on leading others as one under the rule of God.
It’s one thing to say to ourselves “let go and let God”- it’s a whole different level when ”Without realizing it we say, “I’ve got it now, God. You can let go of me. I’ll be fine.” Those words and this book is a great call back to know Who’s we are and to have a desperate dependency on the One true source for positive change within our ranks. Greg’s quoting of the word brings root to the seeds that he is helping each reader plant in their ministry. This book stirred me and reminded me that it’s not so much about letting go as much as it is about holding on with a healthy desperation that will catapult you into new levels of God’s “marvelous and wonderful things” for you, your ministry and your leaders.
To be effective, church leaders must be open to innovation. We have to be willing to allow something new to happen in our churches as we seek God’s leading; we have to stay on the cutting edge, so we can be relevant in the world we are trying to reach. One of the best ways to stay innovative is to listen to and learn from those who model biblical innovation every day, like my friend Greg Atkinson.
Strange Leadership is an engrossing and enchanting collection of probes into the emerging field of innovation studies. It is filled with firecrackers, and sometimes even fireworks.
Strange Leadership provides leadership help to teach you how innovation can come about in your life and organization by keeping God at the center and will equip you with practical thoughts to lead with integrity.
Innovation is not a secular concept. At its core, it’s a spiritual concept. And for the Christian leader, it’s in an understanding that our God is the creator God who is still breathing new vision and insights into his people through the Holy Spirit and the mind that he gave us. Greg Atkinson will help you think through your unique situation and the unique triggers and circumstances that God may be using to lead you and your team into the next stage of innovation and growth.
I’m not sure most of us would aspire to be called a strange leader…until I read Greg Atkinson’s book and caught a vision of the rich meaning of that word, “strange.” I applaud Greg’s call for leaders who are prayerful listeners to the often risky voice of the Holy Spirit, and courageous enough to act on those whispers.
Everyone wants be the first to discover the next big thing. We are obsessed with new ideas and products; we love innovation, but Greg reminds us that God is the Great Innovator and listening to His voice is the first step in learning to innovate ourselves. I hope you’ll check out Strange Leadership, because when we make following Jesus our goal, innovation will come naturally.
So many people are fascinated with being innovative these days. Greg reminds us that our focus should rest in Christ and in joining where God is at work. This is a great Biblical view of innovation and something I hope church leaders will cherish for years to come.
For the Christian leader to find success, he or she cannot lead apart from God’s Spirit. Leave it to my innovative friend Greg Atkinson to innovatively connect the two…Christian leadership and God’s Spirit. Of course. We cannot separate the two. Thank you Greg for making us better leaders.
Everything that happens is a result of leadership and decision making by human beings serving God on mission. However where the strength and power of that leadership comes from makes all the difference. We can be making decisions and leading from human philosophy and our own strength or we can turn to the One who gives us wisdom, strength and the ability to lead. Greg helps us see that although it may seem “strange” to lead this way, it is the only way leaders serving Jesus should lead. Lord help us if we aren’t “strange” in this way.
It’s not a coincidence that God chose to introduce himself in the first verse of the Bible as a “Creator.” I believe God puts a far higher value on creativity and innovation than most people believe. That’s why I’m thrilled with Greg Atkinson’s new book. It’s a wake up call to the Church and a powerful reminder that change is here whether we’re ready or not, and whether we like it or not. Leaders – dismiss this book at your peril.
If you throw a rock in the 21st century, you’ll likely hit a self-appointed leadership guru. They seem to be everywhere, and they’ve written a library of books with enough strategies and steps to make one dizzy. Luckily, Greg is not just another guru who has written another leadership book. He sinks his feet into the rich soil of Scripture and keeps his eyes on Christ as he discusses this important topic. In a leadership saturated age, that is something strange indeed!
What Greg has put together for us in this work is a theology of Leadership; a way of leading that begins and ends with the God’s desires and the Gospel. More leaders should form their leadership this way! Greg shows us how. Read this!
Greg Atkinson’s Strange Leadership is strange only because the general populace knows so little of God’s ways. Brimmed full of wisdom from God’s Word, this volume presents the way to genuine success.
Often times, when we hear the word innovate connected to the church, the response is not always positive. Greg Atkinson’s Strange Leadership teaches us, in a very compelling, but practical way, that innovation that helps to produce true life change, can only originate from the heart and mind of the Chief Innovator Himself.
This book deals with one of the biggest issues in the church today… How can our church be innovative and Spirit led at the same time. Are you kidding, the more Spirit led you are, the more innovative you will be. Greg helps us get back to the core of where life changing innovation really comes from…the presence of God. I pray that God will use this book to raise up a generation of Kingdom Leaders who are both deeply spiritual AND strategic. You don’t have to be one without the other.
One of the things I love about Greg is his passion for helping churches. I love the message of Strange Leadership because you can’t follow God by “copy and paste”. Instead, we need His revelation in our lives. This book challenges us to do that!
Innovation for the sake of innovation is never a good idea – it must be lead by the Holy Spirit. And often this makes us appear strange. In this book Greg shares how this type of innovation takes place.
’ve had the privilege to work with many brilliant ministry leaders and church teams as they seek innovative ways to build God’s Kingdom. Human innovation and leadership alone won’t get the job done. Greg Atkinson’s book, Strange Leadership, adds the “missing ingredient” – connecting with the heart and Spirit of God. Leaders from all life domains will benefit from reading this book and applying the timeless principles Greg has written for us.
Innovation isn’t just for Disney and mad scientists. With a strong foundation of Scripture, Greg Atkinson leads us through thoughts on using innovation in the church, using stories from various churches to illustrate. Whether working through everyday situations, frustrations or desperation, leaders are encouraged to color outside the lines of normal, being intentional in seeking God’s best for His church. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves as you put the book into practice … innovation isn’t always pretty!
I like innovative thinkers, but I love innovative doers. Greg Atkinson is an innovative local church doer. He is in the trenches every day of pastoral ministry. He’s been there, done that and still doing it. Every generation of church leaders has to deliver the timeless Gospel in timely ways. It takes intentional innovation from Strange Leaders who are willing to step outside the box, take risks and endure criticism to change the world. Greg’s book will goad and inspire you and your team to be pioneer practitioners but will also give you practical steps on how to innovatively get ’r done.
Many people agree with the concept of innovation, but limit it to a small part of what they do. In Strange Leadership, Greg Atkinson teaches us to stretch innovation to touch every area of our lives. The idea isn’t new—which is why Greg points us back to Scripture over and over to learn from the Greatest Innovator.
Innovation is like breakfast for leaders – skip it for long and you feel the difference. Greg Atkinson has written a great book taking a biblically sound spiritual approach to innovation and leadership. I love the short and quickly accessible chapters — each is packed with insights that will stand the test of time.
Innovation is no longer an option in our world today. We have to innovate. Strange Leadership is a timely reminder of God’s heart for innovation and His desire to lead us in it.
What’s innovation? The act of injecting “newness” into something. Especially into something you thought could never change. In Strange Leadership, Greg makes the profound point that Jesus is the Chief Innovation Officer–because through Him, God is always doing something new. Strange Leadership delivers wisdom in fast-acting, bite-sized nuggets that will fuel your drive to innovate.
here are so many great models of ‘how’ to do ministry in America and the world today and yet – the Church is still loosing! God inspired innovation is absolutely required to turn the tide. This book that will help any leader find the unique ways God wants to innovate through them and lead into the future.
While the message and the mission of the Gospel never changes, churches today have to start thinking more like missionaries on a foreign field instead of being comfortable with the status quo of bygone days. Through tons of conversations with pastors who are actually engaging this culture with the life-giving message of Christ, Greg Atkinson’s Strange Leadership holds that careful balance of timeless truth and godly innovation. A good read to learn what is going on out there.
Greg Atkinson knows church and you can learn about good church leadership here. But more important, Greg knows Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn about Spirit led innovation, this book should be prayerfully read, internalized, and acted upon. You and your ministry will never be the same.
The foundation of leadership is trust. Greg’s book is based on biblical and innovative ideas that are Spirit-led. Strange leaders find direction, wisdom and courage in discovering where God is working and joining Him in bringing about positive change which is essential for effective leadership during challenging times. This book is an excellent resource for Leadership Development that is documented with biblical references and illustrations.
Some books have the power to motivate a person, or a tribe, or a church to do something differently that ultimately charts a new course for the future. Greg’s wisdom about innovation in the church will not only motivate but will act as a guide. I can see this book in the hands of a church staff, a team of volunteers, or a gathering of pastors. What I can’t see is that group of people remaining stuck in the same place for very long. Buy this book and move forward!
True innovation comes straight from God. Greg reminds us of great innovators throughout Scripture and history, and points to the fact that being led by the Spirit is the most “cutting-edge” thing we can do. Follow hard after God and you’ll be innovative.
Innovation and church are two word’s not often used in the same sentence. But church leaders should bring their best thoughts, their best thinking and their best people to the eternally important mission of sharing the Gospel. Following God isn’t stale, and leading His church shouldn’t be either. Greg brings ideas, examples and Scripture together to challenge us all to think bigger.
Good leaders are open to new ideas from the innovators in their lives; great leaders seek to implement new ideas from the greatest Innovator, God himself. In Strange Leadership, Greg shares a vision for cultivating Spirit-led innovation in your church or organization. Full of both inspiration and practical advice, this book is a good read for any leader or team with a desire to be part of creating something new.
Greg Atkinson’s book, Strange Leadership, will be an invaluable help to churches of all sizes. I appreciated Greg’s humble honesty in admitting, “I offer no formulas or magic pills.” but what Greg does offer is a much needed understanding of the science of innovation in a church setting. Of particular interest to me was Greg’s insight into the role that obstacles and problems can play in releasing Spirit-intended creativity. Whether reading Strange Leadership alone or with a group, get ready for your innovation-juices to start flowing.
In Strange Leadership Greg unfolds the many critical aspects of what it takes to be an innovative leader. The pungent mix of practical daily life applications, corresponding biblical examples and personal life experiences makes this a book that is easily absorbed by both novice and veteran leaders. The included action steps make this a book that is a genuine practical guide for those who aspire to be innovative leaders.
Thank you Greg Atkinson for reminding us that innovation is much more than something we DO, and that ultimately it’s something we ARE.
Choose from these three versions of the book.