Attentive Church Leadership: Listening and Leading in a World We've Never Known, By Kevin G.Ford and Jim Singleton

Attentive Church Leadership

Listening and Leading in a World We've Never Known

by Kevin G.Ford and Jim Singleton
Foreword by Ed Stetzer

Attentive Church Leadership
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: April 02, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0664
  • ISBN: 9781514006641

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The world has changed. The changes around us present daunting challenges to the church, and we minister in places we have never been in before. But there are no one-size-fits-all solutions because every church needs to attend to its specific situation and calling. We need to listen for not only what to do but also what not to do. In a world screaming in a thousand directions for our focus, it's essential for us to become attentive to God, our congregation, and our community.

Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton call for attentive churches with attentive leaders who can discern cultural and organizational change and pivot accordingly. Healthy transformation starts with a posture of attention. We need to see what God is already doing in our midst: in our own soul, in our people, and in the communities and culture around us. Chapters explore key questions that attentive leaders ask and offer case studies of attentive churches that have navigated the issues and transitions facing them. As we practice habits of attention, God leads us through the highs and lows of change into the exciting adventure of being on mission with him.

"The world today is a strange place indeed. In this book, Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton describe our reality and then provide a wealth of wisdom for listening and leading in a fresh, Christ-centered way. Full of real-life pastoral experiences and proven insights, this one book can serve as a reliable guide for both the ministry leader and the church to faithfully make a difference and thrive as a community in this rapidly changing world. It should be read by every pastor and elder."

MaryKate Morse, author, leadership mentor, and professor at Portland Seminary

"With insight (and lots of stories!) borne of their own work consulting, leading, coaching, and teaching leaders across the country, Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton offer us Attentive Church Leadership, which exhorts church leaders to discern and truly pay attention to what matters most in a deeply disrupted, often anxious, and rapidly changing world."

Tod Bolsinger, cofounder of AE Sloan Leadership and author of Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change

"We live in a fast-changing world. The leadership principles I used when I was a church planter are no longer relevant in today's world. Technology has advanced rapidly, and the Covid-19 pandemic changed the scorecard of leadership. Churches and leaders must be attentive not only to the changing reality of the world but also to the ways they respond, adapt, and lead in the midst of those changes. In their new book, Attentive Church Leadership, Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton provide a great resource for church leaders of the twenty-first century, providing essential insights to help them navigate the rough waters of church leadership in this generation."

Eddy Aleman, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America

"Pastors will be encouraged and educated to understand and respond to real-world situations. This is not a book of theory but of the practical realities of church life. It lays out for the reader a number of valuable constructs to help deal objectively and personally with the diverse challenges leaders currently face. I encounter more leaders than ever who give more time and attention to conflict resolution, leading themselves, and the specific challenge of developing community in a polarized world. You will find honest and vulnerable help here."

Ed Stetzer, dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, from the foreword

"Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton are faithful, experienced leaders in Christ's church who bring unique, insightful understanding into the rapidly changing nature of today's cultural landscape. For the overwhelmed pastor with little time for grasping a wider view of the world, this book provides a wonderful grid for asking the right questions and responding biblically to the churches they lead."

David D. Swanson, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

"Brilliant, beautiful, and nourishing, Attentive Church Leadership invites you to drink anew of Christ's living water and shows how your church can become a wellspring of God's transforming grace in the world."

Ken Shigematsu, pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of God in My Everything

"The spiritual practice of paying attention—to what God is doing and what is going on both inside and around us—is hard and holy work. Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton are wise guides on the road to church leadership and sustainable, Spirit-filled ministry, reminding us that the care of our own souls is key to leading a healthy organization. I will be recommending Attentive Church Leadership far and wide!"

Courtney Ellis, pastor and author of Looking Up: A Birder's Guide to Hope Through Grief

"Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton serve as a prophetic voice to challenge us to the same awareness that Paul had in Athens, but within the context we find ourselves in today. Attentive Church Leadership will help us all understand that a commitment to the radical transformation of society does not mean that Christians must oppose everything about society, but we need to approach society as if it is God-unaware. Reading this book leaves me wanting to become more attentive to members of my community to make them more aware of Jesus Christ and his kingdom!"

Alan Platt, founder and leader of the Doxa Deo / City Changers Movement

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Ed Stetzer
Introduction: What Does It Take to Thrive in a World We've Never Known?

Part One: Becoming an Attentive Leader
1. How Did We Get to a World We've Never Known?
2. How Do I Become an Attentive Person?
3. How Do I Manage Anxiety?
4. How Do I Increase My Trust Quotient?

Part Two: Leading an Attentive Church
5. Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?
6. How Do We Create Community in a Narcissistic World?
7. What Is Our Ethos?
8. Are We Entitled or Engaged?
9. How Do We Facilitate Real Transformation?
10. How Do We Pass the Torch?



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Kevin Ford

Kevin G. Ford (MDiv, Regent College) is the chief catalyst of Leighton Ford Ministries. He was the cofounder of TAG Consulting, which he and his partners sold in 2019. Kevin's areas of expertise include leadership, organizational culture, and strategy. He has facilitated the development of over five hundred strategic plans throughout North America with clients including Fortune 500s, small businesses, and government agencies. But his passion has always been for the church. He has spoken publicly to thousands of people around the world and is in constant demand as a facilitator and speaker. His books include Transforming Church, The Leadership Triangle, and The Secret Sauce

Jim Singleton

Jim Singleton (ThD, Boston University School of Theology) is a coach and discipler at Leighton Ford Ministries. He has been both a longtime Presbyterian pastor (San Antonio, Austin, Spokane, and Colorado Springs), and professor of pastoral leadership and evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Jim is one of the founders of ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians, which sponsors the Flourish Institute of Theology, where Jim also teaches. He lives with his wife, Sara, a pastor and spiritual director, in Spokane, Washington.