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Book Release: Refreshed

Interview by Taashi Rowe
Published 12/4/13

Raj Attiken, who will retire at the end of the year as president of the Ohio Conference, recently wrote the monograph Refreshed: A New Paradigm for Church Leadership. For more than 10 years, Attiken and his team have practiced the principles outlined in the monograph with “intended outcomes and unintended consequences,” he says. He put pen to paper at the urging of fellow leaders in North America who noticed those results.
 
Q: What has kept you involved in Adventist ministry for 40 years?
A: The abundant grace of God! God kept opening doors into futures that I could not have orchestrated or imagined. I have enjoyed the freedom of learning and growing and the privilege of exercising ministry in creative ways.
 
Q: Tell us about this new leadership paradigm.
A: We believe that people and organizations thrive and flourish when they are in environments of love, trust and freedom. People rise to their highest levels of service, productivity and performance in environments that support creativity, innovation, risk-taking and have a high threshold for failure. The dominant model of leadership in the church requires that people be good followers—able to take orders, follow instructions and implement the programs and campaigns launched by the denomination. The model we foster requires that people be leaders who are able to discern and discover what God wants them to be and become in their unique contexts, and pursue it with integrity.  
 
Q: What inspired you and your team to take a new approach to leadership in the Adventist Church?
A: We recognized that the church has not adapted its leadership and organizational paradigms to the rapid pace of evolving needs and opportunities. The church has, in fact, been left far behind by change. Our leadership models have been locked up for decades. We also discovered the relevance for our time of the principles by which God governs the universe. We wanted to explore what it might look like if we modeled our leadership after these principles. 
 
Q: Does this sort of leadership style really work?
A: Along with the change in paradigm, we also established a new set of metrics to assess progress and success. (We list these in the book!) One of these metrics is whether we are hearing an increasing number of stories of lives transformed by the power of the gospel. We hear these stories in churches across the conference.
 
Q: Who is this monograph written for? 
A: It was written for current and future leaders who may wish to examine a paradigm of leadership that is different than what is commonly seen within the Adventist Church.
 
The book, which has been translated into Japanese and will also be translated into Russian, can be found at the Center for Creative Ministries.


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