Give Up the Purple
A Call for Servant Leadership in Hierarchical Cultures
It would seem that every culture on earth has a propensity towards controlling and authoritarian leadership – at its very core, the human condition has a desire for control and self-determination. In this book, Julyan Lidstone uses his decades of experience in western and central Asia and, most importantly, the authoritative teaching of the Bible, to shed light on issues of authoritarian leadership in honour-shame cultures.
Gifted young leaders are gathering new believers in Jesus all over the world but the prevailing culture of domineering leadership is the single greatest obstacle to the healthy growth and firm establishment of these new churches. Lidstone winsomely and accurately applies the servant leadership modelled by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, as revealed by Scripture, as the cross-centred antidote to the pain, damage and disillusionment caused by leadership that does not reflect the Christlikeness of the kingdom of God.
Few books on leadership dare to address the dark sides of leadership and speak about the pathological symptoms evident in leaders whose leadership styles are shaped more by their culture than by biblical principles of servanthood and Christlikeness. Healthy and mature churches are led by healthy and mature leaders, and in one sense, leadership growth is more important than church growth. Give Up the Purple highlights the issues that unconsciously motivate many leaders to act in such a way that would damage the church and tries to address issues in the mission field that are rarely discussed. Reflecting on issues raised by this book will have a great impact on the future of Christianity in many regions which are experiencing phenomenal church growth.
Rev Robert Aserian
Head of Leadership Development, Pars Theological Centre
I have thought long and hard about challenges facing leaders in the Majority World. To my knowledge no one has addressed my concerns and presented biblically grounded solutions to them as well as Julyan Lidstone has in this book. Not only does he challenge unbiblical aspects of leadership seen among Christians today, he also shows how our collectivist culture can harmonize beautifully with the Bible to forge healthy and dynamic leadership styles which are both biblically faithful and culturally appropriate.
Teaching Director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka
Author, Discipling in a Multicultural World
An excellent read! Julyan Lidstone has woven together years of cross-cultural experience, deep biblical insights, and practical applications. Julyan challenges and instructs the emerging church across the Muslim world to renounce patterns of worldly leadership and embrace the counter-cultural example of Jesus who pioneered and perfected the servant leadership model.
Missionary Author, A Wind in the House of Islam
Executive Director, Global Gates
This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to develop biblical leaders. With clarity and insight, Lidstone presents a biblical perspective on leadership in patron-client cultures. Christians have long misunderstood the concept of patronage leadership. Give Up the Purple offers not only a clear assessment of the issue, but practical steps for developing biblical leaders in Majority World cultures.
Author, The 3D Gospel
This book is required reading for anyone who has received the call of God to serve. Whether in the church or in the field, spiritual leadership is crucial to ministry. The author’s quiet but piercing insight offers many salient lessons to Christian leaders of patriarchal cultural backgrounds. Anyone today who dreams of becoming a leader should read it, reflect upon themselves, and ask for the grace of God.
Rev Johnny Jaiheung Song
Executive Director of Mission, Korea Evangelical Holiness Church
I believe that Give Up the Purple will be an immense help to the global church in navigating some of these complexities. The excellent work done on issues such as power, privilege and patronage add significant depth to the debate. I want to encourage leaders in all parts of the world to read and discuss this book with their leadership teams, as I think it will contribute greatly towards the acceleration of the gospel in some of the most difficult places.
Advisor, Movement for African National Initiatives Leadership TeamChair, Majority World Christian Leaders Conversation andWorld Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission
Give Up the Purple is a well written and carefully researched book that objects the lofty attitude of the self-idolizing leader who models an authoritarian pursuit of honor, titles and prestige. Instead, it reintroduces the readers to adopt the concept of heathy patronage – a lifestyle that goes back to the biblical root of true servant leadership using Jesus and Paul as ultimate examples of leadership who gave up their “purples.” This book helps me to understand the tension of hierarchical cultural and biblical values in leadership that are so evident and pertinent in my culture. It teaches me how a godly patron conducts himself.
International Executive Director, Operation Mobilisation
One often overlooked aspect of honor-shame cultures is the emphasis on hierarchy. Social status and authority go hand in hand. What does the Bible say about leadership in such a context? Julyan Lidstone’s Give Up the Purple is a thoughtful response to this question. He examines the examples of Jesus and Paul, who depict healthy patronage relationships. Informed by his many years of cross-cultural experience, Lidstone suggests ways to apply Scriptural insights in ministry. This short work promises to catalyze much-needed reflection on a critical topic for the global church.
Author, Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes and One Gospel for All Nationswww.JacksonWu.org
Table of Contents
- 1. Leadership Problems
- 2. Patron Problems
- 3. Paul in Corinth
- 4. Paul in Philippi
- 5. Jesus and Patronage
- 6. Jesus and His Disciples
- 7. God and Authority
- 8. Leadership Redeemed