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June 5th, 2015

Church Uncorked: Leadership That Releases Our Potential

Church Uncorked (Cover)

A must-have challenge to traditional leadership which so often results in huge talent and potential being overlooked. In its place is offered a dynamic bottom-up, people-centred model leading to a fizz of exciting initiative and creativity.

Jesus – extraordinary leader, lazy or just plain lacking? Have you ever thought that, having done an outstanding job rising from the dead, He suddenly made a huge leadership mistake? He leaves the disciples – who still really have no idea what’s going on – with nothing but the mysterious promise of the Holy Spirit, puts His tools down, walks off the job and disappears back to heaven.

Or so it appears. The truth is he knew exactly what he was doing but did nothing we might reasonably have expected.

And what we might have expected is too often mirrored in the way we lead our churches.

In the light of this Church Uncorked challenges the traditional top-down model of church leadership and asks: Why do we lead the way we do? Is it working? Is it as biblical as we think it is?

This is the focus of the first part of this book which takes a long, hard look at the way we have been leading and organising church, asking what the Bible might be saying and proposing a different way of doing things.

It suggests an alternative bottom-up model where vision comes not from the top but from everyone. Drawing on lots of case studies it calls for a release of the wealth of untapped talent and potential that often goes unnoticed and provides hard evidence that this approach works.

Part two looks in detail at some of the practical skills, practices and thinking that the authors believe will be helpful to leaders working in this new way and serves as a toolkit for church growth as more people are released into their gifting and potential.

‘Leadership is not about writing the music, auditioning and directing the whole show and keeping everything nicely organised,’ says co-author Catherine Cowell. ‘Instead it is about releasing people and helping them discover what they want to play in God’s great redemptive jamming session.’

Church Uncorked is meaty, drawing richly on literature and research in the field, yet it is an easy and engaging read. There are plenty of stories to hold your interest and its lively wit will cause you to laugh-out-loud.

‘Things might appear upside down for a while,’ says co-author Sean Kennedy, ‘but hopefully while you are hanging there you might find Jesus looking at you eye to eye and smiling because upside down is really the right way up.’


What reviewers say:

‘This hugely engaging book … offers a transformational leadership approach that is relevant to all walks of life and communities.’

Dr Barbara Workman, Higher Education Consultant, National Teaching Fellow, Dip Coach Mentoring.

Very readable, refreshing, provocative, extensively researched, rightly disturbing!  Their challenge is relevant and will not just go away.

Bishop Michael Whinney, Honorary Assistant Bishop, Birmingham Diocese.

‘Well written, earthed in personal experience, Informed by living faith and motivated by love for people and the church’’

Rev Gordon Crowther, The Church of the Holy Spirit, Cape Town, South Africa.

‘Catherine and Sean bring hope to Christ followers who felt they had nothing to offer, or had been discounted and written off, giving them new confidence and purpose.’

Rev Francis Rutledge, Christ Church, Bangor, Northern Ireland

‘The authors have done a huge amount of research, talking to countless church attendees and church leaders and drawing examples, so you can feel confident in their conclusions…

Isobel Webster, Associate Pastor, BA Theology, ICC Dip, MBTI® Practitioner,     Cottage Beck Café Church, Scunthorpe,


About the authors:

Catherine Cowell: Catherine is passionate about enabling people to reach their potential. To this end, she works with individuals, leaders and organisations and spends quite a lot of time having coffee with people. She is a professional leadership and personal performance coach and also runs workshops. Catherine’s leadership experience comes from both the church and the National Health Service, where she was a speech and language therapist and managed a department. She was leader of Church Without Walls, where she now coaches and facilitates, for several years.

She is married to Andy and is adoptive mother to two wonderful boys.

Sean Kennedy: Originating from Northern Ireland, Sean is a personal performance coach, leadership coach and Myers-Briggs® and DiSC practitioner and workshop trainer. Sean trained in counselling before moving into coaching and personal development. An encourager at heart, he is passionate about releasing people’s hidden and often underrated potential.  He began his working life as an engineer working in the National Health Service, industry and education before moving into the charitable sector.  Sean is married to Helen and is interested in science and comedy — he has even performed his ten-minute set at two shows at the Edinburgh Fringe!

Together, Catherine and Sean have established Refuel, which provides coaching and training to leaders, churches and other organisations and individuals. They help people to discover and move into their life calling and lead in a way that releases the potential of those around them.

Church Uncorked: Leadership That Releases Our Potential is published by Instant Apostle and is available online & from bookshops.

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