Leading Without Power: 9 Paths Toward Non-Coercive Ministry Leadership


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Hierarchical, coercive leadership should have no place in the church.

But if we move away from those unbiblical (and ineffective) forms of power-based leadership, we still need to lead. In Leading Without Power, Mark Oestreicher explores—in very pragmatic ways—what it might look like for us to replace power-based leadership modalities with other approaches.

Leading Without Power unpacks nine metaphorical job titles, with stories and examples of what it looks like to embody these mindsets and practices:

  • Competency Facilitator
  • Culture Evangelist
  • Mission Curator
  • Storytelling Host
  • Champion of Hope
  • Uniqueness DJ
  • Contextualization Czar
  • Trust Guard
  • Collaboration Guide

Read it alone or collectively, with a leadership team (volunteer, staff, or both), looking for ways that different team members can utilize their passions and gifts to build a robust and flourishing culture of people development and values-based leadership.

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About Mark Oestreicher

Mark Oestreicher is a partner in The Youth Cartel, which provides resources, training and coaching for church youth workers, and the author more than 70 books, including Hopecasting: Finding, Keeping and Sharing the Things Unseen. You can read Marko’s blog at www.whyismarko.com.


Every once in a while Christian leaders need a voice like Marko’s to jolt them back to the reality that how they lead should be a reflection of what they believe about Jesus. It’s ironic. Since Jesus was all-powerful, he could have easily leveraged his power to influence a generation. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to lead from a perspective of love and empathy. Leading Without Power challenges every leader to turn up the humility and turn down the ego if they hope to have lasting influence with this generation.

Reggie Joiner | @reggiejoiner
Founder and CEO of Orange
Author of Lead Small

There’s a time and a place in every person’s life and ministry when they will choose how they will lead. It’s my hope and prayer that more pastors and ministry leaders would see the power that is theirs to hurt or to heal. Marko has written a book that describes much of what we long to see and gives us a place to begin as we make these subtle yet empowering shifts together. This one is a must read.

Brooklyn Lindsey | @brooklynlindsey
Justice Advocate, Nazarene Youth International
Author of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls

I have had the privilege of watching first-hand the profound impact Marko has in the groups he works with. With no positional power, his leadership invites transformation, freedom, and empowerment of those he serves. In Leading Without Power, we get a peek into the process that has made such a difference in the lives of so many in ministry. Marko’s cohort work through The Youth Cartel has been an ideal laboratory for Leading Without Power, making this one of the most “real” leadership books you will ever read.

Mark DeVries | @markdevriesyma
Founder of Ministry Architects and Permissionary at Ministry Incubators
Author of Sustainable Youth Ministry

Sometimes in the church, we find a leadership book that tweaks our perspective on leadership and catches us up to the reality of leading in today’s world. That’s what Mark Oestreicher has done with Leading Without Power. It’s not the usual leadership book, because it’s not theoretical. It’s 100% immersed in first-hand experience leading current generations. Every leader should go through this and ask some great questions about what leading looks like right now.  It’s so incredibly helpful, not only for youth leaders but all leaders.

Dan Kimball |  @dankimball
Pastor of Mission & Leadership, Vintage Faith Church
Author of They Like Jesus But Not the Church

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Additional information

Weight .33 lbs
Dimensions 7 × 5 × .33 in

Page Count


Year Published

1 review for Leading Without Power: 9 Paths Toward Non-Coercive Ministry Leadership

  1. Jen Bradbury

    A few years ago, I participated in one of The Youth Cartel’s Youth Ministry Coaching Programs, which was a great investment in my leadership development. Among other things, I loved getting to rub shoulders with great youth workers and learning from Mark Oestreicher. During the cohort, Marko talked often about leading without power. Marko’s talks on this subject were always thought-provoking, so I was thrilled when he decided to write a book on it.

    Marko’s Leading Without Power: 9 Paths Toward Non-Coersive Ministry Leadership is a fantastic, short read. In fact, don’t let its small size fool you. It’s packed with wisdom that every youth worker, (really every leader), needs.

    In Leading Without Power, Marko explores how to “lead with influence but not coercion or manipulation.” In his words, “Power-based leadership has no place in the church.” Having been in youth ministry for 15 years in three different contexts, I completely agree.

    Marko argues, “Church leadership needs to move from a paradigm of control to one of facilitation. In this context, facilitation means identifying and nurturing competencies.” According to Marko, these competencies include a culture evangelist, mission curator, storytelling host, champion of hope, uniqueness DJ, contextualization czar, trust guard, and collaboration guide.

    As you can tell from their titles, these roles are not typical leadership roles. They require imagination and a willingness to dream. Yet, they also have the potential to shift an organization’s culture in large and small ways, something that’s important because as Marko says, “One of the most important skill sets for a 21st-century leader is the ability to lead in the area of culture creation.”

    In a time when my congregation is facing a transition, Leading Without Power was a gift to me. It encouraged me to lead well, regardless of how much power I have. It also gave me concrete tools to be able to do so. It reminded me that “leading without power means that we act as a host, creating spaces and environments where values-laden stories are told, where key moments in our history are re-told, where imaginative stories about our future are dreamed.”

    Leaders of all kinds will find Leading Without Power helpful. Its thought-provoking, discussion-worthy content would also make it an ideal book to discuss with a team of leaders who could then begin dreaming and envisioning a new way to lead together.

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