The genesis of Dan Ebener’s new book came from a conversation he had with retired Bishop William Franklin, the former leader of the Diocese of Davenport.
Ebener, who has been social action director for the diocese, was discussing the structure of the diocese with Franklin when he asked this question: “How do you measure the life of a parish?”
Ebener turned that query into a research project, a dissertation for the doctorate degree he earned several years ago, and, now, the book, “Servant Leadership Models for Your Parish.”
The central belief is that leaders can emerge from any level of a church, and the book focuses on the behavior of leaders, not necessarily on the leader’s position.
As an example, Ebener talks about a fellow who arrived 15 minutes early to a service. This man noticed the church door was off its hinges, so he returned to his pickup truck, grabbed a toolbox and quickly fixed the door before he continued into the service.
Leaders, Ebener said, might criticize the man for getting involved in something that wasn’t his business or they may embrace the man’s actions as more active participation in the church.
All royalties and proceeds from the book will be given to charity. The book is dedicated to three friends who, Ebener explained, died too soon: Jeff Cottingham, in 1993, and Jim Weller and John Kiley, both in 2009.