Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

I have finished reading (carefully, this time) Ruth Haley Barton's latest, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry. She observes that Moses, who "did not have a good day in his life," found his leadership strength through his times of solitude and silence with God. From his calling in the solitude of keeping sheep to the regular retreats to the tent of meeting in the wilderness, Moses found his strength and direction from God. Her psychological hermenutic, although pressed in some passages, holds up as she intreprets Moses' leadership strenghts and weaknesses.

Her call to the "sacred rhythms" of solitude, silence, and sabbath challenged my own do-something-you-can-clean-up-the-damage-later tendency toward ministry. I confess her assessment that pastors speak a better game of solitude with God than practice it hit home. I agree with her conclusion that in leading people on mission with God and in spiritual matters is different than leading a business or organization. The issues of leading people to follow and encounter God requires optimum time with the One who called them to lead with Him in the first place. I appreciate the fact she does not try to justify what she gleans from the biblical record with current leadership theory or practice in the marketplace.

Her examples of leading and experiences of leadership ring true to those I have experienced while leading people on mission with God for over twenty years in the same place. My experiences do not validate the truth of her insights, but I can tell you from my perspective she knows of what she writes and what she offers to other spiritual leaders.

I can recommend this book to any leader in ministry. It's not for the business person looking for ways to lead like Moses in the marketplace. Spiritual leadership seldom translates into that arena; and, vice versa, I am coming to believe. Her message is for those of us who sense God's calling on our lives to lead others to Him and in His ways. If you will walk with her through the pages of this book, you will find some solutions to the leadership issues you face.

Have you read it?

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