Monday, February 8, 2010

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton

Pages: 228

How it was obtained: I bought it from

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 6 months.

Days spent reading it: 4 weeks.

Why I read it: It was recommended by my senior pastor.

Brief review: I find leadership books hard to read. They vary so much in how directly they relate to my own life or ministry. Sometimes a book hits you right where you are at, but for me leadership books hardly ever do that. I found the same problem with this book. At times I felt like the book had a good piece of advice or an interesting way of looking at leadership. Other times I felt like this is not yet my experience, maybe when I am older. Or I just said to myself: This will most likely never be my experience.

In Strengthening the Soul, Barton explores the life of Moses and how his life is a model for Christian leadership. There are good times, there are tough times, and there are times that he wants to throw it all away. I found a number of her discussions helpful and insightful. She has a lot to say about how leaders need to be keyed into how much they are doing and how much they are resting. A healthy word for many in ministry.

Of all the things I appreciated about this book though, was the fact that it introduced me to the writings of Ted Loder. Poems from his collection Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle are prominently featured in this work. I do not usually go for poetry, especially when quoted at length in a book. But I found his poems spoke to me. I found them so refreshing I looked forward to the end of the next chapter so I could read some more of his wonderful words. Definitely a book I will be picking up in the near future.

I would recommend Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership to other leaders and pastors, but only because I know it has been read and appreciated by people in a different part of life than I am. I think there are powerful words in the pages, and sometimes I caught a glimpse of them. But overall I seemed to be missing large pieces of the picture.

Favorite quote: "No matter how much one spiritualizes it, Christian busyness must not be confused with the Christian spiritual life or with a Christian's experience of God."

Stars: 3.5 out of 5.

Final Word: Untimely.

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