Canoeing the Mountains

canoeing the mountainsI’m currently reading a fantastic book on leadership by Tod Bolsinger: Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.

I imagine in past years I would have steered clear of such books, mainly because I would have seen them as a bit too business-oriented. However, what has drawn me to this book (other than it being a part of my doctoral studies) is that it’s centered in the primacy of relationship, while giving keen insights on Christian leadership. It still recognizes that there are business aspects within a Christian organization (though Bolsinger calls it biology over and above business), but there is much more insight here than “how to run a Christian business.”

Just a brief introduction to the main thrust of the work.

The thesis of the book is how to lead in the midst of uncharted territory, especially in an ever-changing, 21st century. In particular, Bolsinger uses the account of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (and their charge to find the Northwest Passage) as a template for understanding five vital lessons that Christian leaders need to learn in order to lead in uncharted territory.

Those five lessons are:

1. Understanding uncharted territory: The world in front of you is nothing like the world behind you.

2. The on-the-map skill set: No one is going to follow you off the map unless they trust you on the map.

3. Leading off the map: In uncharted territory, adaptation is everything.

4. Relationships and resistance: You can’t go alone, but you haven’t succeeded until you’ve survived the sabotage.

5. Transformation: Everybody will be changed (especially the leader).

So, if you’re interested in some reading around Christian leadership – especially in the realm of not-yet-explored territory – I would highly recommend this book. Such great insight!

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