cover image A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders

A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders

Reggie McNeal. Jossey-Bass, $24.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7879-4288-5

Leadership is less about technique or motivation than it is about the leader's own heart, suggests Southern Baptist denominational leader McNeal in this careful and readable book. Through brief studies of the lives of Moses, David, Paul and Jesus, McNeal elucidates six factors in the shaping of a leader's heart, all of which begin with the letter c. Although somewhat formulaic, this approach yields fresh fruit, thanks to McNeal's well-integrated grasp of both his biblical sources and contemporary psychology and organizational theory. Among his cs are at least three that are rarely explored in more conventional Christian writing on leadership: the role of ""culture"" in preparing a leader for his or her specific ministry, the necessity of having a ""community"" that supports and complements the leader and the importance of ""commonplace"" experiences that happen out of the leadership limelight. McNeal's attempts to contextualize the biblical narratives lead to some moments of ungainly jargon (""Jesus was constantly online with the Father"") and questionable interpretation (""Jesus recruited his initial band of disciples from the business community""), but these are comparatively rare. Christian leaders will find this a valuable primer that invites further reflection; like many primers, however, it would have benefited from a bibliography to guide readers beyond its relatively protected waters. (Apr.)