Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton

One of the challenges church leaders have faced is the idea that a business model of leadership works in the church.

Quite simply it does not.

To choose leaders based on their ability as a secular or business leader is erroneous. A secular or business leader does not make a good spiritual leader. To sit down at a table as part of a church leadership requires a completely different set of gifts and a different approach. One very important gift required in spiritual leaders is that of spiritual discernment.

This is what Ruth Haley Barton attempts to navigate leaders towards in Pursuing God’s Will Together.

Her basic thesis is that we must regain a view that church leadership is spiritual and that leaders must therefore be spiritual. It may sound obvious, but in many churches and denominations people have lost sight of this truth. What does spiritual leadership look like? It begins with leaders actively and deliberately seeking God and leading from a position of godliness and a desire to DO God’s will, both in their own lives and the life of the church.

There are no major ‘new’ revelations in Barton’s book. What the book does well is to frame the issue of spiritual leadership and discernment within the context of community. While you can read this book and benefit from it as an individual,the most effective way for the insights of this book to be mined is through group interaction, reflection and discussion. Barton’s purpose is to bring leadership teams together. She does it well.

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