Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Review: Making Room for Leadership

MaryKate Morse's Making Room for Leadership (2008, InterVarsity Press) explores how body language communicates leadership status. Dr. Morse's professional credentials and leadership experience provides her with the necessary critical insight for such a book; she is a professor of leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox Evangelical Seminary who has planted two churches with leadership teams. She also serves as a mentor to church and parachurch leaders.

Using personal illustrations, analogies, and leadership research she documents how people gain or lose the ability to influence others. Particularly helpful is her discussion on how embodied power can be used for good or ill among Christians. She challenges the often popular notion that power is a bad thing, and she convinces her readers about what should be obvious (though many Christians are put off by the notion): if you really want to impact a situation, you must have power.

Thankfully Morse leaves room for the Holy Spirit's powerful influence as well, documenting cases where personal power seemed lacking, yet servant-leaders still influenced situations that needed strong leadership. Her ability to discuss both the physical and spiritual realities for Christian leaders in a manner that refuses to settle for trite statements (all too common in much of the popular literature on Christian leadership) makes her worth reading.

Recommended for thoughtful readers who are interested in connections between faith and leadership, this would make a nice Christmas gift or a resource for the new year.

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