David's Reviews > In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

In the Name of Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
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's review
Aug 02, 2007

it was amazing
Read in August, 2007

This is an enjoyable and short book. Nouwen uses his experience going from a prestigious job ministering at Harvard to working among mentally handicapped people to teach us what he has learned about dealing with the temptations Christian leaders face. He takes the three temptations of Jesus in the desert and uses them to frame the discussion, recommending a discipline for each temptation. The main chapters are, "From Relevance to Prayer," "From Popularity to Ministry," and "From Leading to Being Led."

While short, this book is wonderful. I was both challenged and refreshed by the winsome but powerful narrative.

A few brief quotes:

From the introduction: "...I woke up one day with the realization that I was living in a very dark place and that the term "burnout" was a convenient psychological translation for a spiritual death."

"The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success, and to bring the light of Jesus there."

"The central question is, Are the leaders of the future truely men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God's presence, to listen to God's voice, to look at God's beauty, to touch God's incarnate Word, and to taste fully God's infinite goodness?"

"Through confession, the dark powers are taken out of their carnal isolation, brought into the light, and made visible to the community. Through forgiveness, they are disarmed and dispelled and a new integration between body and spirit is made possible."

"...the Christian leader thinks, speaks, and acts in the name of Jesus, who came to free humanity from the power of death and open the way to eternal life. To be such a leader, it is essential to be able to discern from moment to moment how God acts in human history and how the personal, communal, national and international events that occur during our lives can make us more and more sensitive to the ways in which we are let to the cross and through the cross to the resurrection."

"The task of future Christian leaders is ... to identify and announce the ways in which Jesus is leading God's people out of slavery, through the desert to a new land of freedom."

I recommend this book -- if for nothing else than it will focus your attention on the calling of a disciple of Jesus and provide encouragement in practical ways to know Him as an individual and in the body.

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