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In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  11,945 ratings  ·  571 reviews
Alternate cover for ISBN 0824512596 / 9780824512590.

In the Name of Jesus is Henri Nouwen's bold, honest, and heartwarming message about Christian leadership. According to Nouwen, Christians must give up their desire to be powerful and embrace authority based on prayer and forgiveness. His emphasis on a vigorous Jesus-centered life will be helpful to ministers in training a
Paperback, 107 pages
Published 2002 by Crossroad Publishing (first published 1989)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  11,945 ratings  ·  571 reviews

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Mollie Reads
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad to return to this foundational book on Christian leadership. It's so simple, but so full of truth bombs. ...more
Jay Hawes
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Nouwen's writing is so powerful! Humility just drips from every word. He desires, more than anything, that Jesus would be more so he could become less. I was so impressed with this little book on leadership.

He challenges the reader:

1. Do you want to be relevant? Pray more.

The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God's love. (30)

2. Do you want
Shawn Enright
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
1. The Christian leader eagerly enters into mutually transforming relationships of co-suffering love with those she leads. This relational model is distinctly Christian, because it would otherwise be inappropriate for, say, a psychologist and her client to have this sort of mutual vulnerability—even though both the Christian minister and psychologist intend to provide forms of healing.

2. The Christian leader actively resists the temptations of becoming relevant, spectacular, and powerful. She re
Molly Heald
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great reminder about keeping your eyes out for the temptations found in leadership: relevance, popularity, and power. It provides great action steps to take when facing these temptations, and is a really humbling reminder that most of what Jesus asks of us is simply “do you love me?”
Grace Anne  Cochrane
brb, crying at the love of Jesus.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through the lens of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, and his commissioning of Peter at the end of John's gospel, Nouwen sets a trajectory for Christian leadership. He wrote this book after leaving academia for L'Arche and one of the best parts of the book is his description of how Bill, a developmentally disabled man, shared in Nouwen's ministry in presenting this material in Washington, D.C.

Nouwen questions contemporary leadership culture and the chasing of relevance, popularity and power.
Mark Stevens
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The single greatest book on leadership I have ever read!
Kelsey Hansen
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most powerful books I have read! As a period of consistency, and even a little bit of comfort comes to an end, I am realizing more of who I am and who I was created to be. This book helped me connect the dots, and somewhat make sense of how to navigate transitional moments and times. I often forget my call to be vulnerable and to continue to go into spaces that force me to be uncomfortable. As organized ministry may die down, having a heart for knowing Jesus more will not. Jesus is af ...more
Sam Myers
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this book twice as I sat with it on the beach these past couple of days. I would read each little chapter (probably 4-6 pages each of large type in my version) first just to get a sense of it and let it hit me in the ways it needed to, then go through again to underline, meditate, and rest with what Nouwen was saying. This was an excellent book and a wonderful experience - both affirming and convicting, daunting and welcoming. It's strange to say this, but this little book overwh ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read, and I cried again. This is such a beautiful, concise, and revolutionary sermon/reflection on the heart of Christian leadership (or, really, just Christian life in general). Nouwen is brilliant, but his interactions with Bill leave the lasting mark (as Nouwen fully acknowledges!).

The Christian leader, Nouwen asserts, must reject the temptations of relevance, individual heroism, and power, and instead embrace the sacrificial love of Jesus as a way of life. The temptations are battled thr
Austin Mcgrath
I had to read this for a group in my church, There are some biblical truths in this book, however nothing new or unordinary. In this book he makes some cringy/questionable statements like "we have to be mystics" "we have to be the incarnation" and abandons some definitions of words similar to Rob Bell. Like bad definition of what a mystic actually is or what theology is. He also claims theologians find it hard to pray. If you want an excellent book on Christian leadership I would not recommend t ...more
Bill Russell
Fr. Nouwen is masterful. He presents a version of Christian faith that is very different than the evangelical American brand I learned. It is rich and true to Jesus. His advice for leaders in this century is profound. The only slight thing that bothered me was the notion that Nouwen was sacrificing much by living among the profoundly disabled. The rewards of such a leading always outweighs the cost.
Glenn Wishnew III
Everything you’d expect if you’ve read Nouwen before. And in just that way, it is fresh and vibrant with the Spirit of God.
Kate Moore Walker
Simple and deeply impactful if taken to heart.
"In the Name of Jesus" describes the temptations every Christian leader faces, argues that they are indeed temptations and not assets, then gives practices for combating those temptations.
"God asks us to move from a concern for relevance to a life of prayer, from worries about popularity to communal and mutual ministry, and from a leadership built on power to a leadership n which we critically discern where God is leading us and our people."
What No
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an okay book, 2.5 stars I'd give it. It started off with me bracing myself to roll my eyes because my last outing with Henri Nouwen went pretty horribly (see my Life of the Beloved review). After getting over my initial trepidation, I actually got my hopes up that this book would be a catalyst for some deep soul work after reading a very thought-provoking and challenging chapter! Unfortunately, the next chapter put a damper on that hope, and for the most part a lot of my issues with Nou ...more
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After literal decades of hearing and seeing Henri Nouwen quoted, referenced, and read out loud, I am glad that I have now actually read one of his books! This book did focus pretty specifically on leadership, so I think I would have even more takeaways from a longer or broader text, but I really appreciated the insight shared, and I can easily see why his thoughts and words are so foundational to the modern Christian movement. I especially liked his focus on the temptations of Jesus, as it was a ...more
Matt Allhands
I try to read this yearly - and something different jumps out at me every time. After a year of struggle this quote is haunting takeaway:

“Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are readymade to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly.”
Jacob Aitken
Extended meditations on Jesus's temptation and Peter's restoration. Warns against the danger of "needing to be relevant." Great suggestion that ministry should be done in pairs (like the way Jesus sent out the 70). ...more
Shannon O'Toole
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My roommate gave this to me for Christmas, since I just started working as a college campus minister this past November. I've been struggling a lot, especially in the midst of the pandemic, and this book hit me with a lot of hard, but beautiful, truths. Highly recommend for anyone who is in any sort of ministry or leadership position in the Church, even if just as a volunteer. ...more
Jake Griess
Aug 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1989 and if every Christian leader had read it, the church would look totally different than it does today. Really enjoying Nouwen’s books/getting a peek into a very intimate relationship between God and a believer.
Andy Littleton
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think all Christian leaders should read this. Seriously! It will take you an hour, and it will be an hour surprisingly well spent.
Jeff Schroeder
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I try to read this book at least once a year. Essential for all those in Christian ministry.
Caleb Breedlove
Jun 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book.

Simple yet dense. Yearly read definitely. Nouwenknows how to say much without much fluff. I really enjoy his writings. Looking forward to the next book of his to read.
Jason Fletcher
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical. Attainable. Read it. Simply read it.
Brandon Glick
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It is very short and doesn’t waste words. Nouwen is so genuine. An excellent book on leadership and really for anyone.
Jim B
This is just a brief (one hour) reflection written because Nouwen was asked to speak about Christian leadership "in the Twenty-First Century."

It's a puzzling assignment given to a priest who lived in a community of people with disabilities for the last decade of his life (he got the assignment about year 3 of that decade).

I related to the author because the book is about caring for people over other agendas, and it is focused on Jesus, using the two stories of the temptation of Christ and Jesus
Ben Andrews
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Nouwen is concise and brief yet ever-profound, filling his deceptively short chapters with insight that are worth continual thought and reflection long after the book is closed. In this book, Nouwen's wisdom helps us to evaluate the way in which we engage our leadership responsibilities and perceive subtle temptations and obstacles that prevent us from growing. He then offers Biblical insight into ways that we can find spiritual life in our ministry, allowing us (and those we serve) to ...more
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it as a succinct and true treatise on Christian Leadership. A whole bunch of books have been written about "servant leadership," and many of them have been given to me over the years. Now I know where the other books were drawing inspiration. This one doesn't say too much or too little, and the incorporation of Nouwen's personal stories make it authentic and memorable. ...more
Julia Smith-brake
A wonderful short book that is so inspiring, as Nouwen always is. The essence of the book is summed up in one sentence, “I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.” (p. 17)
Tanner Hawk
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: April 11, 2019

After reading this book for the third time I had to bump my rating from four stars to five. This book always gets me where I need to be got. Reading it is like a drinking deep from a cup of crisp, cool water.


August 11, 2018

Nouwen is the man. Super helpful book for anyone in any form of Christian leadership.
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Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of

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“The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation...” 39 likes
“The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.” 17 likes
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