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A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  28 reviews
A Leadership Network Publication

Spiritual leaders must become experts in matters of the heart. They must learn to discern God at work in their own lives, shaping their hearts to embrace the particular ministries to which they are called. A Work of Heart shows how God prepares leaders today just as he did in biblical times-and how God creates these leaders in order to shar
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 24th 2000 by Jossey-Bass (first published March 2000)
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Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
McNeal, in his admirable attempt to observe and identify the qualities of great spiritual leadership biblically employs the narrative of Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul as case studies for behaviors, circumstance, and disciplines worthy of interpretive emulation. The success of this projected is unfortunately undermined by what I perceive to be preconceived notions and characteristics of leadership that McNeal too often imposes onto the characters he is using as evidence. Eisegesis creeps in far t ...more
Andrew Roycroft
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a stimulating and thought-provoking examination of the internal work required for leaders to live and lead effectively. The key strong points are the author’s original and compelling character portraits of biblical leaders, along with the chapters to conflict and commonplace. There are fresh and stunning nuggets of wisdom scattered right across the book. One weakness is an insistence on the ‘apostolic’ model of leadership, which felt a bit monotone, but this is more a matter of emphasis ...more
Israel Desta
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author does a good job of highlighting key areas with amd through which God moulds us to be spiritual leaders. There are insightful and biblical comments on each area. I would have liked to see more sysytematic look of these area within the bible stories he shared. Furthermore, i was hoping that the author concludes by saying that spiritual leadership is for every christian. It seems like the author believes it is only for select people, which i don't agree with. ...more
Ingrid O.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quote: “Leaders in touch with heaven can move earth”
― Reggie McNeal, A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders

What I liked most: The author’s challenge to leaders! It really pushes and stretches the reader to step out of their comfort zone and really evaluate their motives for service! I love how he used the lives of Moses, David, Paul and Jesus to us as a model we should follow.

What I liked least:

Rating: 5
Thomas Christianson
Written in 2000, it has some insights which are useful today, and other parts which have not aged well (the comparisons between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are a notable example). As a bonus, I found the enormous humblebrag in his preface hilarious since the whole book is about being a spiritually and emotionally healthy leader.
David Gamble
I REALLY enjoyed this. It called me on my crap, asked challenging questions, and gave me a roadmap to do better. I plan to revisit it, maybe several more times, as I dig a lot deeper with myself and resolve whatever I find there. Great, great book for people in spiritual leadership of all kinds (though it does have a Christian slant).
Jason Canfield
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Good book on leadership and the various facets God uses to shape our hearts. The author uses the biblical figures of Moses, David, Paul and Jesus as a narrative backdrop. Not as Christocentric and gospel oriented as I had hoped, but worth the read.
Tyler Timmer
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great explanation of what changes our leadership and how as well as how to overcome that and serve God.
Belle Schaffer
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book— practical applications to your leadership. I really enjoyed and will revisit the reflective questions at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book.
John Gardner
Feb 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
In theory, this should have been a good book. It had endorsements from a lot of prominent leaders, and it’s premise is very interesting. The author breaks the book up into two parts. In the first, he examines the leadership style and qualities of four Biblical leaders: Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus. In the second, he applies what was gleaned from these leaders to our own lives, breaking these qualities down into six alliterative (he is Baptist, after all) categories: Culture, Call, Community, Co ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bob by: Teresa Turner
Shelves: religion
I've read very few self-help books, but this one seemed well thought out, organized in a way that made the suggestions memorable, and posed practical exercises. Little of it was uniquely relevant to spiritual growth or leadership, as his vocabulary, often drawn from business, politics and the military, makes clear. This is reasonable enough, but what disappointed me was the American Protestant assumptions underlying the whole. McNeal assumes the reader knows what to do to follow God's plan for ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. Had a few issues with it getting too real for me but I like books that challenge my mind and my heart.

I have a lot of earmarked pages and a lot of underlined stuff.

Reggie starts out with the stories of Moses, David, Jesus and Paul. We walk alongside them through their lives and consider all that went into preparing them to lead.

Reggie then asks us to consider their subplots: culture, call, community, communion, conflict and the commonplace and how each of these areas impac
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Great book for anyone in leadership. I was required to read this book for my internship with Young Life, but it has been one of the most insightful books for me to read about being a leader. Specifically how God shapes the hearts of Leaders too. I would also add, that this book definetly has the voice of corporate America. I had to read some leadership books for being a CEO type and the way they talk about being a spiritual leader is almost the same as a CEO of a fortune 500 company.
Patricia Mayer
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book has some pretty sound theology and shows how God shaped early leaders of the church. Through the book you explore Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus and see how God shaped each of their hearts to be a leader in ministry. The last part of the book leads you as you examine the same factors and how God is shaping you to spread the Gospel.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book gets to the heart of what it means to be a servant-leader. I really like the way the author uses Biblical leaders to help the reader understand both positive and negative traits of a spiritual leader.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christian leaders
Recommended to Susie by: Paul Richardson
A great book on how the losses, trials, and difficulties of life and ministry are all part of what God uses to form Christian leaders into disciples of Christ who can be effective in service. A wonderful book to read and go through with fellow leaders.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
The author demonstrates through the lives of Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus how God shapes a leader in the context of their culture, call, community, communion, conflict, and the commonplace.
A refreshing break from practical how-to books.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was an intriguing with good insights for any person in leadership of any sort. I especially found the section on communion very helpful in my own life. A lot of life lessons can be learned by reading this book.
Courtney Huskisson
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
So good! Gets to the heart, and develops the core of a leader. Highly recommend.
Mar 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christian leaders
Shelves: leadership
Helps Christian leaders take a look inside so they don't become another haggard. ...more
Amy Young
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
read again Jan 09. Good stuff.
read again Jan '10 -- good reminders for a difficult season of life.
Feb 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: leadership
good stuff.
Karla Goforth Abreu
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
McNeal writes with conviction and gives the reader more than just information. I recommend this book to those in any type of ministry.
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any Christian leader.
Gary Pettet
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent summary of how the Lord uses our circumstances to shape us for ministry!
Cindy Moyer
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was a very good book. Could only read a section at a time as there was a lot to think about in each section of the book.
D Laudolff
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2013
Erin Lou
rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2017
Erik Engström
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2020
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Reggie McNeal enjoys helping leaders pursue more kingdom-focused lives. He currently serves as a senior fellow for Leadership Network and city coach for GoodCities. In his consulting and speaking, Reggie draws on his experience as a pastor, denominational leader, seminary teacher, and leadership development coach for thousands of church leaders across North America and the world. His books include ...more

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
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“Leaders in touch with heaven can move earth” 4 likes
“The new and needed apologetics will differ from previous apologetic models geared at convincing people solely or even mainly from a rationalistic perspective or that begin with biblical authority. People want to see spiritual power demonstrated by transformed lives expressed in community. This is the hope people harbor. They will respond to a spiritual belief system that delivers at this point. Jesus said that the proof f discipleship to the world would be his followers’ love for one another
(John 13:35). Early observers were drawn to the Christian movement exactly for this reason (Acts 2: 44-47). Love expressed through community still transforms people and creates an attractive and compelling invitation for others to join up.”
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