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In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  8,844 ratings  ·  467 reviews
Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully.

Most widely read among the over 40 books Father Nouwen wrote is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father
Paperback, 120 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Crossroad (first published 1989)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  8,844 ratings  ·  467 reviews

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Mollie Reads
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Glad to return to this foundational book on Christian leadership. It's so simple, but so full of truth bombs.
Jay Hawes
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
The single greatest book on leadership I have ever read!
Kelsey Hansen
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Austin Mcgrath
May 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Sam Myers
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Dan Wolgemuth
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Timeless and rich. Nouwen moves beautifully through the chaos of leadership into the focused simplicity of leading like Christ.
Andy Littleton
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
I try to read this book at least once a year. Essential for all those in Christian ministry.
Jason Fletcher
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Practical. Attainable. Read it. Simply read it.
Brandon Glick
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Julia Smith-brake
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Mike Jorgensen
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, leadership
I read this for a course and admittedly against my will. It starts off a little slow, but there were multiple points throughout the book where I had to stop and admire his ability to articulate things I've always thought, point out things I'd never see, and challenge me in ways I hadn't expected.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Life changing, the most influential book (outside the Bible) I have ever read and may ever read.
Linda Parker
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Appreciated his reflections and notes on servant leadership
Neil R. Coulter
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
After reading Henri Nouwen's The Way of the Heart recently during some times of fasting, I decided to move on to another book by Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus. I liked it perhaps even more than The Way of the Heart. The book is a version of an address Nouwen gave to an event in Washington, D.C., sometime in the 1980s. It's written specifically to Christian leaders, but the content is relevant to any Christian.

Nouwen gazes into the future and imagines what will be most significant for Christian le
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this for the first time several years ago and told myself I needed to read this once a year. Sadly, the follow through wasn’t exactly there, and I never read it again until now, and WOW!

I am reminded why I thought this book so necessary. To be a leader in apprenticeship to Jesus is no easy task, and the call to a downward servant-leadership is not for the faint of heart. In this book, Nouwen reminds me that there is hope for even a prideful, popularity-driven, control freak like me. Nouwen
Evan Hoekzema
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best, most insightful and refreshing books you can read. It is short in length but will get your heart and head reflecting on leadership, ministry and life. Nouwen speaks from a place of humility and love, this is a must read!
Jess Debanné
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A concise, convicting and helpful tool for Christian leaders. I think we ought to read it annually!
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short book was excellent. Well written and thoughtful, the questions it raised are impactful, especially for those in Christian ministry. It was enjoyable and thought provoking.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From relevance to prayer, from popularity to ministry, from leading to being led. Simply expressed yet incisive and rich in its wisdom. A book I’ll return to often.
Ben Moser
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Valuable— a book to be pondered and read many times over
Brandon Stiver
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful little book with some timely and insightful guidance for leaders. Very easy and very quick read that gives a good understanding of the temptations that leaders face while pointing Christians to Christ’s example. There are some wonderful lessons in this book that I will revisit.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A gift from a friend a few years ago. I wish I had read this then. A bit like Eugene Peterson's The Unnecessary Pastor.
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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...” 38 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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