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Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry
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Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  135 reviews
"I'm tired of helping others enjoy God." "I just want to enjoy God for myself." With this painful admission, Ruth Haley Barton invites us to an honest exploration of what happens when spiritual leaders lose track of their souls. Weaving together contemporary illustrations with penetrating insight from the life of Moses, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership explores to ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published July 6th 2008 by IVP Books (first published June 6th 2008)
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Eddy Ekmekji
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! She dives into the life of Moses and extracts lessons of leadership and spiritual formation. I read this book very slowly ( a chapter a week) and feel compelled to re-read it because of her insights and my desire to get that much more out of it. Highly recommend it!
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Barton encourages spiritual leaders to lead out of who they are from God's presence, their true authentic self (soul) rather than a false, broken self. She discusses practices of solitude, listening to God, discernment, isolation, intercession, and other points while using Moses' life for a template to discuss principles of leadership. This is an excellent book, very thought provoking. Would be great for discussion and any pastors, ministry leaders, church administrators, and even people in the ...more
Jo Ann
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book and resource. I always appreciate the way Ruth Hailey Barton keeps it practical and has guides for reflection and prayer along the way.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some very good thoughts but a bit too long for me. Good use of Moses as leadership figure! Had not thought about a lot of these points.
Brianna Seeberger
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, leadership
Insightful, powerful and truly life changing. Knowing the importance of little things in your faith and how those aspects build your leadership is essential to guiding others in faith. She breaks down the struggles of Moses into those of everyday leaders in the modern era that are relatable and mind-blowing. A must read book for leaders of tomorrow.
Matt Garm
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The final chapter of this book is fantastic, and moves my review from 3 to 4 stars.
Rob O'Lynn
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you are in leadership, you NEED to read this book. I was, again, delightfully impressed with Barton's writing style and content. This is a wonderful follow-up to her previous work Sacred Rhythms, an introductory text on spiritual formation. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership builds upon Sacred Rhythms in that now Barton is applying spiritual development specifically to leadership. However, having not read her previous book is not an issue. Barton lays plenty of groundwork throughout t ...more
Michele Morin
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Encased in a body that you recognize in the mirror, your soul is the “you” that’s always been there peering back from your reflection. It’s the part of you that infuses all the roles you play (parent, spouse, friend, leader, employee), and it’s what makes those roles uniquely yours. Your soul is the place where you and God meet–or where the empty spot resides when you are sensing God’s absence and wishing things could be different.

Chances are if you live in the crucible of ministry, you’ve given
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me too long to get around to Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry. I am a Ruth Haley Barton fan and I've read several of her books: Invitation to Solitude and Silence (IVP 2004), Sacred Rhythms (IVP 2006), Life Together in Christ (IVP 2014). While there are tons of authors who explore the realm of spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation, Barton has a special gift for combining an evangelical sensibility with contemplative spirituality. ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book could have been retitled easily as “Leadership Principles from the Life of Moses”. Barton has masterfully mined nuggets of practical wisdom and truths from the greatest patriarch of Israel for today's Christian leaders. Overall, this book hits all the right spots on “strengthening the soul of your leadership”. The “Practice” and poem sections at the end of each chapter are very well thought out and reflects Barton's experience as a spiritual director.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those in leadership positions. Those who want to deepen their walk with Christ.
When I first starting reading, it took me a little while to get into the book. The more I read, the more I liked it. Learning how to connect more intimately with God will help us connect with that which will help us to lead others more effectively.
Cristine Braddy
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book!!! I will read the story of Moses and the Israelites differently. She brought to the surface the struggles Moses faced and at the same time brought the struggles of my heart to the surface. I will definitely read this again.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that should be sipped and taken in a bit at at time. It is densely packed with wise reflections on leadership brought partially out of the biblical account of Moses and partially out of the author's personal successes and failures in leadership.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Barton connects the journey of transformation with leadership in an articulate, enlightening way. Leadership is a crucible which reveals the true self for those with the strength, honesty, and endurance to be willing to do the inner work required for transformation.

She offers great insight on the potential development of our dysfunction as leaders as well as the actual step-by-step process God uses to bring about change, revelation and healing of our dark sides, and ultimate transformation in o
Michael Eckhardt
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this is probably my favorite leadership book I've ever read, largely because it's aimed at being the kind of person who can actually be a spiritual leader, and has very little to say about models or strategies-- except for the strategy of being a person who has truly been touched and shaped by God.

That's what Barton calls "leading from the soul," from the place where you've encountered God. The book is loosely arranged around the story of the life of Moses, Barton's invitation to leader
Jaymee Pilarta
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read about Moses' relationship with God I am filled with longing, and it is not the longing to get somewhere—although there are always new places to get to. It is the longing to be a certain kind of person. A person who knows God. A person who is faithful against all odds and does not shrink back. A person through whom God can perform whatever deeds need to be done—mighty or otherwise—but also a person who can be just as content settling down beside a well or sitting on the side of ...more
Brandon Stiver
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm so thankful for this book. I read this book at a time where I really needed the message and Ruth Barton has such a masterful handle of the material and it's presentation. The highest praise that I could give this book is her ability to articulate into words emotional and spiritual truths that the readers could never articulate themselves and that tap into the corresponding area of the soul that needs to be enlightened. Honestly, I would liken her to C.S. Lewis' ability in that regard. Just i ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The theme of the book is that true leadership requires solitary times with God. I really resonated with the beginning of the book, which emphasized this theme, because it's really true of life in general, not just leadership. But as the book progresses - it looks at the progression of Moses' life as an example of what's required in different stages of leadership - it becomes increasingly geared towards those in leadership positions at churches and organizations, in particular those needing to ma ...more
Adam Houser
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a very timely book for me to read. Haley Barton writes in an engaging and personal way. I felt cared for and challenged by this book. One major takeaway is the idea of prayer as holding someone up in the Holy Spirit. We do not always have words for how to pray for someone, but we can come into the presence of the Holy Spirit and bring the person we are praying for into that presence as well. I read this with a group of ministers, which was good to reflect together on the topics in this ...more
Margaret Hamilton
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book - perfectly dovetailing with Ken Boa's book about living in the presence of God. I was not familiar with Ruth Haley Barton, but it has whetted my appetite for more, and I ordered two more of her books. A wonderful portrayal of the life of Moses, so much so that I am going to go back through the book and make notes in my Bible. A call to God, for God's presence itself, and then living life and leading out of that.
Kat Anundson
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This- "the soul is like a wild animal- tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy. It knows how to survive in hard places. But it is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush. If we want to see a wild animal, we know the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out." And then the rest of the book goes on to explain why lead from your soul and how
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think I need to go back to read this book a second and third time to savor what I’ve learned about the health of my soul. The first read I just realized how much I don’t know about myself and how to take care of myself. I learned this while reading and plan as I said to reread and also read other books by this author.
Nicholas Varady-szabo
Barton takes a very poetic approach, and uses Moses story as a springboard to exploring leadership in this book. At times she is profound, at times her points were over my head. Undoubtedly she has experienced and witnessed both the joys and tragedies of Christian leadership, and so writes with authority on the topic.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As always, Ruth Haley Barton is an excellent writer and really digs down deep into the heart of the matter. She takes us through the journey of Moses until his death as it parallels the life lessons of a leader. I was especially blessed by the chapter on the calling. For any spiritual leader, this book is a must read.
Cheryl Boyd
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A leadership book with a contemplative perspective. This book is a rare gem. It resonated with me and challenged me in my leadership journey. I highly recommend it. It is great material to go through together with other leaders. It will encourage depth and honesty. It will surface leadership stories that will encourage even deeper learning and unity.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve often wondered why our faith communities struggle with good godly leadership. This book opened my eyes to several aspects I hadn’t thought of before. Using the life of Moses as a guide, the author shares truths about the inner life of a spiritually strong leader.

Definitely a book I’ll refer to in the future!
Luke Koskinen
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Is it possible for a leader to have encountered God so richly that no matter what we are working toward here on this earth, we know we already have what we most deeply want— the presence of God, that which can never be taken from us?” Fantastic book about the joys and challenges of pastoral leadership. I’ll remember much of what I read and will be returning to this one regularly.
Grant E. Dawson
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect for my sabbatical from ministry. Would highly recommend to anyone in Christian leadership who is facing fatigue/burnout and needs to reconnect with their soul.

Gave it four stars instead of five because there were some chapters that I would have rather just skipped while others were amazingly helpful.
Michael Owen
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Came to me at an important time in my life in which I was assessing my own path and leadership. I appreciated Barton's "retreat" approach to the book, allowing it to flow like a personal or group retreat - or like a leadership coach.
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Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founding president/CEO of the Transforming Center, a ministry dedicated to strengthening the souls of pastors and Christian leaders, and the congregations and organizations they serve. For over twenty years, she has ministered to the soul care needs of pastors and leaders based upon her conviction that the best thing we bring to leadersh ...more
“Parker Palmer observes, "A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what's going on inside him or her self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” 3 likes
“Only those who have been brave enough to ride their own monsters of anger and greed, jealousy and narcissism, fear and violence all the way down to the bottom will find a truer energy with which to lead.” 2 likes
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