Top Ten Quotes: Canoeing the Mountains
Tod Bolsinger’s Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory is a book that many a leader has tackled over the last few years (at least according to my social media feed and “best books of the year” lists).
While there are a few drawbacks – over-reliance on one or two particular “adaptive change” researchers, and under-reliance on the work of the Spirit within the leader and the church – Canoeing the Mountains is overall a good read.
Originally published in 2018, Canoeing‘s timeliness in navigating leadership in a post-pandemic world is pretty striking. Pick it up, mine a few principles, and enjoy the ride.
Here are my top ten favorite quotes:
- …any person who is willing to take personal responsibility, convene a group to work on a tough problem and persist in the face of resistance is a leader.
- [When you] are in uncharted terrain…what you do is default to what you know. You do again, what you have always done before.
- What does leadership look like in a post-Christendom day when we have left behind rivers filled with the waters of shared Christian culture and are facing a new terrain marked by mountains to climb? Ironically, it looks a lot like the earliest church leadership.
- In this new post-Christendom era, the church leader will be less a grand orator or star figure who gathers individuals for inspiration and exhortation, and more a convener and equipper of people who together will be transformed as they participate in God’s transforming work in the world.
- Nothing changes until there is a change in behavior. Nothing has changed until people start acting differently.
- …people need to experience the love of God as they are led into the mission of God. If they don’t feel loved, they will likely not let anyone lead them anywhere.
- The most critical attribute a congregation must have to thrive in uncharted territory is a healthy organizational culture.
- A church can say that it values hospitality, discipleship and transparency, but these become part of the DNA of the church only when they are so resiliently present that they happen automatically, by default, because all aspects of the organizational life reflexively support and reinforce them.
- Leadership is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.
- Start with conviction, stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.
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