Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

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  • 14th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year, Leadership

Explorers Lewis and Clark had to adapt. While they had prepared to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, instead they found themselves in the Rocky Mountains. You too may feel that you are leading in a cultural context you were not expecting. You may even feel that your training holds you back more often than it carries you along. Drawing from his extensive experience as a pastor and consultant, Tod Bolsinger brings decades of expertise in guiding churches and organizations through uncharted territory. He offers a combination of illuminating insights and practical tools to help you reimagine what effective leadership looks like in our rapidly changing world. If you're going to scale the mountains of ministry, you need to leave behind canoes and find new navigational tools. Now expanded with a study guide, this book will set you on the right course to lead with confidence and courage.

About the Author:

Reviews:

"A superb book on the need for adaptive leadership in the twenty-first-century church. With imagination and insight formed through his experience as a pastor, church consultant and seminary leader, Tod Bolsinger challenges leaders in the Christian community to recognize the unsettling reality of being 'off the map.' We have 'trained for a world that is disappearing.' Bolsinger offers fresh, practical advice that integrates the best of leadership theory with the realities of church leadership, illustrated with vivid metaphors and real-world examples, resulting in a seminal book on how to navigate this new world. A must-read for everyone interested in church leadership." (Uli Chi, former board chair, Regent College Board of Governors)

"Contemporary pastors and church leaders face a daunting challenge. The world and the church have changed dramatically. Congregational expectations have never been higher or more complex. How can we lead our churches with wisdom and kingdom impact in the ever-changing world of today and tomorrow? Tod Bolsinger answers this pressing question in his timely book Canoeing the Mountains. Combining solid biblical theology, contemporary leadership theory and years of experience as a pastor and church consultant, Bolsinger offers a new vision of pastoral leadership as well as dozens of practical examples that bring this vision to life. All pastors and church leaders need to read this book, for their own sake, for the good of their churches and for the advance of God's kingdom in the world." (Mark D. Roberts, executive director, Max De Pree Center for Leadership)

"Since the missional church discussion began to develop real momentum, the constant question has been how does this theological vision of the church after Christendom translate into the practice of real congregations struggling with enormous challenges? A great deal of excellent work has been done, and there are excellent resources for the community and leadership seriously committed to missional change. But Bolsinger's book is a major step forward. It is based on solid missional theology, rooted in concrete congregational experience, shaped by provocative research of many diverse voices and communicated energetically and creatively. Most importantly, it is shaped by theologically informed hope, not just optimism, and takes the risks that must be taken for the sake of faithful witness today. I strongly commend this book!" (Darrell L. Guder, Henry Winters Luce Emeritus Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary)

"As a committed practical theologian, Bolsinger blends the best insights from Scripture and leadership theory with an empathetic understanding of the most pressing questions of today's leaders. If you're like me, you're not only going to want to read this book, you're going to want to read it multiple times." (Kara Powell, faculty member at Fuller Seminary, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute)

"Combining the mind of a scholar, the heart of a pastor and the experience of a consultant, Tod Bolsinger is the rare leader who can also teach. Using the example of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, he also authentically shares from his own experience, both positive and negative, to make the most important concepts in organizational leadership accessible to pastors, nonprofit executives and Christians in the marketplace who are charged with giving leadership in a changing world. Canoeing the Mountains should be required reading in seminary classrooms and leadership seminars. I know it will be for the pastors and leaders we coach." (Kevin Graham Ford, principal of TAG Consulting, author of The Secret Sauce)

"Canoeing the Mountains is a must-read for pastors and church leaders who want to understand the precarious religious landscape in America today. Seasoned pastor Tod Bolsinger draws on his experience as a church consultant and student of contemporary leadership theory in order to tackle the most pressing ministry leadership issues of our day. Employing Lewis and Clark's experience of exploring the Louisiana Purchase as a driving metaphor for the leadership that is needed in the church, Bolsinger issues a bold challenge to contemporary pastors to learn how to lead all over again. With refreshing honesty and vulnerability about his own ministry, Tod does not allow the reader to wallow in discouragement over the fact that the world in front of us is different than the world behind us. Instead, he insists that this time in history offers pastors and church leaders an unparalleled opportunity to discover a deeper capacity for leadership within ourselves than ever before. He issues a clarion call 'not to try harder, but to start a new adventure' by abandoning our 'canoes' to become risk-taking mountain climbers. I am going to recommend this book not only to the hundreds of pastors in the Macedonian Ministry program, but also to church leaders across the country. Canoeing the Mountains gave me hope for the future of the church of Jesus Christ. I pray that it will do the same for you!" (Thomas K. Tewell, executive director, Macedonian Ministry)

 

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