A Work of Heart

A Work of Heart, by Reggie McNeal.

Overview

To understand how God forms spiritual leaders, we should learn from the examples of Moses, David, Paul and Jesus in the Bible.  Moses gained much from his “wilderness experience.”  David had a clear sense of divine destiny.  Paul was gripped by God’s grace and Jesus was intent in his divine mission.  A leader’s culture, call, community, communion conflict and commonplace intersect and intertwine to tell the story of God’s molding them.  We must be aware of our cultural background, our current cultural values and respond with intentionality.    Second, we must discern God’s call on our lives.  God seems to be calling a “new kind” of spiritual leader, the apostolic leader who is missional, creative and holistic.  Third, we should pay attention to our families of origin, our current families and the surrounding issues that bring joy and pain to our lives.  Friendships are vital.  Fourth, we should spend plenty of quality time communing with God for our spiritual lives to be vibrant.  There are a variety of ways to deal healthfully with conflict in our lives, all of which can lead to further spiritual growth for all involved.  Finally, spiritual leaders increasingly see God in the commonplace, not just the extraordinary.

Critique

McNeal is easy to read, and his illustrations are frequently interesting, poignant and insightful.  I get the impression that he would be a great speaker.  Further, I think I would benefit from him as a mentor, as well.  However, many of the insights seem to me to be obvious, passé or elementary.  I rather think that I am not part of his intended audience.  For example, while I agree with most of what he says in the chapter on Culture, it comes as no surprise to me, and I actually think he is “behind the times” (even for 2000).  Nonetheless, he hits on some important points in the development of spiritual leaders, and his section on discerning the call of God is very practical and helpful.

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