Morse’s book is a Godsend. As a female minister in the throes of church planting, the practical wisdom and exercises she offers in dealing with leadership challenges such as power issues, emotional team players, and my own blind spots are the words of a wise sage I’ve been looking for. I love her book! The illustrations and real-life stories she quotes, coupled with the practical wisdom she offers, have really helped me better understand and realise solutions not only for my own weaknesses which I need to work on, plus how to deal with the challenges that arise from working with others who bring their own.
I particularly appreciate how Morse explains the servant leadership of Christ (a model well recognised in her exchanges with Dr. Ford), which enables the reader to better learn how to deal with power for the sake of the good and well being of others:
“Jesus used his power to invite others into his personal space. Acknowledging the haemorrhaging woman who touched him, touching the leper, calling to Bartimaeus the blind beggar – all are instances where Jesus invited the powerless, the outsider, the desperate into the sacred space around him. The individual was then given status and access to what Jesus had to offer.” [i]
“Jesus never acted small. He wasn’t a shadow who stayed in the background. On the other hand, he never acted big, like a sponge soaking up lots of social space. Instead, he embedded his presence and power in his followers so they might thrive… He modelled holiness not through compliance with religious laws but through love and compassion…” [ii]
Morse explains how Jesus effectively used his power and leadership. He wasn’t working towards His own ends or agenda. He was simply living out His Father’s plan. The love, space and attention He gave to each individual according to their needs is a real example of how to do ministry. It teaches me that success is not about the masses or serving our own goals. It’s not about numerical growth or the success of our programmes. It’s about serving the needs of others, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit to minister to do so. That’s where real ministry begins and real transformation happens.
Morse, who openly admits to once being a shy, introvert woman who used to stay in the shadows, encourages her timid readers to do find the courage to grow and take the stage, just as she has learned to do. As she well explains, staying in the shadows, hiding one’s gifts and contributions, offers nothing to the group at the end of the day, just as much as the over-confident sponge who derails others. I found this particularly helpful, not because I’m shy per se, but because I know I have a tendency to stay in the shadows for fear of making others feel uncomfortable or intimidated.
Morse’s book is not only a great encouragement to leaders who need to grow in certain areas, but is also a wonderful practical resource and full of wisdom. Her insights into the importance of investing in the area of inner preparedness I found especially helpful, enabling me to realise the importance of not only spending time in the area of spiritual attentiveness, but also in the areas of emotional and rational attentiveness too. Being fully prepared for the challenges of ministry, a big part of which includes working with others, is something I really need to grow in. Although I’ve been in ministry quite a number of years, this is the first time I’ve actually had the responsibility of leading a church, and it’s bringing new leadership struggles that I’ve never had to deal with before. I could totally relate, as I’m sure many of us can, to the various ministry meetings, which leave you feeling frustrated. One of my main team players, it turns out, is a very emotional woman with power needs, who I find hard to understand. After reading Morse’s work, I now feel better equipped to be able to deal with such situations.
Overall I found this leadership book such a great help to my current ministry needs and would love to have more opportunities to engage with these kinds of books.