We have some copies of Influential to give away, thanks to the generosity of Hodder. If you'd like to win a copy, leave your name in the comments by 19 July 2011. We'll pick names at random after that date. Go on - you've got to be in it to win it!
This might sound like a book about leadership, and it is, but it is more than that. It is also a book about life.
Reading it, I remembered that Jesus invited me into life before he called me into leadership, and the whole experience of journeying with women of the Bible and the present day has reignited my passion to lead diligently. Every chapter includes real life stories from women leading in different ways and in different places, so it feels a bit like the Sophia Network – a supportive community moving together towards more God-inspired leadership. Women from different eras of the Bible come alive thanks to a refreshingly modern and dramatic introduction from the author. It’s like they are real people rather than characters in a book!
And the theology isn’t missing either! Its beautifully built in, so its not hard to swallow, and comes with plenty of humility and helpful advice, and no bitter words at all. Several men are quoted giving insight and support. Scott McKnight suggests that instead of limiting our discussion to traditional debates about women in leadership, we should reframe our questions to ask;
“Do women in your church do what Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Priscilla, Junia and Phoebe did?
Do they do what Mary did?
Do they do what Jesus encouraged women to do?”
Jo writes, “These women had significant influence leading churches, communities, movements and nations! Is our vision still too small, our understanding of our calling still too limited?”
A woman of vision with a heart for mission. And it doesn’t seem to be about world domination either. While she is honest about the struggle towards whole and healthy leadership there is plenty of emotionally intelligent thinking and practice in this book.
Check out these questions:
What do your drinking habits say about you?
What hidden habits do you use in an attempt to satisfy your hungers?
Do you find that you’re tempted to use your sexuality when hungry for influence and power?
Yep there’s not really much wriggle room here… this book offers a way into deeper surrender, and real freedom, as ‘Superwoman RIP’ suggests;
“Would you agree that its time to retire the notion that we can be good at everything, or that we even need to be good at everything? We set ourselves these unbelievably high standards, often fuelled by guilt, fear, comparison and competition, and wonder why life is so stretching. … Could it be that we have bought into an ideal which has become an idol that ensnares us?”
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think this is a really serious book! In some ways it’s an easy read, a pleasure to sit down and consume with a cup of tea, but at the same time it is challenging, calling me to carefully consider how I live and lead.
Throughout each chapter there are questions that help the reader engage with the thoughts of the author so that the experience feels more like a conversation with a mentor. But its not just one mentor, many women and men in leadership offer their reflections at the end of each chapter, so voices from across the world provide further influence and model collaboration and unity.
Full of love, wisdom and vision, these pages are a place to rediscover yourself, your calling and your King.
Reviewed by Claire Farley, who is a schoolsworker with Linx Christian Youth Trust in Devon.