It is not uncommon for leader to lament the discordance between their outer image, and their inner realities. Sometimes it is even painful. These worlds collide. They have different priorities, different assumptions, and different expectations. More than this, often recovery from adhering to the demands of the external world begins to feel like spirituality. How can we find congruity when our worlds seem so diametrically opposed? In The Leadership Ellipse seasoned leader Robert A. Fryling, publisher of IVP, and Senior VP of IVP fellowship, shares his insights on how we can, and must, reconcile our inner and outer worlds and develop and integrated spirituality. Fryling believes the answer is too develop an understanding of reality that is not pinpointed on specific goals or items, but to embrace the ambiguities and tensions of life similar to the way we embrace the ambiguity and tension of divinity and humanity of Christ as Christians. In terms of leadership this opens up the question of freedom for others, and therefore both the requirement to trust, and to ease our grip on the desire to control our subordinates. As Fryling states, "My experience in organizational life suggests that most of us want structures for others but freedom for ourselves! But without honoring both needs at the same time, organizations can easily become imbalanced or schizophrenic. They become too dependent on structures and control, or conversely too flexible and chaotic." What Fryling therefore suggests is that our lives must be held in tension between these two points and that ironically it is in that tension that we find freedom.
Everyone in a position of responsibility knows the tension of leadership. It may be between tasks or people, money or mission, the present or the future. One often neglected tension is between our inner spiritual longings and the outward needs of the group we lead. But we need not feel forced to choose between the two. Leadership has more in common with an ellipse with two focal points than a bull's-eye with a single target. The Leadership Ellipse is designed to help Christian leaders embrace both halves of the tension--our internal relationship with God and our external relationship with others--to find a truly authentic, integrated way to lead. If you find yourself in a lonely, isolated place of leadership, this book can be your companion. If you find yourself longing to lead in a way that is truly Christian, this book can be your guide. And if you are simply exhausted, then this book can offer you a new way to find refreshment. There is life beyond the bull's-eye.
Robert A. (Bob) Fryling is publisher of InterVarsity Press (Westmont, Illinois) and Vice President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (Madison, Wisconsin). He writes, speaks and teaches in the areas of spiritual formation, leadership, Christian faith and culture. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Alice, an author and spiritual director. Together they have co-authored three books.
Peterson, now retired, was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. In addition to his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible, (NavPress), he has written many other books.
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