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3 December 2019

Book review – Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

By Tod Bolsinger

Downers Grove: IVP, 2015, expanded edition. ISBN 978-0830841264. 250pp.

Reviewed by Eunice Au

What do you do when you realize the objective you were aiming for is completely unattainable and actually totally inappropriate? This is the exact challenge the Lewis and Clark expedition team faced when they reached the Rocky Mountains and discovered that, not only was there no easily navigable waterway from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, there was no continuous water route at all! This book engagingly addresses the question of Christian leadership in uncharted territory, provides solid principles for devising answers to this question, and supplies a study guide to help readers respond when facing their own leadership challenges.

Tod Bolsinger combines lessons from Lewis and Clark’s exploration, present day examples, and his scriptural passion for the mission of Christ to offer leadership principles for facing situations that are unlike anything that had been anticipated or previously experienced. He helps the reader understand and meet the challenges of uncharted territory and shows the value competence and credibility have in establishing a baseline of trust for those who are lead. As he demonstrates, leaders must acquire new skills when their road leads in wildly different directions than expected.

You will find this book helpful whether you lead change because of organizational responsibilities or are discovering a need to adapt practices because previous training doesn’t work in your current context. I found this book an engaging read with a good balance of real-life examples and biblical concepts that helped me grow both in my capacity to face challenge and in my willingness to embrace an “adventure-or-die” mindset.