Henri J.M. Nouwen on Christian Leadership

I got to spend some time last week reading one of my favorite authors, the late Henri J.M. Nouwen. I admire his outlook on so many spiritual issues that I decided to check out his views on Christian Leadership which he captured in his small book, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership.

I just could not agree more with his view of Church and Christian Leadership. I’ve done the exact opposite of this at times, against my better judgement. It was refreshing to find a man I admire articulate exactly what I knew to be true all along whether it surfaced or not, and a mindset that I try to live out the best that I can today. We’re all on the same level. We’re all broken, no matter what our titles are. We are all EGRs.

I’m just going to leave this quote here. I have nothing to add to it:

“Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead. Medicine, psychiatry, and social work all offer us models in which “service” takes place in a one-way direction. Someone serves, someone else is being served, and be sure not to mix up the roles! But how can we lay down our life for those whom we are not even allowed to enter into a deep personal relationship?…

“We are not the healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for…

“The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.”



– Henri J.M. Nouwen


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