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Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Narrative, Metaphor, and Chaos (ēmersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 2007
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From the Inside Flap
EXCERPT FROM CATALOG We live in the midst of an emerging postmodern milieu. This is a new world that seeks to bring the heart and soul and body back into contact and balance with a modern mind that is not just dangerously enlarged but nearly detached. Out of this environment a different imagination is starting to emerge. As it does, a new language set is developing that is artistic, intuitive, prophetic, and poetic. This language set and the new kinds of competencies that are beginning to assert themselves in response to this environment are doing so not in terms defined by the categories and structures of the former world (modernity) but in ways that are new--and, in many cases, ancient. When the time comes for God to do something new within a culture that has grown stagnant or unresponsive to his movement, God often moves from the margins of that culture. We see this kind of shift illustrated in the narratives of Scripture where more often than not the margins are symbolized by the woman and the child: Moses and his mother, Ruth and Obed, Hannah and Samuel, Mary and Jesus. Because systems and structures rarely surrender their power, the woman and the child are often vulnerable and endangered. They seem insignificant, even bothersome or contemptible, and yet wiser men than I sensed a change in their world two thousand years ago. Rather than sit ensconced within their controlled worlds, they set off to find the source of this change: a babe lying in a manger, on the margins of society. New wineskins emerge to make space for what is happening as the old often burst, unable to contain what is fresh and new. New systems and structures must emerge to release the kind of imagination and creative thinking I have been describing.
From the Back Cover
The world is changing. To make an impact today, churches need to discover new ways of leading that embrace intuition, creativity, narrative, and the chaos and tension of our time. Tim Keel offers a theologically grounded, thoughtful, and practical exploration of how intuitive leadership can help the local church embrace contemporary opportunities and challenges. This important contribution to the emergent church discussion will help you find the freedom to explore the possibilities and empower your church for our postmodern world. "Tim Keel writes with the eye of an artist, the heart of a pastor, the mind of a philosopher, and the hope of a visionary. His intuitions will inspire your own, and his voice will add so much to the conversation about what is emerging in our lives, churches, and world."--Brian McLaren, author, speaker (brianmclaren.net) "Tim Keel has written a fascinating and engaging book that will quickly become both a starting point and a standard bearer for thinking about leadership in the emerging church."--John R. Franke, professor of theology, Biblical Seminary "Deeply personal and human in its approach, Intuitive Leadership both charms the mind and informs the heart. The result is a wise and gentle tracing of the contours of postmodernism that is as healing as it is liberating."--Phyllis Tickle, contributing editor in religion, Publishers Weekly "Read Tim Keel's book. Let it invite you to connect with your stories, the markers along the road that have been shaping you so far. Let it permit you to give voice to your questions."--from the foreword by Alan J. Roxburgh, vice president, Allelon Canada Tim Keel is the founding pastor of Jacob's Well, a growing church in Kansas City, Missouri, and serves on the board of directors for Emergent Village. He is passionate about creating spaces for people to connect to God, themselves, others, and the surrounding world.
Top customer reviews
THESIS OF THE BOOK: There are no leadership silver bullets. Today's effective leader will influence followers in the context of narratives (biblical, national, ethnic, familial, individual, etc.), embracing the tensions of intuition, creativity, and chaos to follow the Holy Spirit wherever He leads.
PART 1 ("Entering Story") uses stories to demonstrate the validity and need for a narrative paradigm. Keel paints a succinct history of the enlightenment, modernity and post-modernity, asserting that even the assertion that we have no story is really a story. Narrating his story and that of Jacob's Well, Keel asserts that we have "failed to engage God, ourselves, and our world faithfully for the sake of the gospel" by failing to live a truthful narrative.
PART 2 ("Engaging Context") explores the radical engagements of faithful, communal discipleship: the contextual, theological and structural aspects of using intuition, creativity and chaos. Using another's approach can leech God from ministry. Instead we must follow God's lead.
PART 3 ("Embracing Possibility") encourages us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit by allowing "life to grow naturally out of the environment in which it exists" rather than by imitating the latest fad or best practices from a mega church. This goal can best be achieved from a posture of learning, joy, vulnerability, availability and surrender while listening to God.
Keel reflects my dissatisfaction with the "Acts 2 church," as if such a church were possible today simply by reinstituting the forms and rules of the First Century AD. He notes that the church in that form did not last, being replaced by new, vibrant and different forms of church, all of them authentic. "[We] observe barely contained chaos as churches faithfully seek to keep pace with the life exploding under and around them." Keel also brings systems thinking into the mix, noting that easy fixes just do not work. We need to apply what seem like chaotic solutions that "pull us (me) out of our (my) comfort zones and into the world around us (me) in a radically engaged way."
The author, Tim Keel, is the founding pastor of Jacob’s Well, an emerging church in Kansas City, and a leader with the Emergent Village conversation exploring the meaning of faith, church and mission in postmodern times. His first training was in art and design, and as a church leader he still wants to access his imagination and intuition in collaborative ways with others on the journey of creating, but for the purpose of creating beautiful, hospitable, welcoming spaces for people to connect with God and other people.
Keel maintains that vibrancy in faith and community building will come as leaders connect with their creativity, imagination and especially their story. The book explores this theme in three sections – entering story (since story is at the heart of what God is doing), engaging context (since to respond to what God is doing we need to understand our cultural context, theology about God and the gospel, and structural church systems), and embracing possibility (with a new way of understanding ourselves and our leadership).
The element this reviewer most appreciated is Keel’s biographical reflections on his journey in leadership and mission. It is an intoxicating narrative of Kell finding new life in community, church planting, preaching, leadership and ultimately I finding new vitality in pursuing God rather than ministry. Passionate about creativity and design himself, he affirms the place of right-brain elements of creativity, images, symbols, intuition and taking time for stillness in church. He is passionate about localizing what is good news about the gospel for himself and for his context, and to create space for those outside faith and the church to participate and contribute. Reacting against modern tendencies to consume and compartmentalize faith and imitate stories of success in other contexts, he discusses why new kinds of different churches are emerging and underlines the importance of hospitality:
“In a world of balkanization and atomization we are desperate for space to engage, create, and respond free from the power games that are being played in so many circles around us. In a shrinking, globalized world we are desperate to learn what it means to be in relationship to the other – the alien in our midst (or perhaps we are the alien in the midst) – for the purpose of dialogue and engagement. We desperately need to discover recover, learn and live out the ancient Christian practice of hospitality, which is the postmodern means of evangelism” (p.111)
This is not a church manual for growing your church in ten east steps. Kell deconstructs that expectation and the reproduction of certain techniques or even best practices, and encourages leaders to help their churches foster missional imagination and find where they can uniquely improvise what the gospel looks like in their context. Intuitive Leadership will be welcome reading for leaders and churches hungry for and open to new paradigms for leadership – to understand why we need them and how to practice them.
This review was originally published in Mission Studies 31 (2013), 97-98.
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