Full review of Intuitive Leadership

I just finished reading Intuitive Leadership by Tim Keel. I’ve hit on some point about this book before. In final analysis, I’d say that this may not have been the best book for me to have read. It’s not a bad book, but it left me wanting some things that it didn’t deliver and with a few things that I didn’t really need.

I liked the fact that Keel poses a different kind of leadership book from those analytical, linear books that are so often published. The problem is it left me wanting something that I’m not so sure I can have: freedom within an established organization to create in the way Keel prescribes. There are some good principles that can be applied to established churches, and I’ll address those later, but it will really be difficult to get away with pushing those principles beyond a basic level.

While those principles are there and as exciting as they may be, I also found myself frustrated that the creative church movement has to tie itself so closely to certain things that to me are negatives. How many times does Keel refer to the great value of the monastics and escaping to monastic communities? Monastics, to me, are a sign of failure in Church. Some monastics were running from a very broken church; others were running from a very broken world. One could argue that we have in North America both a broken church and a broken world. Still, I don’t think escaping to an experiential community is at all the answer that the Bible gives us. I would instead love to hear creative people discovering God in creative ways among the broken piece of both church and world.

I like Keel’s points of creativity that should be kindled in the church: in leadership, in worship, in theology. I love the thought of creative people taking leadership of the church. We are still stuck in a world were safe leadership is considered godly. Wouldn’t God rather leaders push the envelope? Isn’t he in control in the end?

I love the thought of the church living in paradox and theology being more a matter of “I don’t know (yet)” than a fix system to never deviate from. I think our practices and services should highlight this paradox.

I also love Keel’s desire to get rid of the old idols of the church. I know that I am tempted by the idol of ministry that he talks about. Many people use the church and symbols of God as idols just as the Keel point out that the Ark was used before the Israelites.

Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that Keel doesn’t create some new idols along the way. To me monasticism is often an idol of experience and community. Similarly, I think if creativity for the sake of creativity is not kept in check, the thrill of doing something new can also become an idol.

In the end, I wonder if this is a book that should not have been written. Keel pronounces great frustration over other church movements that are successful and then copied because of there success. He says that he doesn’t want people to copy him instead consider their own context. That’s good, but I think human nature and the nature of leaders is to copy that which is written up as a success. Heck, didn’t Hybels say in his book Rediscovering Church that people should try to copy the Willow Creek model? Still, copying Willow Creek seemed to me to be Keel’s biggest struggle with the Evangelical Church, or at least its leaders.

I’m not sure how to get this message out, but when a leader writes a book describing how he found success, people are going to try to copy. Then again, maybe leadership is about causing success, and, after all, are there really that many intuitive leaders out there? I guess time will tell.

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