Review: Entrepreneurial Leadership by Richard J. Goosen and R. Paul Stevens

5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Richard J. Goosen and R. Paul Stevens
Publisher: IVP Book
Buy Entrepreneurial Leadership
Reading Level: Easy

I don’t read a lot of books on leadership or business. Entrepreneurial Leadership grabbed my attention because it was written from an explicitly Christian worldview. Plus my wife is an entrepreneur and I’ve dabbled in some entrepreneurial endeavors in the past.

What I really loved is the way Roosen and Stevens rooted their understanding of leadership in the creation narrative and the image of God. These currents flow through out the book and are foundational in their understanding. Out of this comes the realization that all work is Spirit empowered work. They say,

“Spiritual work” (such as that of a pastor or missionary) is not more holy or acceptable to God than homemaking, business, law and trades. Both are doing “the Lord’s work.” (p. 59)

One of the most edifying sections discusses the idea of calling for the average person. As I was reading through the book, my wife and I would discuss some of the big concepts in relation to our average nine to five jobs. We spent a good hour discussing the merits of this idea of calling. They draw on the work of Spurgeon as he talks through calling for ministers and apply it to the everyman. First, you must have a passion for the work. Second, your skill must be recognized. Third, effectiveness should be present. Last, affirmation from others demonstrates sustainability (pp. 118-119). Loved this section. They go on to tackle the doctrine of God’s will and dismantle the idea that we must find God’s one plan for our life and if we don’t we might spend our life doing his backup plan.

My only concerns came in the intermittent emphasis on subjective leading and risk discussion. They recommend Catholic mystics as guides for discerning subjective leadings from God. For me this runs counter to the excellent discussion on God’s will on page one hundred and nineteen. You can not both have freedom to work and create within God’s sovereign plan and be subjected to subjective leadings for your life. What if you misread one of these subjective leadings from God?

For all the excellent emphasis and unfolding of the gospel as story through out Entrepreneurial Leadership, they drop the ball when describing God as a risk-taker in the Garden. They say,

Genesis tells us that God placed the man and the woman in a garden of opportunity--but God did not determine what they were to do with it. . . . He placed them in a world where everything was open to change, and he took the risk that they would fail. But at the same time God was prepared, should they make a mess of their human vocation, to somehow redeem them and their mistake to make something even better. (p. 95)

This paragraph undermines the centrality of Christ within the gospel narrative. Redemption in Christ Jesus was always plan A. Jesus was never a contingency plan.

I still give this book high marks and will enjoy sharing it with other friends who are in business fields. Goosen and Stevens show the gospel is central for understanding all of our work, not just what we’ve typically considered sacred. Without a foundation in creation and the image of God, which they nail, all sorts of errors creep in the church. Sadly this deficit impacts the majority of church as most of us are not in what is traditionally considered ministry work. That’s why books like this are needed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Entrepreneurial Leadership free from IVP Book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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