The title intrigued me! No one can see canoe mountains – can they? By nature, mountains rise above sea level, and canoeists develop their skill ‘down there’, not ‘up there’. In short, canoeing needs water and not the water generally found aloft mountains. Besides, what has the leadership to do with something that frankly doesn’t happen? And that is precisely the essence of this read! Just as one cannot do the usual canoe thing’ across mountains, one cannot expect to lead the way one has always done, given the different look of the horizon. “What is behind us (as Christian leaders) is very different to what is in front of us”. Our past training, practices and habits won’t cut it any longer.
Bolsinger cites the historical pursuits of Meriwether Lewis and his realisation that to complete his mission (given that the waterways had ceased and all before him was rugged mountain peaks) would mean going the same direction but with a whole new approach, as a practical illustration to what confronts the modern Christian leader. He provides a challenging, provocative, often problematic yet personal and practical exposure of the terrain ahead of those of us called to navigate and lead others to a future place that has never been seen nor the route traversed.
It quickly becomes apparent that this is not some academic textbook designed to test one’s analytical skills. Instead, it is a readable account of one who has – through personal encounters – learnt that different learning is now required to continue being missional in our post-modern, post-Christendom world. There are no textbooks. No maps. Learning that demands ‘mission becomes conviction’ is “off-radar” and learnt in the process of moving forward! Learning that is unlikely to come from our training colleges or the ‘hallowed chambers of our churches’ but from the raw streets of life experience.
While painting a picture of an intense and immense challenge for all in leadership today (including but not exclusively Christian), the author reminds his readers of the presence of the divine. While the journey ahead may be unchartered and risky, quitting is no option. The mission is still in front and worthy of one’s utmost attention and commitment – albeit with a different approach, with different tools, the acceptance of ‘sabotage’, courage, strength, a faith-filled heart and reliance on the Holy Spirit!
If you’re a Minister, Pastor, lay leader, CEO, Manager or any person called to join God in His mission where you are – do yourself a favour and invest in the message of “Canoeing the Mountains”.
To God be the Glory – Dave
Why not join us 7-8 pm next Tuesday, 4 April, to discuss the book at our online discipleship book club? All are welcome; joining us for this discussion doesn’t require you to attend any future gatherings! Click here to register and receive the link to the meeting, and for further information please get in touch with Paul Wetzig at email@example.com