Posted by Julie Craythorne on 17th Jun 2022

Book Review- The Crucible of Leadership

The Crucible of Leadership by Bible College lecturer and pastor, Dr. Alan Wilson, draws on Wilson’s expertise in church and spiritual leadership and is set within the framework of Moses’s story. The Crucible of Leadership book matter is not so much a how-to guide but more a reflection upon character formation and seems an apt title for this book as we journey with Moses for more than a century. This is the character refining of Moses and the lessons he learns. Every lesson is found in the melting pot of who Moses becomes and how the children of Israel are shaped.

Each chapter beginning with a Scripture verse sets the emphasis on this being God’s story, his gracious intervention, or as Wilson says, ‘a gracious summons.’ God’s generous outworking through Moses and his maturity are seen through the defining moments of development, and crucible of leadership. For Moses, the wilderness years were foundational. Other biblical leaders are referred to, and recently published literature is mentioned in this book. Having a bank of recent books is ideal for those who wish to read more widely, whether new to leadership or finishing the course well. 

Pivotal to the lessons is Moses’ relationship with God. Each chapter concludes with a set of reflection questions that could be undertaken by those in most leadership positions and are thought-provoking for individual or group use.

Alongside Moses’ development, the concept of team is closely followed as we see those who influenced this great man, such as Jethro, those who would accompany him, such as Aaron, and the children of Israel, who would grumble incessantly to him. It is in the context of others that Moses must live and exercise God’s will for the people. Yet all for the glory of God and to God. 

The bedrock of such work must find its source in the understanding that we are ‘the Beloved,’ (drawing on the work of Henri Nouwen). Coincidentally or God -incidentally, the middle, central chapter of the book is entitled, ‘Wise Leaders Know That God Loves Them.’ Rooted in the assurance of the Lord’s love, we are told stories of modern church leaders who have powerful testimonies to this foundational truth. The reinforcement of this essential is summarised by Wilson when he writes, “how significant hearing God’s voice is for our stability and the health of our leadership.”

The strength of this advice girds us for the final chapters on criticism and character flaws, as inevitable as they are amongst human leaders and human followers. Wilson steers us Christ ward again reminding us that, “spiritual leadership, like all of life, has His glory as its goal.” Finishing well and handing on the baton in the life of a leader are addressed before a final epilogue on the rock striking incident of Moses, a reminder of this being God’s story for God’s glory. 

A book of invaluable insight into the authentic challenges of leadership, the grace of God, his unrelenting love for His people, all interwoven with the intriguing character of Moses. Moses, through all his trials is remembered as one who knew God intimately. In Exodus 33:11 we are told, ‘The LORD would speak to Moses face to face just as a man speaks with his friend. Wilson’s The Crucible of Leadership allows us to travel alongside this friend of God and yet know more of God. 

It was a delight to see the launch of Alan Wilson’s new book, The Crucible of Leadership having thoroughly enjoyed listening to the podcasts, The Leadership Journey. The podcasts are a series of interviews with leaders and most I have listened to are with ministry leaders and follow the peaks and valleys of their paths in leading. 

The book is officially published on June 17 and will be available in bookshops across the UK and Ireland as well as in various online outlets. (Support your local Christian bookshop if you can). 

It will be available at several of the summer conferences: New Wine Ireland, Keswick at Portstewart, and New Horizon. 

Reviewed by Julie Craythorne.