Tod Bolsinger

Executive Director

Senior Fellow De Pree Center Associate Professor of Leadership Formation Fuller Theological Seminary Tod Bolsinger joined Fuller Seminary in 2014 as vice president for vocation and formation and he now serves as Senior Fellow at the D...

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A review of Leadership in the Time of Pandemic

by Mark D. Roberts

Five years ago, Tod Bolsinger came out with his best-selling book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory. Leaders throughout the United States and, indeed, throughout the world, read this book with eagerness and appreciation. Why? To be sure, they gladly learned from Tod’s lucid presentation of adaptive leadership and his down-to-earth experience as a pastor learning how to lead adaptively.

But, what initially drew leaders of churches and other organizations to this book was its bold assertion that we are now leading in “uncharted territory.” Using the story of Lewis and Clark as a gripping illustration, Tod observed that leaders today are, in a matter of speaking, “canoeing the mountains.” Like Lewis and Clark, we’re leading in an unfamiliar land and, if we’re honest, we’re not at all sure how to do it. Thousands upon thousands of mountaintop canoers bought Tod’s book partly because he named their reality. He identified their pain point. They were trying to lead in uncharted territory, canoeing over mountains they had never anticipated.

All of that happened years before the coronavirus pandemic. If we were once in uncharted territory trying to canoe the mountains, now we’ve lost our canoes and are stuck wearing blindfolds. (Well, okay, they’re really face masks. But you get the point.) The challenge facing leaders today just got way harder, way less predictable, and way more exhausting. Now our question is not only how are we going to lead in uncharted territory, but also how are we going to survive in the process? How are we going to hang in there? How might we even grow stronger and wiser in our leadership in the midst of a pandemic?

Once again, Tod Bolsinger is here to help. His next full-length book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change will be published by InterVarsity Press in six months (November 2020). By the time we get to November, we who lead will be desperate for wisdom on resilience, that’s for sure. But, in the meanwhile, Tod and his publisher have thrown us a lifeline. Today, in fact, InterVarsity has published a short e-book written by Tod. You can buy Leadership for a Time of Pandemic: Practicing Resilience right now from Amazon and other sellers for $3.99.