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Archives / 2009 / August


Book review: Ellen White on Leadership: Guidance for Those Who Influence Others

Tara VinCross


In the complex leadership environment in which we find ourselves in the twenty-first century, does Ellen White, a visionary from the nineteenth century, still have wisdom to lend the leaders of today? After reading Ellen White on Leadership, I say the answer is a resounding Yes! Every pastor should consider this book a must read—a meaningful collection, fresh with direction, grace, and hope.

Ellen White was a leader of leaders. As one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a prophet, and a preacher, her experiences and publications hold insights foundational for leaders. Through her book, Ellen White on Leadership, Cindy Tutsch, an associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate in Silver Spring, Maryland, aims to reconnect today’s leaders with the wisdom found in Ellen White’s writings.

More than just position or power, good leaders desire meaning and purpose—to know at the end of the day they have done something significant for the kingdom of God. This book seeks to distill the praxis of Ellen White’s leadership experience and the wisdom of her counsel into leadership principles that can be applied across the wide spectrum of today’s cultural terrain.

Tutsch concentrates on four main characteristics of godly leaders from the works of Ellen White, summed up in the following statement: “Leaders who find Ellen White’s voice authoritative will motivate and equip others in the church to evangelize across generations; make joyful, intentional provision for full gender inclusiveness and racial diversity; and find more increasingly effective ways to serve the poor and marginalized” (12).

The writings of Ellen White on the subject of leadership make it clear that she was seeking to center the church on the clarion call of God for full inclusion in the life and ministry of the church. We are called to train and mobilize leaders of all ages, inclusive of gender and race, to make a difference for the most oppressed of the world. This calling becomes all the more crucial as the church seeks to communicate the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14:6–12.

Ellen White on Leadership makes a great contribution to the ongoing conversation concerning current leadership issues by drawing our attention to the inspired words of Ellen White. Tutsch’s structure presents increased understanding of the leader’s relationship and responsibility to God, to those they serve, and to the world as a whole. Far from offering simple answers, Ellen White invites us into the mess and mystery of being a follower of Christ, a leader in God’s kingdom.

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