Annotated Bibliography on Quaker Leadership

Benefiel, Margaret. The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment. Crossroad Publishing Company, 2008.

According to Benefiel, theology teacher and CEO of, the Western ideal of leadership demands that modern leaders adopt a Lone Ranger mentality; emphasizes the bottom line; and rewards drive, decisiveness, productivity and long work hours—while paying scant attention to inner and spiritual development. Benefiel outlines her principles of soul formation for leaders through true-life stories, such as those of Tom and Kate Chappell of Tom's of Maine, and the U2 guitarist The Edge, who worked with musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans. Benefiel also writes about lesser-known leaders who have concentrated in the development of their moral grounding as well as their account books. Speaking both to individual and organizational spiritual transformation, she highlights the importance of following one's heart and daring to dream through a program of practicing gratitude, perseverance and seeking out spiritual guidance. The author's inspiring message and endorsement from Desmond Tutu will likely earn her book a receptive audience, but the repetitive, sometimes saccharine execution may deter all but the choir to whom she is already preaching.

Benefiel, Margaret. The Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations. Seabury Books, 2005.

Soul at Work describes the way organizations do business. Soul in the workplace is not a theological abstraction, but a way of being and doing. Each of the organizations that Benefiel profiles in this lively and informative book--from Southwest Airlines to the band U2--describes the profound role that awareness of soul, or spirituality, can play in leadership and organizational life. Divided into three parts, the book looks at the role of individuals in nurturing soul, the organizational reality by which soul is manifest, and the processes by which the tension between individual and organization are managed. It is for managers, workers, organization specialists, church groups, CEOs, and anyone involved in the transformation of organizational life. It is for everyone who suspects that there is more to business than the bottom line.

Birchard, Bruce. "The Dilemmas of Organizational Leadership in the Religious Society of Friends." 3 pages. Available at:

A contemporary short essay by long-time General Secretary for Friends General Conference on his understanding of leadership among Friends.

Bownas, Samuel. A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister. Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications, 1989.

Friends seeking to nurture and deepen ministry in their meetings will find remarkably clear, specific and relevant guidance in this classic work. "Qualification, as this eighteenth century Friend uses the word, implies that one has gone through a process of personal transformation which reorients the ego, the will, and the attention so that one can be trusted purely to receive and purely to give forth an inspired message." (William Taber, from the Introduction) Bownas offers advice on 'qualifying' vocal ministry and other forms of ministry. A careful reading of the book can help Friends learn to discern the difference between the ego and Divine will.

Brinton, Howard H. Reaching Decisions: The Quaker Method. Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications. Pamphlet.

The Society of Friends answer to the question, How can a free fellowship based on Divine guidance from within set up any form of church government providing direction from without?

Brown, Judy. A Leader’s Guide to Reflective Practice. Trafford Publishing, 2006.

If the world of leadership is the world of action, why does being reflective matter? Why take time out? Why explore the inner world of thought and feeling, the quieter outer processes of dialogue and conversation? This guidebook provides answers to those questions. And it offers intriguing, refreshing and satisfying ways to deepen our leadership capacities through reflection. It is a pocket resource for those who lead by title as well as those who simply make the world a better place by their example. An aid to leaders who are on the run, it is particularly meant for those weary souls who need to find a breathing space in their busy lives in order to be more powerful in service to what matters most to them.

Carter, Robert A. Quaker Leaders for the 21st century. Kaimosi Friends Press, 2004. Available in Friends Collection, Earlham College. 18 pages.

This pamphlet was delivered as the graduation address at Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya, on 27 March 2004.

Drayton, Brian. On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry. Philadelphia, PA: Quaker Press, 2006.

"Brian Drayton has studied A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister by Samuel Bownas, and many Friends journals, internalizing their teaching and applying it to his own life and ministry. He is called to minister to ministers, to encourage, help, and yes, even admonish Friends who feel a gift for ministry arising within. Here is a book full of wisdom and advice on how to cherish, live with, and grow into the gift of ministry. It is well aimed at the specific temptations and opportunities of our own day, while incorporating those timeless truths with which a minister of any era must grapple." - Marty Grundy

Farnham, Suzanne. Listening Hearts. Morehouse, 2011.

This important book draws on classic Christian literature and "the silence of prayerful listening" to show how to recognize and define God's call. The authors emphasize the importance of faith community as a source of spiritual and practical support. Designed for use in prayer and meditation and as the basis for group discussion. It provides suggestions on forming discernment groups and ministries and questions to raise in discerning call.

Five Years Meeting. Handbook for Young Friends’ leaders: a guide for organizing Young Friends’ activities. Board on Christian Education, 1941. Available in Friends Collection, Earlham College, 53 pages.

Prepared by those attending the Leadership Training Conference held at Quaker Haven in Indiana July 28 – August 3, 1940, under the direction of the Youth and Student Work Department of the Board on Christian Education of the Five Years Meeting of Friends in America.

Friends Council on Education. Governance Handbook for Friends Schools, Second Edition.

A useful resource for boards and heads of Friends schools, the Friends meetings that are in care relationships with Friends schools, as well as for private and independent schools. The revised edition provides guidance in areas of governance that are unique in Friends schools and new material on advancement, effective board process, and building an optimum culture for school leadership and governance.

Friends Council on Education. Principles of Good Practice for Boards and Every Trustee of Quaker Organizations. 2005. 2 pages. Available from Friends Council on Education.

This publication is adapted from Principles of Good Practice For Friends School Boards & Every Friends School Trustee, written by Arthur Larrabee in consultation with the Board of Directors of the Friends Council on Education, 2005. Governance Matters! is a collaborative project of Friends Services for the Aging, Friends Council on Education, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Committee on Friends Education.

Friends Services for the Aging. A Strategic Approach to Leadership Transitions. September 2010. White paper. 9 pages. Available from Friends Services for the Aging.

The focus of this white paper is managing the planned exit and entrance of an executive director, or CEO. The frameworks are also applicable to the strategic transition process of any senior leader.

Greenleaf, Robert K. The power of servant-leadership: essays. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1998.

"The Power of Servant Leadership" is a collection of Robert Greenleaf's finest and most mature works and an unexpected sequel to his "Servant Leadership." These pieces were designed to stimulate and inspire people in the practice of a more caring leadership and reflect Greenleaf's continual refinement of his servant-as-leader concept, focusing on issues such as spirit, commitment to vision, and seeing things whole.

Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, 25th Anniversary Edition. Paulist Press, 2002.

Twenty-five years ago Robert Greenleaf published these prophetic essays on what he coined servant leadership, a practical philosophy that replaces traditional autocratic leadership with a holistic, ethical approach. This highly influential book has been embraced by cutting edge management everywhere. Yet in these days of Enron and what VISA CEO Dee Hock calls our "era of massive institutional failure," Greenleaf's seminal work must reach the mainstream now more than ever. Servant Leadership helps leaders find their true power and moral authority to lead. It offers long-lasting change, not a temporary fix and extends beyond business for leaders of all types of groups.

The Hickman Friends Senior Community of West Chester, PA. Queries to Guide Decision-Making Regarding New Policies and/or Initiatives. May 2010. Paper. Available from Friends Services for the Aging.

This non-profit Quaker-based personal care home has wrestled with the issues of mission and margin. This is a common concern of non-profit organizations that ask how they can honor their mission to serve others and, at the same time, maintain good business practices that will allow for the future development of their business.

Isbell, Jennifer. Leading Quakers: Disciple Leadership, a Friends Model. Earlham Press, 2008.

"With this resource, ESR seeks specifically to help groups create sacred space for study, reflection and conversation that will nurture the discovery of gifts and development of leadership in the local meeting. Along the way, we expect a growing appreciation of the meeting as a spiritual community knit together by worship and ministry" Jay Marshall, Dean of Earlham School of Religion

Lacey, Paul A. Leading and Being Led. Pendle Hill Publications: Wallingford, PA, 1985. Pamphlet.

A discussion of the nature of religious leadings and where we should be looking for them in the modern world.

Lacey, Paul A. Quakers and the Use of Power. Pendle Hill Publications: Wallingford, PA. Pamphlet.

A reexamination of the Society of Friends at the time of Pendle Hill's 50th Anniversary.

Lakey, George. Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Adult Learners. Jossey-Bass, 2010.

"This book is a must-read for people who teach adults of any age, no matter what the subject, and care about doing it in ways that yield deep and abiding learning. Wonderfully well-written and rich with psychological and spiritual insights as well as practical strategies, it represents the fruits of a lifetime of transformational teaching and learning by one of the foremost adult educators of our time."-Parker J. Palmer.

Lewis, Mark. Doing Business the Quaker Way. Forbes Magazine article, October, 2009. 2 pages. Available at:

Article by a non-Quaker about Quaker business practices and utilizing them in a corporate setting.

McDonald, Ron. Leadership Among Friends. Pendle Hill Publications: Wallingford, PA, 1995. Pamphlet.

Looks at the ambivalence toward authority among Quaker youth, the need for common experiences of depth, and ways of encouraging more inspired ministry. Pamphlet.

Morley, Barry. Beyond Consensus: Salvaging the Sense of the Meeting. Pendle Hill Publications: Wallingford, PA. Pamphlet.

"In seeking the sense of the meeting we open ourselves to being guided to perfect resolution in the Light, to a place where we sit in unity in the collective inward Presence. Through consensus we decide it; through sense of the meeting we turn it over, allowing it to be decided. `Reaching consensus is a secular process,' says a Friend. `In sense of the meeting God gets a voice.'" (the Author) Morley describes three essential components in discovering sense of the meeting: release, long focus, and transition to Light, all of which are nurtured by worship.

Morse, MaryKate. Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space, and Influence. IVP Books, 2008.

Pastor and spiritual director MaryKate Morse contends that most of us are unaware of the ways we do or can use our bodies to influence others. Morse explores leadership through the lens of Christ’s use of power as a guide for how to lead in ways that are empowering to others. Morse is a recorded minister in Northwest Yearly Meeting and associate dean at George Fox Evangelical Seminary.

Morse, MaryKate. Reflections on Leadership. Northwest Yearly Meeting. Short essay. Available at:

Morse responds to the question, what do Quakers bring to leadership?

New England Yearly Meeting. Faith and Practice: on Leadership. Available at:

NEYM’s consideration of leadership in its current Faith and Practice.

Palmer, Parker J. Let your life speak: education, vocation and the needs of the world. Jossey Bass, 1999.

A deep and compassionate guide to seeking your true calling in life by listening to the voice within. In this honest and compelling meditation, Friend Palmer reflects upon vocation, spirit and the life journey with a depth of insight that will touch anyone yearning for an authentic way of standing and serving in the world.

Phillips, David. Thesis: A Strategy for developing leaders in a Quaker context at the Wabash Friends Church. Earlham Friends Collection, 2007. Available in Friends Collection, Earlham College.

A graduate student considers an approach to developing leadership in a Quaker church.

Quaker Life. Friends and Authority. January/February 2011 issue.

Quaker Life. Friends Business Procedures. March/April 2010 issue.

Snyder, Monteze, et. al. Building Consensus: Conflict and Unity. Earlham Press, 2001.

Written by a Quaker faculty at Earlham College, this workbook is a how-to guide for Quaker consensus decision-making.

Spencer, Carole and Tricola, Brad. Leadership and Clergy: Early Quaker Movement, American Transition, and Today. George Fox Evangelical Seminary, Northwest Friends, 2009. 13 pages. Available at:

The aim of this paper is to look at leadership and clergy in the early Quaker movement and the American transition, and how it is expressed in the Northwest Yearly meeting (NWYM) of today. Specific consideration is given to George Fox and Robert Barclay, as well as some of NWYM Superintendent Colin Saxton’s ideas about contemporary ways to lead.

Spears, Larry C., ed. Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century. Wiley, 2001.

This important work provides an inspirational collection of 25 essays on servant-leadership, with a significant focus on the practice of servant-leadership in organizational and business settings.

Spears, Larry C. Insights on leadership: service, stewardship, spirit, and servant-leadership. Wiley, 1997.

Robert K. Greenleaf's 1970 essay, "The Servant As Leader," has influenced an entire generation that now views traditional management philosophy as passé, if not counterproductive. His ideas on shared responsibility have taken hold among many respected business scholars, including Margaret Wheatley, Stephen Covey, and Ken Blanchard. In Insights On Leadership: Service, Stewardship, Spirit, and Servant-Leadership, edited by Larry Spears, these and other prominent followers of Greenleaf's teachings offer thoughts on the way the strategies can be used to redefine work to better meet the needs of people and organizations in the new millennium.

Taber, William. The Mind of Christ: Bill Taber on Meeting for Business. Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications. Pamphlet.

When Quakers gather to make decisions, they do so with the hope of being called into unity by the loving Spirit who guides their steps in the practice that Friends call "meeting for worship with attention to business." But too often that sense of unity and sure guidance are elusive, and instead Friends experience impatience and frustration. The late Bill Taber, a teacher and spiritual guide beloved to many Friends, addressed the rewards and challenges of Quaker business process in a number of presentations to Friends groups. Quaker scholar Michael Birkel has edited Bill’s notes for these talks into an inspiring and helpful essay on how Friends can carry into business meeting the practices and attitudes that open the way to Spirit-led decisions in our communities. Discussion questions included.

Thomas, Anne. Our Long Night of Preparation: Leadership Among Unprogrammed Friends in North America. 1991. Available at:

A short essay by a member of Canadian Yearly Meeting on her understanding of leadership among unprogrammed Friends today.

Webb, Tony and McCarthy, Eoin. Pubcast: Business ethics, leadership development and Quakers. 15 minutes. Available at:

What can companies today learn about leadership, management and responsible business from the Quaker movement? Toby Webb discusses with Eoin McCarthy.

Wilson, Lloyd Lee. Essays on the Vision of Gospel Order. Quaker Press of FGC, 2002.

Essays address facets of Quaker faith and practice, articulating the ways in which Gospel order has shaped lives and beliefs of Friends. Wilson gives the reader both a historical perspective and a contemporary understanding of basics like meeting for worship and for business, spiritual gifts, leadings and ministry. Seasoned Friends and those new to Quakerism will find much to ponder.

Wilson, Roger. Authority, leadership and concern: a study in motive and administration in Quaker relief work. Britain Yearly Meeting, 2007.

From 1940 to 1946, Roger Wilson was General Secretary of the Friends Relief Service. Soon after his wartime experience, in 1949 he delivered the Swarthmore Lecture, and applied his clear thinking and his understanding of Quaker processes to examine how a religious concern can be made manifest in practical work, and what needs to be considered so that this can be organized. 'The true "concern" is a gift from God, a leading of his Spirit which may not be denied.' How is the authority for this held by a human organization? What kind of people does it need to lead and carry out its work?