Invitation to Lead

Invitation to Lead: Guidance for Emerging Asian American Leaders
Paul Tokunaga
InterVarsity Press

            Overall, Paul Tokunaga’s book is very informative, biblically sound, and even inspiring. He writes a very thoughtful and passionate book, first describing the Asian-American experience emphasizing the call to leadership, then putting forth a call for future Asian-American leaders and what he believes God desires from us. The book is divided up into two sections: “On Being A Leader”, and “Developing and Deploying Asian American Leaders.”

            Tokunaga starts the first section with accounts from his own life, especially his childhood and adolescent years. I appreciate his vulnerability as he recounted some of the pain and difficulties he endured as an Asian-American. He calls his readers to own our own pasts and see them as refining and shaping the person God wants us to be. Then he outlines the distinctives of being Asian-American: our values and tendencies, especially Confucian ideals, and how they differ from western thinking. He then discusses the qualities for good leadership with an Asian-American emphasis, and the role models we can look for in the Bible: Moses and Esther. He provides insight on what it will take to be effective Asian-American leaders, both in church and secular settings.

            The second section of the book outlines the task for the future of Asian-American leadership. He presents a myriad of facts and figures from census data, showing the trends. I was surprised to read about the immigration trends of Asian-Americans, especially the increase in South and Southeast Asian-Americans. Half of Asian-Americans live on the west coast, especially in California where one in eight people are of Asian descent. He presented the implications of these statistics, like the perpetual need for immigrant churches, and the need for Asian-friendly corporate culture. I was very inspired by the last part of this book, which called for Asian-American young people to take hold of our talents and gifts and engage society, especially outside our Asian-American church circles. We have much to offer the rest of the world.