One of the best books I’ve ever read on the Christian life and leadership is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders, who served as a consulting director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship. Over the past 25 years, I’ve read this book many times. I’ve used it as a conversation starter and “field manual” on spiritual leadership for many small groups of men who were learning to lead.
Currently, I’m meeting with a group of young men from the Arise College Ministry at Crossroads Bible Church. We meet at 6am each Tuesday morning at my home and we’re just a couple of weeks into Sanders’ book. We started meeting this summer and went through another wonderful book – Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes. We focused on issues of integrity and how to apply “godly sweat” to important areas of our life: our tongue, our work, our devotion, our worship, our friendships, our leadership, and our prayers. A few years ago, I started summarizing some of the key leadership principles in each chapter and I’d like to share 25 Leadership Principles from the first 52 pages.
- Spiritual leadership is motivated by a deep love for Christ and genuine concern for the church. (p 14)
- Spiritual leaders will never “campaign for promotion.” (p 15)
- Spiritual leadership is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in convincing or inducing others to serve you. (p 15)
- Spiritual leaders have shortcomings and flaws and still God uses them. (p 17)
- Spiritual leaders must be authoritative, spiritual and sacrificial. (p 18)
- Spiritual leaders must be willing to suffer for the sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience. (p 18)
- Spiritual leaders must pass on the torch to younger people as a first-line responsibility. (p 18)
- Spiritual leadership does not come as a result of theological training or seminary degrees. (p 22)
- Greatness comes through servanthood, and leadership through becoming a slave of all. (p 23)
- God assigns places of spiritual ministry and leadership in His sovereign will. (p 22)
- God’s ideal servant is optimistic until every part of God’s work is done. (p 25)
- Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead. (p 27)
- The personality of the spiritual leader influences others because it is irradiated, penetrated, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. (p 28)
- Spiritual leadership requires superior spiritual power, which can never be generated by the self. (p 28)
- Spiritual leaders pursue spiritual goals which require spiritual methods. (p 32)
- Spiritual leaders can accept opposition to their viewpoint or decision without taking offense. (p 36)
- Pessimism and leadership do not mix. (p 37)
- Leaders who cannot keep secrets should not try to lead. (p 38)
- The spiritual leader should be a man of unchallengeable morality. (p 41)
- The life of the leader should reflect the beauty and orderliness of God. ((p 41)
- A person’s ability to lead at home is a strong indicator of his readiness to lead in ministry. (p 44)
- A spiritual leader’s primary responsibility is to see that his “flock” is properly fed and cared for (1 Peter 5:2). (p 47)
- A spiritual leader must be a worthy example for the people to follow. (p 49)
- Spiritual leaders do not hunger for money or thirst for applause. (p 49)
- Lazy and disorganized people never rise to true leadership. (p 52)
Where do you need to grow as a spiritual leader?
Which of these principles are evident in your life?
To which of these principles do you need to devote more attention?
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