The following is my thoughts on the book Spiritual Leadership
Every leader wants to be able to say when they are done with life, the words recorded in John 17:4 when He said that he glorified the Father by doing His work that was given to Him. We see that in Ephesians 2:10, God has prepared good works for each us to do. This shows that God has a plan for each our lives. To be a successful leader one must seek out the plan that God has prepared for each of us and seek to accomplish His will. In the end I want to hear the words, well done my good and faithful servant.
Sanders remind us that “churches grow in every way when they are guided by strong, spiritual leaders” (Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, 18). Spiritual leadership is not something that is given to the leader by man. A spiritual leader is created by God alone. To develop as a spiritual leader, one must devote themselves to the practice of spiritual disciplines.
A leader must learn to discipline themselves before they are qualified to lead. Anyone that rebels against leadership is not qualified to lead. Just like you must learn to crawl before you walk, you must learn to follow before you can lead. To be a spiritual leader one must learn to follow the leader that authority comes from. A leader must learn to follow God and then they can learn to follow man. This is vital before anyone can lead someone else.
Leaders must also have wisdom and be able to make decisions. Without being able to make decisions a leader cannot carry out a vision. No matter how good the vision is, it is of no good unless the leader has the ability to make the required decisions. When the vision is from God, one must lead and make the decisions without regard to consequences.
When making these decisions though, the leader must have tact and diplomacy. Diplomacy means that the leader manages difficult decisions especially when there are differing of opinions. A leader must make the decisions to carry out the vision by God, but also do it in a way that is tactful and diplomatic.
The leader must also inspire others to service and to accomplish the vision. We see in Nehemiah 4:6 that the people had a mind to work. When Nehemiah arrived, he found people that were disheartened. Through the vision that was given by God, diplomacy, and his inspirational qualities, he was able to build an effective team to accomplish the vision.
When a leader is developing a team and making necessary changes the leader also has to be a good listener. When there are differing of opinions, it is going to take the leader listening to all that are involved in the situation. Leaders should listen long and hard. Without listening the leader is going to miss how others feel and show that he is not sympathetic. This will cause those that are following the leader to lose confidence. This will cause the leader to have a hard time to accomplish the goals from the vision.
All of this has to come through prayer. The spiritual leader must look to Jesus as an example of prayer. Jesus was certainly one that never needed to pray; however, he spent a great deal of time in prayer. He would wake early and spend time with the Father. It is comforting to know that even Jesus, who was God in the flesh, prayed. Leaders must devote time to the Lord in prayer to receive the vision God has for them as well as the steps needed to execute that vision.
Spending time with God daily when leading is essential, because leadership can be costly. Each leader listed in Hebrews 11 all had to make sacrifices in their service to God. Leaders will also walk alone many times. This is because leaders are always ahead of their followers. Leadership can be a fatiguing exercise. We see that in John 4:6 even Jesus grew weary and had to rest. As Sanders pointed out if a leader does not rise early and work late, they are not going to change a generation (Sanders, Spiritual Discipline, 144). There is hard work in leadership, one must be prepared to work hard.
At some point a spiritual leader must reproduce leaders. Leaders have to be developed in order for churches to continue as well as new churches to be planted. When doing this the younger leaders must be given responsibilities and the ability to execute the leadership responsibilities. The new leader must also feel the weight of the heavy burdens and the power of the final decisions. The goal of leadership development should not be just to develop leaders but develop leaders that are going to do a better job than you, this ensures that are qualified leaders to carry on the work of God.