October 25, 2006, 11:20 am
Filed under: Leadership

Last week, we said: In order to lead effectively, we must be humbled and transformed by the cross of Christ. As we move forward with outworking leadership, we must keep this at the forefront of our minds and hearts.


What does spiritual leadership mean anyway? A few years ago, when I first became a Christian, I would have balked at such a discussion on a blog. I might have asked:

Why would someone care about leading?
Does it really matter? Are there any consequences?
Who/what are they leading anyway?
Do I really have to worry about leading anyone but myself?
How does all this affect me?

What is spiritual leadership?

John Piper defines spiritual leadership as “knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there in reliance on God’s power. … Therefore, the [ultimate] goal of spiritual leadership is that people come to know God and to glorify him in all that they do.”

Interestingly, Piper’s definition contains two major aspects:

1. Spiritual leadership is about placing people where God wants them to be. This means that spiritual leadership is not primarily about the leader. Oftentimes, we think leadership is based on our gifting, our talents, our abilities, our desire, our hard work, etc. But Piper reminds us that leadership is about moving people. It is about motivating people, not manipulating people. It is about cultivating people, not controlling people. It is about developing people, not dictating people.

As an aside: all men are leaders. We are always leading. There is not one day that goes by that we do not lead. The question is not, therefore, whether we lead, but, rather, to whom and for whom we lead.

2. The goal is to know God and to glorify Him. This is the single goal of spiritual leadership. Oftentimes, even spiritually, we think the goal is getting praise for our work, getting commendation for our gifting and talents, feeling “accomplished” in our own hearts, etc. However, the spiritual leader is about knowing and glorifying God. This is his goal.

Where are you?
How are you leading people right now in your life?
Are you encouraging people to pursue God?
Are you leading them away from him?
Do you lead people to yourself or to God?
Do you lead in order that you may be praised or that God might be honored?


2 Comments so far
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Leadership,….hmmmm,…yes. I have a 6 yr old son that is one of the people that I have been called to lead. I try not to beat the Bible and God into him. I lead very much by example and practical lessons from God that we see. I will say that the honesty and openness of children is very often humbling. One night he was saying his prayers and going through the list of people that he wanted God to watch over, and he eventually finished and said, “…oh, and God, please watch over and keep Yourself safe.” I stoped and thought for a second, “Who teaches him this?” What fertile ground for the Lord to use. Now, JUST LAST NIGHT, he was saying his prayers and was concerned about two people I told him about who don’t know the Lord. One is a good friend of mine. Anyway, he was talking with God and said that he wished they knew Him. What a kid! At the end of his prayer, he said, “Thank you God for letting me know you.” I think I felt the world stop for just a second as God stopped right there and said surprisedly, “Your welcome.” I know why theology is flawed with the last statement, but it did seem that everything did stop for about one second. I don’t tell him what to say or how to say it. I just let him here my prayers when we are together. I think this boy will grow up to be a great leader for his family one day. I see that the Holy Spirit really does have his hands on my youngest boys’ life. It makes a father proud! I actually had to echo his prayer last night when I thanked God for letting me know him too. Hmmmmm,…who’s leading who here? Now, that’s leadership at its finest. Who was the most edifying last night. It’s not necessarily age that determines true leadership. We’ll all do well to remember that.

He is alive and at work in our very lives. Amen!

Comment by Fritz

I guess I’m the only here today. I wish someone would delete the first entry. It’s the shorter one.

Comment by Fritz

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