What is Spiritual Leadership?

According to Henry and Richard Blackaby, “Spiritual leadership is moving people on to God’s agenda.” Ok, what does that entail?

1. The spiritual leader’s task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

“This is influence. Once spiritual leaders understand God’s will, they make every effort to move their followers from following their own agendas to pursuing God’s purposes. People who fail to move people on to God’s agenda have not led. They may have exhorted, cajoled, pleaded, or bullied, but they will not have led unless their people have adjusted their lives to God’s will.”

2. Spiritual leaders depend on the Holy Spirit.

“Spiritual leaders work within a paradox, for God calls them to do something that, in fact, only God can do. Ultimately, spiritual leaders cannot produce spiritual change in people; only the Holy Spirit can accomplish this. Yet the Spirit often uses people to bring about spiritual growth in others.”

3. Spiritual leaders are accountable to God.

“Spiritual leadership necessitates an acute sense of accountability. Just as a teacher has not taught until students have learned, leaders don’t blame their followers when they don’t do what they should do. Leaders don’t make excuses. They assume their responsibility is to move people to do God’s will. Until they do this, they have not yet fulfilled their role as leaders.”

4. Spiritual leaders can influence all people, not just God’s people.

“An important reality that must not be overlooked is that spiritual leaders can influence all people, not just God’s people. God is on mission at the local factory as well as at the local church. His agenda applies in the marketplace as well as the meeting place. Although spiritual leaders will generally move God’s people to achieve God’s purposes, God can also use them to exert a significant godly influence upon unbelievers.”

5. Spiritual leaders work from God’s agenda.

“The greatest obstacle to effective spiritual leadership is people pursuing their own agendas rather than seeking God’s will. God is working throughout the world to achieve his purposes and to advance his kingdom. God’s concern is not to advance leaders’ dreams and goals or to build their kingdoms. His purpose is to turn his people away from their self-centeredness and their sinful desires and draw them into a relationship with himself.”

Adapted from pages 20-23 of Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby.

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