There are two ways we can talk about spiritual leadership: a position and practice.
A position of spiritual leadership includes pastors, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, Christian parents, ministry leaders, and anyone entrusted to any degree with the spiritual well-being of others.
In practice, however, not all who serve in these positions lead spiritually. We all know people who have been in a position of spiritual leadership but have lived carnal lives or led with fleshly methods. (We began Spiritual Leadership Conference thirty years ago to encourage all leaders in the practices of spiritual leadership.)
Spiritual leadership involves leading people in the path of God’s grace. It requires that we, by grace, inspire, encourage, bear burdens, and above all, point people to Christ and the development of Christlikeness in their lives.
Fleshly leadership, on the other hand, pushes an agenda. Fleshly leaders and spiritual leaders may use similar semantics, but their goals are different. Rather than helping people grow in grace and the inside-out process of Spirit-led transformation, they push people into a mold or guilt them into helping to build a ministry as a monument to the leader.
Many of the leadership principles exercised in ministry today are borrowed from secular platforms and conveniently renamed. While there is knowledge to be gained from secular resources, spiritual leaders must embrace the Word of God as the only authoritative textbook for Christian leadership. God’s Word “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), and its truths should shape our basic leadership beliefs, paradigm, and goals.
Although most, if not all, Christian leaders would agree on the necessity of God’s Word for leadership, many do not model these convictions through Christlike methods of leadership. In part, this failure happens because conformity to the image of Christ is the process of a lifetime, so none of us model spiritual growth as well or as consistently as we aspire to.
But I think there’s a larger reason for the shortcoming in spiritual leadership: sometimes leaders have the wrong idea of what biblical leadership is in the first place.
Godly spiritual leaders are shepherds not saviors, leaders not lords, guides not gods.Godly spiritual leaders are shepherds not saviors, leaders not lords, guides not gods. Click To Tweet
As spiritual leaders, our goal must be Christ—not recognition or results. It is only as we humble ourselves to grow in God’s grace that the Holy Spirit trains our attitudes and ambitions to reflect the mind of Christ.
Spiritual leadership fails when a leader is not grace-filled. Yet, many ministry leaders today attempt to lead without a grace-filled life; and some, while using verbiage centered on grace, twist grace to their own interpretations. Neither of these types of leaders produces grace-filled churches with mature, godly Christians, for only God’s grace can produce true spiritual leadership within a ministry.Spiritual leadership fails when a leader is not grace-filled. Click To Tweet
The need for grace-driven leadership is why twenty-one years, in my own journey of growth in grace, ago I wrote the book Guided by Grace: Servant Leadership for the Local Church.
Much has taken place in the past twenty-one years since I first wrote that book, and I decided that it was time for an updated and expanded edition. (This new edition releases next week—more on that in a moment.) As I updated the manuscript for this second edition, I was thankful to have additional content to add throughout each chapter. God has continued to help me grow in grace and in servant leadership.
Throughout this book, we explore how God’s grace can
- Shape a spiritual leader’s philosophy.
- Sustain a spiritual leader through challenges.
- Enable a spiritual leader to build a team of co-laborers.
- Equip a spiritual leader to develop new leaders.
Grace is an absolute necessity for the spiritual leader who longs to make a lasting difference for the cause of Christ and in the lives of others. It is a resource freely given to us by God. And it is an area in which we can continue to grow throughout our entire Christian journey.Grace is an absolute necessity for the spiritual leader who longs to make a lasting difference for the cause of Christ and in the lives of others. Click To Tweet
If you have never read Guided by Grace, I hope you will and trust that you will be helped through reading it and applying its grace-based practices in your spheres of influence and leadership.
If you read the first edition of this book, I think you’ll find this second edition a good refresher. It has some redundancies cut as well as fresh material added. An additional feature is a “to remember” section at the end of each chapter, summarizing main takeaways of the chapter.
My goal is writing and rewriting this book has been to point readers to the greatest servant leader of all—Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, my desire for myself, for those I am privileged to lead, and for you is that we would each continue to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).
Early Release Bonus
We will be releasing this updated edition of Guided by Grace at Spiritual Leadership Conference next week.
But for readers of this blog, if you preorder by Sunday, October 3, you can 25% off. This means that by preordering, you can receive the hardback book at the kindle edition price. Simply use code GBG25 at checkout on strivingtogether.com.
I pray the Lord will use this book to encourage you in your journey of grace-filled, Christ-centered spiritual leadership.
Get posts delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe today and receive a FREE minibook download: Striving Together for the Cause of Christ.