Posted: July 12, 2012 by James Harvey
On to chapter 2 of J. Oswald Sanders classic, Spiritual Leadership. The church is always in need of leaders, but the church's leaders are of a different kind than that leaders in other organizations. Knowing the difference between what I call (following Sanders) spiritual and natural leadership is vital to the spiritual health of every ministry in the church. Someone may be a great "leader" in their company but a terrible leader in the church. Why? They do not approach the work of ministry from a God seeking disposition. In fact, it is likely that no serious consideration was given to their spiritual life before they assumed a leadership position in the church. This situation leads to a great problem in the church: the church can have people in "religious positions" who are not in fact genuine spiritual leaders.
Religious position can be conferred by bishops and boards, but not spiritual authority, which is the prime essential of Christian leadership. This comes--often unsought--to those who in earlier life have proved themselves worthy of it by spirituality, discipline, ability and diligence. Men who have heeded the command: 'Seekest thought great things for thyself? Seek them not,' and instead have sought first the kingdom of God. Spiritual leadership is a thing of the Spirit and is conferred by God alone.
These God seeking, spiritual leaders have a distinctive quality to their leadership:
The overriding need of the church, if it is to discharge its obligation to the rising generation, is for a leadership that is authoritative, spiritual and sacrificial. Authoritative, because people love to be led by one who knows where he is going and who inspires confidence. They follow almost without question that man who shows himself wise and strong, who adheres to what he believes. Spiritual, because a leadership that is unspiritual, that can be fully explained in terms of the natural, although ever so attractive and competent, will result only in sterility and moral and spiritual bankruptcy. Sacrificial, because modeled on the life of the One who gave Himself a sacrifice for the whole world, who left us an example that we should follow His steps.
Many of us lead somebody, and all of us follow somebody. If you are leading, then seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all things needed for leadership will be added to you. If you are following, constantly remind yourself that spiritual leaders have to lead spiritually, and not according to the techno-glitz, rapid results culture in which we live.