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Getting a Handle on Spiritual Leadership
What are church leaders supposed to do?

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If we want to do a good job as spiritual leaders, it's important to know what we're actually supposed to do! As obvious as that sounds, many people who are being promoted by God to accept a role of kingdom leadership in the lives of fellow believers neglect to think through what, exactly, that means. Because we are sincere in our desire to do what God wants us to do for the sake of others, we bravely launch into spiritual leadership, but most of us have a nagging suspicion that we do not know what we're doing.

We start off the job feeling inadequate to the task, and it doesn't take many days before we realize the unspoken doubt we had about ourselves is true. Subsequently, our thoughts run down a predictable path: Somebody made a mistake in asking me to be a leader … should I wait until I'm found out as a fraud, or should I quit before I do real damage in someone's life?

Add to this feeling of inadequacy the fear of failure—that we'll be blamed for our mistakes—and most sensible people want to avoid becoming spiritual leaders at all. Those who already have that designation search for reasons why their life is too [fill in the blank] to continue; or, they focus on the getting things done (running meetings, organizing events, helping people with problems, receiving more training, etc.).

All the while, they try to be as inconspicuous as possible, hoping that if they do not disturb anything or draw any attention to themselves, nobody will challenge their (non-existent) leadership credentials.

Cultural Divide

Current church culture frequently promotes a clear separation between clergy and laity—the professional spiritual leaders (pastors/staff) on one side of the divide, and all the rest of the congregation on the other. Church services have obvious demographics: one tiny group of people talks or sings in front of the other, much larger group of people.

Even those of us who pastor today feel like phonies because our years of sitting in church services that were led by real leaders (i.e., our mentors or predecessors) convinced us we are not adequate to the task.

Consequently, most people in congregations believe that there really are two categories of believers: leaders and non-leaders. Whew, many godly and wonderful believers think to themselves, I'm glad I'm not called to be a leader! And yet, Jesus reminds us that the least in the kingdom of God is (potentially) more of a spiritual powerhouse than the prophets of old (Matthew 11:11).

The Bible truth is simple and unequivocal on the subject: though we do have different roles within the whole Body, each and every believer is intended by God to disciple and lead others into kingdom life. If we define a spiritual leader as someone with a Hollywood personality and a commanding stage presence, then I will concede that we are not all leaders.

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Topics:Leadership, Leadership development, Spiritual Leadership
Filters:Pastor, Pastoral care
References:Isaiah 61:1-4, Acts 1:1-11, 2 Corinthians 10, Ephesians 4:7-16

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Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

pst joshua odero

November 28, 2011  6:40am

god bless you all, you are real a blessing to my life.

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omodara abe

October 30, 2011  3:42am

The church is a haven to protect the faith therefore you are sure you are not called do not force yourself to lead the people.

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October 30, 2011  3:31am

The character of leader are known.Some are called by God they speak and act as directed by God with devine wisdom.So with this kind of character you need not to ask people because you are conscense to it.On the other hand those who are not called persecute Jesus and the Church like those pastors who allowed homosexual or even practice,are a leader what is this?1Timothy3,1Timothy5,6

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David Troublefield

October 27, 2011  8:13pm

If "leader," then: identify a future preferred over current reality. But church "manager" also is important: diagnosis current aspects of the congregation (almost anyone can spot a problem; fewer can envision a preferred future). But church "administrator" is critical: develop a realistic workable plan guiding a congregation from its present state to its preferred future (seem to be very, very few of these people in the church today--cf. the condition of Southern Baptist Convention congregations, for example: 70% are plateaued/declining in terms of their attendance--and 100% of those 32,000+ churches are led by senior pastors).

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