Book Review: Spiritual Leadership

I picked up a book again that’s been in my collection for some time now. I received it at one of the Bible schools I went to when I was training to be a pastor. It was our text book in a class on Christian leadership. This is actually the second edition of Spiritual Leadership I have had. This is the first time I recall rereading the whole thing versus just picking up bits and pieces.

There’s a lot of focus on leadership today outside and inside the church. This book specifically focuses on leadership within the church. While the Bible doesn’t use the term leader like we do today the principle is there. This book unpacks church leadership from a Biblical perspective. While leadership may be defined as influence today Sanders comes at it from a different vantage point.

I felt more of the weight and cost of leadership in his writings than in anything else I’ve read from anyone today. That isn’t to say that modern leadership books are bad or wrong. J. Oswald Sanders just comes at it from a different direction. I feel this book is more the heart of leadership than just the principles of leadership.

Yes, he does share some principles in the from of “essentials for leadership” but it goes beyond that. We see the characteristics of Bible leaders in his writings. It goes beyond the hands of leadership into the spirit or heart of leadership. He contrasts natural and spiritual leadership. He asks key questions that every leader must ask themselves to qualify or disqualify themselves from leadership. Insight and examples from Peter, Paul, Jesus, Nehemiah, give us encouragement.

He encourages leaders to pass it on through discipleship, delegation, mentorship and growing other leaders. He reminds the leader of their responsibilities, tests, and dangers. Growth is our responsibility as we submit to God and His ways. We are reminded that we can’t lead outside the power of the Holy Spirit and that is always a welcome reminder. What are you getting your leadership strength from? If you are trusting in your own wisdom, principles, or power you may find yourself soon like Solomon saying “meaningless, meaningless”.

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