Spiritual Leadership – Part 6

In the first five segments of this spiritual leadership mini-series, I’ve dealt with issues that are specific to a leaders inner life (spiritual disciplines, Sabbath rest, listening attentively, knowing their true selves, and crafting a personal rule of life). However, none of these lead to mature spiritual vitality unless lived out in a wider context of community.

Spiritual leaders know the importance of spiritual community and the significance of serving others as a team.

Community is best understood in the biblical text via the various “one anothers” that are espoused by Jesus Himself and leaders like the Apostle Paul. Jesus’ almost exclusive focus is on loving one another and being at peace with one another. In the various letters Paul wrote to the churches he founded, his pastoral urgings are toward: being devoted to one another, giving preference to one another, serving one another, encouraging one another, bearing one another’s burdens, urging one another to love and good deeds, teaching and admonishing one another, and being kind, tender-hearted and forgiving to each other.

Whenever possible, spiritual leaders will hold the community of faith accountable to such attributes. And, the healthy spiritual leader will more importantly embody these him or herself. The one anothers in the Scriptures are there for a reason…to build up unity, strength, and commonality among the people of God. Is that your experience today?

In addition to the prioritization of community, spiritual leaders also create healthy teams who serve side by side for the glory of God and the edification of others. Spiritual leaders understand that their role is to equip the team for the work of ministry, rather than do it all themselves. The work of ministry is balancing a life with God in the contemplative place of prayerfulness and obedience to Christ, with active service meeting the needs of those to whom the team has been called. Healthy teams embody the traits of: Trust- toward God and one another; Empowerment-of each member of the team; Assimilation- synergistically combining efforts; Management- of the stuff and substance of ministry; and Service- always keeping in mind the greater needs of others. (For more detail on these traits, read my book Becoming A Healthy Team!).

Living life in community and serving others as a team are the first circle of the outward manifestations of godly spiritual leadership. What is the current condition of your spiritual community and the health of your ministry team? How will you positively contribute to both in this coming week?

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