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A Snapshot of Spiritual Leadership

Written by Chuck Olson

It was time well-spent.

Sitting outdoors (certainly the only option during the days of social distancing). Enjoying chicken kabobs, grilled vegetables, and pita bread with hummus. Spending time with a handful of colleagues. A veritable trifecta.

Our preloaded conversation was about spiritual leadership. Understanding it. Defining it. And most of all, living it.

Taking a lap around the table, each of us divvied out our take on spiritual leadership. When it was my turn at-bat, I offered this description: Spiritual leadership ultimately is a sacred stewardship whereby a person influences, serves, and inspires others to fulfill God’s purposes based on the intimate work of God in their own life.

Spiritual leadership ultimately is a sacred stewardship whereby a person influences, serves, and inspires others to fulfill God’s purposes based on the intimate work of God in their own life.

Let’s break down that definition a bit…

Spiritual leadership is a sacred stewardship. It is something that God hands off, entrusts to you. And true to form like any other stewardship, there is a built-in anticipation that leaders will manage well that which has been committed to them. This is the big idea of the parable of the talents found in New Testament where ROI is a fundamental, non-negotiable expectation.

Spiritual leadership is about influence and service and inspiration. Think about the leaders who have stamped their imprint on you. They influenced your thinking, your attitude, your perspective, your priorities, your life. They served you by calling out something in you that you did not see in yourself or opened a door for you that on your own you may not have discovered. And they inspired you by modeling for you that at the end of the day leadership is about putting it all on the line for a cause that is big, that is noble, that is lasting.

Spiritual leadership is about leading people in the direction of God’s purposes. What’s the delta between everyday leaders and spiritual leaders? The former works their agenda, the latter God’s. A spiritual leader is constantly in discovery mode, seeking to comprehend the unfolding chapters of God’s plans for His people. He knows that his job is not to develop the plans, but to discern them.

A spiritual leader is constantly in discovery mode, seeking to comprehend the unfolding chapters of God’s plans for His people.

Spiritual leadership is about leading out from the intimate work of God in your life. When it is all said and done, a spiritual leader needs no convincing that leadership is ultimately leading with your life. It’s inside out—God works deeply in you so that He might work powerfully through you. In His leadership economy, everything you do is an extension of His presence and power in your life. He intends to maximize your most important leadership asset: YOU.

In God’s leadership economy, everything you do is an extension of His presence and power in your life.

What would be your single-sentence statement of what it means to be a spiritual leader?

If you don’t have one, you’re welcome to borrow mine—but only until you’ve crafted your own. Every spiritual leader needs their own definition, handwritten in their own words, emphasizing their own journey, their personal experience, and their settled understanding. Because like the windshield wipers on your Dodge Charger, your statement will provide you with essential clarity when the storms of leadership blow into town.

Signature Chuck

 

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Chuck

Chuck Olson

Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders. As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, he is passionate about empowering Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.

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