There is a global crisis going on, and it is the crisis of leadership. If anyone doubts this, consider the election of populist leaders in several major countries, the current refugee influx and the xenophobic response, “Brexit,” and the so-called Islamic State. If John Maxwell is correct when he says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” the current leadership crisis begs the question: What kind of leader is worthy of following?
THE KIND OF LEADER THE WORLD NEEDS
If we want to exercise positive influence (leadership) in our world, it is essential we answer that very question, and then decide what kind of leader we want to be. Years ago, author J. Oswald Sanders wrote a book titled “Spiritual Leadership.” In its pages, Sanders compares natural leaders to spiritual leaders. Though written over half a century ago, his distinctions are still relevant today. There are significant differences between natural and spiritual leaders. In essence, natural leaders influence others from human personality, while spiritual leaders have their own personality “initiated and interpenetrated and empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
NATURAL LEADERS VS. SPIRITUAL LEADERS*
Here are five important distinctions between natural and spiritual leaders:
The Source. Natural leaders influence from their natural abilities, while spiritual leaders lead from their relationship with God and their sense of divine calling and purpose.
The Confidence. Natural leaders require self-confidence in their ability to influence. Spiritual leaders lead by faith. Their confidence comes from their walk with God and their trust in His purposes.
The Authority. Natural leaders need authority given to them by either their position or their earned respect. Spiritual leaders also need to be respected and recognized, and the source of their authority is supernatural, springing up from their relationship with God and His vision for their lives.
The Motivation. The best natural leaders are servant leaders, motivated by a desire to improve people’s lives. The spiritual leaders’ motivation is service to God.
The Measure of Success. Natural leadership can measure success by the bottom line or how others are built up. Spiritual leadership looks at one bottom line: “Thy Kingdom come.”
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP IN REAL LIFE
The idea of spiritual leadership is often associated with pastors, church leaders, or the non-profit sector. While those are obvious connections, spiritual leadership is much more than “religious” leadership. It is perfectly possible to be a spiritual leader in other areas of life including in business, government, and even military. It is not so much about where we lead as it is about where our leadership comes from.
Where does your leadership come from?
Who do you trust?
Who is the source of your authority?
What is your motivation to lead?
How do you know you are being successful?
*SANDERS, J. OSWALD. SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP. 1st ed. [S.l.]: MOODY PRESS, 2017. Print.