A Must Read for Spiritual Leaders!

17 04 2018

418HvjpKd-L._SY346_Cream rises to the top.  That is what I always have heard.  For the past couple of years I’ve been listening to numerous podcasts about leadership and I have read plenty of blog posts as well.  When asked what books have influenced their leadership the most, the one book that continues to rise to the top is none other than J. Oswald Sanders’ book entitled Spiritual Leadership published by Moody.

I’m so glad to finally have this classic on my book shelf and the publisher Moody has recently updated it by changing the wording so that it can speak to the culture of our day.  They were careful to remain faithful to his original meaning.  They also added helpful endnotes that helped you identify many of the authorities cited in the book since they may not be known by the modern reader.  Another change was in the Scripture translation used to once again help the modern reader in his reading.

This book originally grew out of two series of messages that were originally spoken to the leaders of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship at conferences in Singapore in 1964 and 1966.  After numerous requests these messages were eventually put into book form.

The truths in this book are timeless and fit any time period.  Below you will find a summary of each chapter:

  • The author begins by showing that our ambition to lead must center on the glory of God and the welfare of the church. When we do this we are a mighty force for good.
  • That in this search for leaders we must realize that it is God alone who makes them therefore, a person must quality to be a spiritual leader. They begin by first seeking the Kingdom of God and at the appropriate time God will anoint that person with the Holy Spirit and calls them to a specific ministry.
  • To find what an ideal leader looks like, look no further than Jesus who took the form of a servant. The author in chapter 3 speaks to the qualities that were found in Jesus and the qualities that will make us into great servant leaders.
  • In chapter 4 he talks about the difference between a natural and a spiritual leader. There is no such thing as a self-made spiritual leader.  A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he leads.
  • In chapter 5 he asks if I can become a leader. He speaks about how Jesus took a group of men who many would never have pegged as a leader and turned them into a group powerfully used by God.  He asks a series of questions for us to mull over and then encourages us to work on our weaknesses.  Most of these questions have to do with character than ability.
  • Chapter 6 dives into the leadership teaching of Paul and looks specifically at the Scripture in 1 Timothy which speaks to the qualities of an overseer.
  • Peter is another one who spoke on leadership in 1 Peter when he addresses his fellow shepherds. Chapter 7 takes a close look as to what he had to say about leadership and how he may have learned these qualities from his past failures and successes.
  • Chapter eight takes us through a list of essential qualities of leadership: discipline, vision, wisdom, decision, courage, humility, integrity, and sincerity.
  • In chapter 9 he gives us even more qualities including the appropriate use of humor, the right use of anger, the need for patience, the power of friendship, the use of tact and diplomacy, the incredible power of inspiration, the use of executive ability, the therapy of listening, and the art of letter writing.
  • According to chapter 10, a spiritual leader can do without many things but he/she cannot do without being Spirit-filled. They must be controlled by the Spirit of God.
  • If you want to know how the author feels about prayer and leadership in chapter 11, all you have to do is see his first sentence of this chapter which reads, “The spiritual leader should outpace the rest of the church, above all, in prayer.”
  • The use of time will tell you much about the quality of a person’s leadership. That is what the author says in chapter 12, where he convicts us of the fact that the president has and Jesus had the same 24 hours that we do each day.
  • In chapter 13 the author instructs that we should choose our books like we choose our friends, which speaks to the power of reading. I loved a quote that John Wesley spoke to his young ministers that he was influencing, “Read or get out of the ministry.”  There is also helpful proven strategies for making your reading profitable in this chapter.
  • Chapter 14 is about improving your leadership by recognizing your weaknesses, making corrections, and cultivating strengths. There is a great guide written by Hudson Taylor to help in doing that in this chapter.
  • Self-sacrifice, loneliness, fatigue, criticism, rejection, pressure, perplexity, and cost to others are a summary of the cost that one finds in leadership. In chapter 15 he discusses the cost and how to focus on the rewards instead.
  • Chapter 16 was his lesson on the responsibilities of leadership. According to the author leaders are to serve, apply discipline at times, provide guidance, and show initiative.
  • There will always be tests of leadership. In chapter 17 he discussed the different tests that can come against a leader such as compromise, ambition, facing impossible situations where the leader must go forward, failure, and jealousy.
  • A leader cannot stand alone and must delegate responsibility to others. Using the example of Moses, the author shows in chapter 18 that to fail to delegate is a failure in using the resources that God has provided us.  It hurts the leader but it hurts the people that could have used their talents in service as well.
  • A leader will not last forever. In chapter 19 the author speaks about trusting God when it is time for a leader to move on.  The work is not built entirely upon the leader but upon his awesome God.
  • Chapter 20 is about reproducing leaders and the responsibility that a leader has to provide those under him the opportunity to exercise and develop their own powers. What struck me about this chapter is that we don’t advertise the end that we have in view but rather take the pattern of Jesus and teach them to serve.  He also went into detail how this is hard personal work and shouldn’t be done on a mass scale.
  • Chapter 21 discusses the perils of leader, the dangers that the enemy may attempt to exploit in our life such as: pride; egotism; jealousy; popularity; infallibility; indispensability; elation and depression; prophet or leader; and disqualification.
  • The last chapter is a look at the life of Nehemiah and the qualities that made him a strong leader.

I highly recommend this book and now understand why other top notch leaders do as well.  It is a timeless classic that should be on the book shelf of every leader, especially every spiritual leader.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.




Does Your Church Welcome?

17 04 2018

765452You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  That is something that I have personally reminded my first impressions team at the church that I pastor.  That statement and more like it were reinforced to me in Thom S. Rainer’s book Becoming a Welcoming Church, published by B&H.

In this book Rainer challenges us to think through whether or not we are as welcoming as we think that we truly are.  When we take an honest look into the mirror, we find that when we think that we are friendly and welcoming, we are really focused on ourselves and not outsiders.  It is so easy to get complacent and therefore lacking in this area.

This short book by Rainer encourages you to look at your church from the eyes of an outsider.  Discussions about signs, websites, safety, cleanliness, greeters, and welcome centers are vital.  They are short but concise.  He touches so many areas of the church in so little time.  What I like about this book is that this is something that I can hand to my leaders and be assured that they will read it.

Each chapter has a list of discussion questions that could help you or a small group think deeper about your own situation.  I found the questions to be very helpful.  There is also a church facility audit in the back of the book as well as a secret guest survey that one might give to someone that you have attend a Sunday at your church to see how you are doing.

This is a very helpful book and there is a companion book entitled We Want You Here that can actually be presented to first time guests of your church.

Yes, I do recommend this book to you and your guest services team.  I plan to share it with mine.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.

When God Wants to Drill a Man

10 04 2018

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.

– Anonymous