The Role of Spiritual Leaders in the Church

It was happening again! Children and pre-teens were peering in the windows and doors during the youth conference and training sessions. They wanted to be a part of the learning and fun that was taking place. However, they were too young! Soon they began disrupting the sessions and making a nuisance of themselves. Feeling a strong sense of responsibility to provide good training, youth training teams assigned some of their members to stand guard and to chase the children away when they became too rowdy. Some of the trainees began to ask their trainers what to do about this problem. It had become very difficult to train youth with the children making disturbances. They agreed to pray about it. The Lord gave the answer!

Why not train some of the youth how to work with children instead of chasing them away? they could train the local youth to be leaders and teachers in the local churches, some could become Sunday School teachers, and some would develop leadership skills through the training. The idea was put into action. As a result, youth are teaching other youth to teach children!

The youth leaders had learned a valuable lesson: An important key to leadership is thinking beyond the problem to the solution. As Spiritual Leaders, we go to God for the solution. He will supply it as we ask for HIS agenda. Let’s look at some roles and responsibilities of a Spiritual Leader.

Pastor/Priest: Provide Spiritual Formation
God is looking for sanctified servants. When we understand leadership in the light of God’s calling on our lives, we will be prepared to lead effectively in God’s kingdom — the church. At any level of church leadership, there is a strong component of the pastoral role. Influence, enabled by right relationship, is very important. If we are in right relationship with God, right relationship with people will follow. Influence flows out of right relationship. Spiritual influence has to flow from God. A Spiritual Leader’s greatest challenge is to know God’s agenda both for the organization and for the leader within the organization. Knowing God’s agenda will empower his leadership and inspire his followers.

The leader whose heart is sanctified and steeped in God’s Holy Spirit will be a leader who is fully submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and His agenda. His heart will be God’s heart. His desires will be God’s desires. His agenda will be God’s agenda. His character will be a Godly character. His ability to be continuously responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit will be so important to him that his own spiritual formation, and that of his people, will be his top concern. If he is not carefully looking out for his own spiritual development, commiuni0n with God will be broken or weakened and he may wander off on his own, leading his followers astray.

Encourager: Provide Inspiration and Motivation:
The Spiritual Leader needs to foster an atmosphere where-in his people will also desire to know God’s agenda and will be motivated to pray until they learn God’s will for both their organization and for themselves. The Spiritual Leader provides inspiration and motivation to his fellow leaders in the role of “Encourager”.

Clear and repeated communication of the organizational goals, priorities, and objectives is absolutely necessary for providing inspiration and motivation., Frequent meetings and contact with people are important for inspiration, and for reinforcing motivation. Repeat the vision and mission statements of the organization often, both for the leader’s benefit as well as for the members’.

Vision Caster: Provide God-led Direction
A Spiritual Leader is responsible to provide Godly guidance to the leaders around him — through relational influence – to set the organization on the right path toward God’s agenda together. This must be the God-given vision that comes from close communion with God. Vision is the rudder that sets the direction. Without vision, the people perish. Without vision, the organization perishes, and along with it, the leader. Someone has said a leader without vision is not a leader at all. A Spiritual Leader without a vision is a grave danger to the church.

Strategist: Planning and Development
In the role of strategist, the leader works with those around him to develop strategic plans that will set the direction for the organization according to God’s agenda. In this role, the leader helps the members of the organization discover God’s divine purpose for their organization, evaluate who they are, what their purpose is, how and when to get there. The leader must help facilitate the organization in setting out a strategic plan and setting it in motion.

The development comes through implementing the strategic plan. It includes a means of regular evaluation and adjustment of the plan, as well as adjustment of actions to meet the goals of the plan. Setting strategy in motion without an action plan for evaluating progress is a sure plan for failure. A Spiritual Leader in the role of strategist must always keep God’s purpose for both the organization and himself in focus. All strategy and development must lead toward that purpose. Whatever activities are not moving toward the divine purpose should be eliminated.

Mentor: Identifying, Developing, Equipping, and Enabling Leaders
The Spiritual Leader as Mentor carries the greatest challenge for a Spiritual Leader. The Spiritual Leader must “IDEE” the leaders around him. This includes Identifying Emerging leaders, Developing and Equipping them for leadership and, Enabling them for their task. No one can do the task alone! Identifying others to bring alongside you to help, to train, and to release them to carry their share of the load, is the only way leadership can mature and expand, and the organization can continue to grow. For the Church, growth is what we are all about! Evangelism — winning souls for Jesus — brings growth. Without growth, the church is dead and people perish without God.

Identify Emerging Leaders: The Spiritual Leader must always keep his eyes open to spot upcoming, emerging leaders. He must be prepared to invest himself in them and help move them toward maturity in their walk with the Lord and in leadership development. This means spending significant time with them, both in significant quantity and in significant quality.

Develop the leaders around you: Leaders who are developing learn not only from books but also by rubbing shoulders with leaders they respect and admire. This is mentoring. Mentoring must be done on purpose, in person, and with a plan. Know where each potential leader is in his development process. Keep notes on his development and what you can do to help him take the next steps.

Equip your leaders: Every leader needs leadership and management skills in his toolkit. A little education in leadership can go a long way. There is an incredibly large number of good books and authors you can share with your growing leaders. Whet his appetite for learning with books, materials, seminars, and training sessions. Any leader who is not growing and learning is not a leader! Another way to get those tools is by rubbing shoulders with a stronger leader who will pass on various learned skills. A Spiritual Leader must also find a way to instil within his people a deep and abiding hunger and a desire to feast on the things of God, and to nurture his relationship with God.

Enable your leaders: Perhaps one of the most important aspects of mentoring is to enable the growing leader by giving him the authority that goes with the assignment. Yes, he will make mistakes. Only those who try can make mistakes. It is part of learning. Let your leaders lead, and support their leadership in front of others, especially in front of those they lead. Coach them in private, never in public. Enable them by empowering them with the authority to carry out the responsibility you have entrusted to them. One of the worst mistakes a leader can make is to delegate a task or authority to someone and then take it back. Guide them gently as needed to keep them going in the right direction. Remind them of the vision, the mission, and the priorities, keep them accountable, and give them the authority to be a success.

Posted January 18, 2021 by Don Gardner in Uncategorized

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