General Summary of the Essence of the Book
In his book, Oswald applies the Bible’s wisdom and matches it with Bible character qualities then includes the advice of many renowned past and present Christian leaders. The book offers a great reference point on how to practice and uphold spiritual leadership. In the first chapter, Oswald introduces the concept of ambition to lead and highlights how this can be from either a noble reason or self-driving reason.The author warns that people ought to guard against the ambition to lead, for self-driving purposes. The motives in leadership are indicated as having the potential to either limit or enhance the results that can be achieved by the ministry. It is noted that the best motivation to take up a position of leadership should be to serve God as well as others through the position of leadership. These two endeavors are in line with the greatest commandment offered by Jesus regarding loving God and loving one’s neighbors. The author indicates that the main objective of spiritual leadership should be servant leadership.
The second Chapter of this book deals with the process of searching for leaders. The author makes a note that the church has inadequate real spiritual leaders. It is indicated that none of the leaders chosen by God is perfect, but God uses them despite their shortcoming. Spiritual leadership demands total sacrifice, which explains why only a few people are engaged in leadership, succeed. The sacrifice requires individuals to surrender to God and search for His transformation. Leaders who fail to lead the followers towards improved spirituality causes their spiritual stumbling. The idea of servant-leadership is further expounded on the topic dealing with Masters Principle. It is expected that for one to be in sight of God, they must be ready to serve. Leadership is not about expressing authority to the people, instead, it is about nurturing and guiding the followers in love. Spiritual leadership is compared to Isaiah’s prophecy on the coming of the Messiah where six characteristics of the Spiritual leadership emerge. These include; total dependence on God, approval of God, modesty, empathy, and sympathy with the condition of others, optimism, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The author compares the differences between the natural and spiritual leaders. The natural leader is expressed as self-confident, understands people, makes personal decisions, driven by ambition, comes up with own methods, and is independent. On the other hand, a spiritual leader is explained as one who is humble, abides by God’s example, is happy in obeying God, has love for God and others. The book includes a test to help individuals unearth their potential in leadership and discover their natural ability, and/or spiritual giftedness. Apostle Paul is discussed in the book, to offer insights on leadership. The qualification of Paul as an effective leader is categorized into social, moral, mental, personality, and domestic. The author also refers to Peter’s leadership highlighting his natural abilities and shepherd’s heart. The book then offers a discussion on the essential qualities of a leader, which include discipline, vision, wisdom, decision, courage, humility, integrity, and sincerity.
The Holy Spirit is indicated as being critical to the development of the spiritual leader. A key example of this is drawn from the story of Stephen on the condition for his appointment as a deacon, where it is deemed as important for individuals serving in positions of leadership to prove they have a will provided by the Holy Spirit. The book expounds on how leaders can lead a powerful and comforting life, be good time managers, engage in the art of reading, understand the cost of leadership such as loneliness, fatigue, criticism, rejection, pressure, and perplexity. The book highlights the responsibilities of spiritual leaders and emphasizes the need to act as representatives of Christ.
Personal Interaction and Critique of the Principles
I am glad this book came my way. I really enjoyed reading it, and I will certainly read it again. The book was well structured and with a clear breakdown of issues affecting leaders. The book helped me understand an issue that had for long clogged my mind, on the desire to take up a position of leadership. It is now clear to me that what matters is the nature of motivation. The connection between spiritual leadership and servant leadership made reflect on the teaching of Jesus that the greatest people were those who were willing to take the lowest position. Reading this book gave me the strongest conviction that leaders should use the teaching is this book as a guidebook in their quest to serve God and people. I now clearly understand that as a leader, Christ should lead through me, and in all that I say or do should reflect Christ-like love. With this knowledge, I am better equipped to be a spiritual leader. I understand the sacrifices, costs, and risks that come with abiding by the essentials of a spiritual leader. As a spiritual leader, I will heed the call by Paul to work wholeheartedly as God’s servant and fulfill His Commandments.
The principle on the art of delegation made me remember an old-time friend, who got so much overwhelmed with coordinating the activities a group within the church, that he did not have enough time for his family. This has helped me comprehend the exact issue that the friend was facing. It is indicated that delegation is not merely assigning responsibilities and tasks; instead, it entails enlisting and trusting others to assist in the ministry work. I portray a leader with humility and confidence. One thing that became clear to me was that delegation of tasks was only complete when accompanied by respective authority and responsibility. While reading about the art of delegation, the story of Moses crossed my mind, in reference to the advice that he was given by his father-in-law. After seeing the amount of workload that Moses was dealing with, his father in law advised him to select capable men and grant them authority to act as officials and serve as judges. It is therefore clear that spiritual leaders need not kill themselves with the strain from work where they can distribute the load to allow them enough time to deal with issues with more weight.
ReferencesSanders, J. Oswald. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2017.
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