Dr. Phil Brassfield
Spiritual Leadership seems to me to begin with a solid commitment to the authority of God in all matters. What makes something godly? (Godly is short for God-like). What are His characteristics, opinions, and values? How does He view leadership? When seeking to be a Spiritual Leader, the old cliché “WWJD, what would Jesus do?” is a great place to start. In Jesus we see a perfect representation of God the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3). He was so synchronized with the Father that He would say of Himself, “When you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” “ I have come to do His will and finish the work He sent me to do…” In Jesus we learn the heart of the Father for Christian Spiritual Leadership and see a man who was focused on God’s will, God’s ways continually.
Spiritual leadership, then, is always rooted in the will, ways and means of God. Jesus’ style of leadership was shaped by His interaction and submission to His Father. Here are three steps you can follow that will help you do the same.
1. Always be God Aware. Jesus was always aware of God, First. Having God on my radar, being aware of Him as a reality is the first step in spiritual leadership. As a leader, if I react too quickly I will often react out of my own skills set, gift mix or personal nature. And, too often I will let fear dominate my decisions. Learning to stop and look for God in the situation, asking for His guidance through the Holy Spirit will tune me into a different frequency. It gets me out of my own head and pushes my thinking onto a larger platform of possibility. I believe this is what Jesus meant when He said, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33. God has a solution, direction and a purpose that always prevails. When you think about it, it’s really smart to start with God and then to lead from His perspective. As a rule, you can think of it this way: spiritual leaders are God-conscious, carnal/earthly leaders are self-conscious.
2. Seek to Acknowledge God’s wisdom, authority and motives. Always seek to acknowledge God. Solomon said it this way in Proverbs chapter 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” What a great directional spiritual leadership principle. It is great to become aware of God as more than a mystical idea and a spiritual entity watching from a distance. But to really become God conscious in everything and in every situation is the first step toward effective spiritual leadership. As a spiritual leader, I must acknowledge His infinite superiority in thought, design, intent and potential. I must do more than simply become aware of His presence; I must acknowledge Him by seeking, discovering and applying His ways and means to the leadership challenges with which I am confronted. When I do, the Scripture promises that He will direct my paths.
3. Act in Agreement with God.
Finally, once aware of God’s presence, having acknowledged His ways and means (how He gets stuff done), I must agree with Him and act accordingly. Too many times as leaders we lead from a fear perspective. We imagine all the negative things that might happen if we fail to act in a certain way or take a particular course of action that seems logical to the natural mind. But I must dismiss fear from my reasoning when setting a course of action or making a critical decision. I should always find God’s will and agree with Him. Agreement is where faith takes over and true submission is achieved. Now I am acting not as a tyrannical dictator driven by the fear of a negative consequence or of being out of control, but as a humble servant whose greatest goal is to do the will of God, trusting God’s will to be the best solution for every situation.
In summary, it’s just this simple to practice spiritual leadership. Always be aware of God. Believe that He is always present and interested. See Him as your first option and not your last resort. Make Him the master of your life and don’t use Him as a lucky charm or a lottery ticket. Then acknowledge God’s wisdom, greatness and power. Acknowledge His vast resource of truth and that His intent is always for the highest good. Finally, set yourself in agreement with Him. Decide that you are going to agree with God no matter what. Determine that your role as a spiritual leader is simply to follow Him, submit to His will, His ways, and in doing so, you will release His means into every leadership challenge you face.