J. Oswald Sanders, in his book Spiritual Leadership, says “Spiritual leadership requires Spirit-filled people. Other qualities are important; to be Spirit-filled is indispensable.” Last night, I had a revelation of just that.
I was a bit depressed at the lack of interest for God that I was seeing in my girls at youth group. Few were even singing during worship, much less showing any emotion. I think a whole two brought their Bibles and only one was taking notes. Then a line from Remember the Titans popped into my head. “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.” As soon as the thought came, I dismissed it. The sponsors were singing, even raising their hands. The sponsors had their Bibles and a couple were taking notes. We were doing fine-it didn’t have anything to do with us.
But as the service continued, I began to contemplate my life as a youth sponsor. I thought of our last meeting, where I’d urged more and more student involvement in leadership as a way of allowing the kids to gain ownership of Z-360. I thought of all the ideas I’d jotted down in my notebook–games to do, things to teach on, activities to do together. I realized I’d been applying human answers to a spiritual malady. The kids aren’t excited-let’s have more games. The kids aren’t involved-let’s give them more opportunities to get involved. The kid’s aren’t in the Word-let’s do a teaching on the importance of the Word. But none of those are the answer we need.
When one of the sponsors mentioned at our meeting that the real problem was our students’ spiritual state, I brushed it off. After all, what could we do about that? That’s an easy way out, a pat Sunday School response. It’s a fatalistic response-if the problem is that our students are spiritually dead, then what can we do?
Back to Remember the Titans–“Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.” I thought about it and realized I can’t remember the last time I sat down with the other sponsors and prayed for Z-360. I can’t remember the last time where we sat down together to testify of God’s greatness or to share in our struggles. I don’t remember the last time we opened the Word together. I don’t remember the last time we ate a meal together. I don’t remember the last time we played a game together. We’ve been leading in a fleshly, carnal way. It’s only natural that our student’s attitudes be fleshly and carnal. Attitude, after all, reflects leadership.
“Spiritual leadership requires Spirit-filled people. Other qualities are important; to be Spirit-filled is indispensable.” When the other qualities become our only focus and the Spirit is pushed to the back burner in our ministry, the only logical outcome is loss of vision, loss of momentum, loss of souls. Without the Spirit’s action in our ministries, we cannot excite, we cannot grow, we cannot do anything of eternal value. The Spirit is absolutely essential to Spiritual leadership.