On Leadership

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.

A Bit of a Nag

I have my doubts about the oft heard statement that “the Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” Instead, I rather think He’s a nag. LESTER retreat was marvelous–but a little bit redundant. It seems that God is into driving things home.

On March 6, I wrote on this website that God had been speaking to me about not being consumed with serving others. Instead, I should be focused on sitting at Christ’s feet. This Saturday, Mike Jordahl shared from Isaiah 52:13, which begins, “My servant…” Mike asked the question, Whose servant? God’s servant, of course. While being a servant of God will inevitably lead to serving men, the role of the Christian is not to please men. It is to serve God and walk in relationship with Him.

On August 27, I wrote of my desire for greatness and of what I want to accomplish with my story. Sunday morning Darin Durand spoke about greatness and the difference between earthly and spiritual greatness. In small groups, we discussed how difficult it is to die to selfish desires in the pursuit of greatness–the same thing I have struggled with over the past few months.

Then on Sunday night, Lauren Libby gave a teaching on leadership. One of his points stuck out to me particularly because it has been on my heart for a while now. He said, “The leader transforms strategy into action by empowering others.” This only confirms what God has been speaking to me about empowering others to do much of the work that I am currently doing within the church–allowing them to serve in an increased way and giving me more time to focus on what God is calling me to directly.

While the teaching was a highlight of the trip, it was by no means the only one. I enjoyed taking a dip in the “Punch bowls” in my pajamas. The water was colder than cold, but I didn’t feel cold until I’d been out of the water for fifteen minutes–then I was freezing. The hike up and back was beautiful. All around I was impressed by the greatness and majesty of God.

Another big highlight of the trip was developing relationships. In a way, I felt like I was talking with someone almost constantly ;-) From the gals in my room to the folks I had dinner with to those that I ended up spending time with during odd hours of the day, I was constantly surrounded by opportunities to fellowship and to grow in relationship. Of course, when talking about relationship building, you can’t discount the ride up and back. I can see that despite my rocky start, the maxim proves true: “God doesn’t make typos when He writes the story of our lives–even when we, like children, are sitting on His lap pounding on the keyboard.” Even though I didn’t pay attention to exactly which parking garage I was supposed to be at and wandered around–God worked all things together for good. It was this “mistake” that allowed me to get to know several people that quite possibly I would not otherwise have gotten to know. God is faithful to arrange all things according to His purposes.