Today’s environment requires leaders to be spiritual directors rather than teachers or CEO’s.
Being a spiritual director is different from being a teacher. Teachers impart knowledge to their students. Spiritual directors walk with fellow travelers on their personal journey of experiencing God, not to impart knowledge, but to assist the traveler in their own discovery of what God is already doing in their lives. It’s less a teacher and student and more like two people exploring the depths and edges of life and God together. One is the guide, the other is an explorer.
John 17 is one of the most telling passages in the Bible about spiritual leadership. Jesus first prays for himself. In order to be spiritual leaders we must be spiritual people. Leaders role model Christ among the people. Spiritual leadership begins with the spiritual discipline of prayer for oneself. Each of us need to focus on getting ourselves closer to God so that we may know the ways of God and be able to let those ways shine through our lives. Leadership is not about gimmicks or tactics. Leadership is about role modeling a deep spiritual connection between the leader and God. Churches are seldom any healthier than their leader.
Next Jesus prays for the disciples. Notice he prays for their safety because he has sent them into the world the same way God sent him into the world – vulnerable. And why is he really praying for them? He is praying for their safety not on just their behalf, but on behalf of those whom they will reach in his name. The entire prayer is couched in terms of what God might be able to accomplish through his people. Spiritual leaders always live and pray in the awareness of the mission of making disciples – “That they might know and glorify God.” Is disciple making the center of your leaders prayer life?