Clippings from “Spiritual Leadership”

Day 2 of Oswald Sanders and Spiritual Leadership.

Chapter 3 = The Master’s Master Principle

  • Sanders points to Jesus’ revolutionary teaching on leadership = the greatest leaders are the greatest servants. (see Mark 10:42-43)
  • Six qualities of a servant leader:
    1. Dependence – “As we become empty of self and dependent on God, the Holy Spirit will use us.”
    2. Approval – a mutual approval from God to us and from us to God.
    3. Modesty – “Neither strident nor flamboyant, God’s servant conducts a ministry that appears almost self-effacing. What a contrast to the arrogant self-advertising of so many hypesters today, both in and out of the church.” Hmmm… I wonder if Sanders had a blog if he would call it 😉
    4. Empathy – “The Lord’s servant is sympathetic with the weak, mercifully understanding those who err. How often do people who fail wear the treadmarks of fellow pilgrims. But the ideal servant does not run over the weak and failing. He mends bruises and fans the weak spirit into a flame.”
    5. Optimism – “Pessimism and leadership are at opposite ends of life’s attitudes. […] God’s ideal servant is optimistic until every part of God’s work is done.”
    6. Anointing – “None of these leadership qualities [listed above] are sufficient for the task. Without the touch of the supernatural, these qualities are as dry as dust. And so the Holy Spirit comes to rest upon and dwell in the ideal Servant (Jesus).” Sanders goes on to say, “Are we greater than our Lord? Can we do effective ministry without the Spirit of God working through us at every step? God offers us the same anointing.”

Chapter 4 = Natural and Spiritual Leadership

  • “Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead. Famous leaders have always known this.” (I believe this is where John Maxwell derived his famous definition of leadership – “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.”)
  • “There is no such thing as a self-made spiritual leader. A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he/she leads.”
  • “We can lead others only as far along the road as we ourselves have traveled. Merely pointing the way is not enough. If we are not walking, then no one can be following, and we are not leading anyone.”
  • Sanders shares a bit from William Sangster’s journal. (Sangster was a young leader in the early Methodist Church):
  • This is the will of God for me. I did not choose it. I sought to escape it. But it has come. Something else has come too. A sense of certainty that God does not want me only for a preacher. He wants me also for a leader – a leader in Methodism. I feel a commissioning to work under God for the revival of this branch of His church (Methodist) – careless of my own reputation; indifferent to the comments of older and jealous men. I am thirty-six. If I am to serve God in this way, I must no longer shrink from the task – but do it. I have examined my heart for ambition. I am certain it is not there. I hate the criticism I shall evoke and the painful chatter of people. Obscurity, quiet browsing among books, and the service of simple people is my taste – but by the will of God, this is my task, God help me.
  • Sanders shares General Bernard Montgomery’s “seven qualities necessary for military leadership”, of which Sanders says “each is appropriate to spiritual warfare.” The leader must:
    1. avoid getting swamped in detail
    2. not be petty
    3. not be pompous
    4. know how to select people to fit the task
    5. trust others to do a job without the leader’s meddling
    6. be capable of clear decisions
    7. inspire confidence
  • He also references John Mott’s inquiries of a leader. Does the leader:
    1. do little things well
    2. focus on priorities
    3. use leisure well
    4. have intensity
    5. know how to exploit momentum
    6. overcome discouragement and “impossible” situations
    7. understand his/her weaknesses
  • A contrast of natural and spiritual leadership qualities:
  • Natural Leadership Spiritual Leadership
    Self-confident Confident in God
    Knows people Also knows God
    Makes own decisions Seeks God’s will
    Ambitious Humble
    Creates methods Follows God’s example
    Enjoys command Delights in obedience to God
    Seeks personal reward Loves God and others
    Independent Depends on  God

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