Sanders, J. Oswald. 1994. Spiritual Leadership. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
Godly leadership is more than being the most qualified to lead. Leaders in Christian ministry must understand and practice servanthood as taught by Jesus. Sanders compares the characteristics of “natural” leadership to spiritual leadership. In “natural” leadership, the emphasis is on power— specifically the ability to get subordinates to do things “they don’t want to do” and forcing people to act (27). Spiritual leadership is “influencing others spiritually” (28).
Spiritual leaders must not only possess leadership skills, but be ready and prepared to fight a spiritual battle (53). Sanders reminds readers that “God prepares leaders with a specific place and task in mind” (51). Even though many Christians are not called to a full-time ministry, all Christians are leaders since they influence people (109). Sanders insists on a leadership model in which leadership is “from the top down”—“never” from the “bottom up” (113). This philosophy is consistent with his other statement, “no cross, no leadership” (116).
Sanders’ description of spiritual leadership seems bleak by “natural” standards: a leader “lives with loneliness” (117), “fatigue is the price of leadership” (119), and “no leader lives a day without criticism” (119). Sanders’ leadership model is very biblical in that it reflects the principle of leadership under God’s guidance—“ Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you” (Deu. 31:6 NLT).
Leadership “from the top down” starts with God at the top. God is the Lord over creation, man, and the Sabbath and all is consecrated to Him. Ezekiel 37:23-24 explains, “They will truly be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and keep my laws.” In the same way, leaders should think of themselves as a vessel that is accountable to God.
Copyright © 2008 M. Teresa Trascritti