Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Spiritual Leadership.

Just a few more reflections on "What makes a Spiritual Giant?". I was really challenged and encouraged by two comments left - firstly that we should consider whether the Lord still works in an Old Covenant fashion by using individuals since we are in the age of the Spirit who has been poured out on all flesh. On one hand, one could argue that He does not - we are indeed (as my esteemed commentator said) a "royal priesthood, a holy nation". But on the other hand, I would argue that I think He does use individuals purely because they are available. "I looked for a man to stand in the gap and there was none". Terry Virgo taught from the story of Gideon that God seems to begin with individuals and from them, the army is built. So I guess I should have added "Availability and Openness" to the Spirit of God to my categories of leadership.

Secondly Jul argued, oh so perceptively, that a spiritual giant does not necessarily equal fame. Just because someone writes a book or gets invited to conferences does not mean that in the eyes of God they are spiritual giants. A good reminder! Let's not judge by human standards but divine standards. I think on the Day of Judgement there are going to be a few surprises where the unsung and the unknown maybe, just maybe exalted and rewarded above and beyond some conference speakers. Jul said quite rightly that the spiritual giants are already out there - planting churches and being ready to lay down their lives already for the glorious Gospel.

And in conclusion - John Piper has written an excellent article adding to some of the points that I outlined by Terry yesterday. I love some of the points he has thought of. Here's a few:

1. Restless

Spiritual leaders have a holy discontentment with the status quo. Non-leaders have inertia that causes them to settle in and makes them very hard to move off of dead center. Leaders have a hankering to change, to move, to reach out, to grow, and to take a group or an institution to new dimensions of ministry.

2. Optimistic

Spiritual leaders are optimistic not because man is good but because God is in control. The leader must not let his discontentment become disconsolation.

3. Intense

Spiritual leaders must go out alone somewhere and ponder what unutterable and stupendous things they know about God. If their life is one extended yawn they are simply blind. Leaders must give evidence that the things of the Spirit are intensely real. They cannot do that unless they are intense themselves.

6. Energetic

The world is run by tired men, someone has said. A leader must learn to live with pressure. None of us accomplishes very much without deadlines and deadlines always create a sense of pressure.

13. A dreamer

Leaders can see the power of God overshadowing the problems of the future. This is a rare gift – to see the sovereign power of God in the midst of seemingly overwhelming opposition. Most people are experts at seeing all the problems and reasons not to move forward in a venture. Many pastors are ruined by boards who think that they have done their duty when they throw up every obstacle and problem to an idea that he brings. That's cheap. Hope and solutions are expensive. The spirit of venturesomeness is at a premium today. 0, how we need people who will devote just five minutes a week to dream of what might possibly be. The text says that old men will dream dreams. How sad it is, then, to see so many old people assuming that their age means that now they can coast and turn over the creativity to the young. It is tragic when age makes a man jaded instead of increasingly creative. Every new church, every agency, every new ministry, every institution, every endeavor, is the result of someone having a vision and laying hold on it like a snapping turtle.


jul said...


Mark L said...

Great response. I quite like the idea of being a snapping turtle! I am still preoccupied with the thought that when all is said and done it will be the bride who is centre stage not a few giants. Maybe I can reconcile the two by saying that in my heart I long to see the people of God rise up to be everything they are called to be and perhaps it will take a few giants to get us there.

Baxter's Boy said...

Yes I love that picture. "I have seen the City of God coming down from heaven! I have seen the City of God and I cannot turn away". The Bride - not the giants. But I hope that if God comes looking for men to get things kick started, I will be available.

Because I want to be involved in the grand business of getting the Bride made beautiful for her Husband (or restorationism in other words!)

ollie said...

An excellent summary - so challenging!