You can be a spiritual leader when you understand these five simple traits.
Leadership can be defined in many ways, but consider a few traits that characterize a leader, specifically when it comes to pursuing God.
- A spiritual leader has a circle of influence. You have people in your life that you can lead. The circle will vary from person to person. It may be roommates, friends, co-workers, a spouse or family, a small group, a ministry team, or a whole congregation.
- A spiritual leader cares about these people. You care about what happens in their lives. You care about whether they know God and are pursuing God.
- A spiritual leader has vision. You can see what people can become. You have an idea of what pursuing God looks like and what you hope to see happen in people’s lives.
- A spiritual leader serves. Leaders are not about themselves and their own power. They are others-centered. Jesus is the epitome of this.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- A spiritual leader is willing to take responsibility. Leaders don’t passively sit by expecting someone else to lead. You care enough to embrace responsibility to help others pursue God.
- A spiritual leader takes the initiative. Feeling responsible isn’t enough. Leaders take action. A leader initiates the next step. You’re the one who says to the people around you, “I have an idea. Let’s do this.”
Are you a spiritual leader?
As you ask, “Am I a spiritual leader?” you may be thinking about it the wrong way. You don’t have to be older, more mature, more spiritual, more experienced, or more godly than the people you lead.
Of course, you can’t really lead others if you are engaged in any serious, life-controlling sinful habits. That will keep you from being able to follow through on leading others, and you will lack credibility. When it comes to leading a whole church, there are high standards of character. But that doesn’t apply to leading your family, friends, or small group.
You don’t have to have it all together before you can lead in your circle of influence. In fact, a good leader humbly recognizes that we’re all helpless sinners who depend on God’s grace and power continually. So, are you a leader? You can be. The moment you take initiative to help someone else pursue God, you’re a spiritual leader.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Take stock of your circle of influence. Who has God placed in your life that you care about?
- Define what it means to pursue God. (See here.) What would that look like in the lives of people you know?
- Read Colossians 1:9-11. How does praying for others exemplify the traits of a spiritual leader?
- Based on Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1, what can you pray for people at each stage of pursuing God?
- Based on this video, how do you answer this question for yourself today: “Am I spiritual leader?”
- Think of one person in your circle of influence. What simple step could you take next to exercise initiative to lead that person spiritually?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.