Leading Myself – The Pursuit of Personal Spiritual Development

Leadership development is vitally important for the future of the Church. I am sincerely grateful for those investing their lives to raise up other leaders. We live in a time that affords us easy access to resources that only a select few could obtain in the past. This is an exciting time to be alive!

With that said, I do have a concern that I can’t seem to shake. The power of observation won’t allow me to pretend like it isn’t happening. What is IT? The Church going from one extreme to another, as we typically do, and in the process, leaving behind a passionate pursuit of spiritual development in embracing leadership development as vital for Kingdom expansion.

For so long the Church focused on spiritual development, but not leadership skills. The pastors and leaders knew how to pray, but struggled knowing how to lead. Because of the overt absence of leadership development people rose to the occasion to bring leadership to the forefront of our conversations. Today, we think of people like John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Bill Hybels, etc. These are all tremendous leaders, and obvious followers of Jesus.

So, what’s the problem? I don’t think the problem is the rise of leadership materials, the shifting conversations on leadership, or the numerous conferences we attend each year to grow as leaders. Again, I celebrate the gift of leadership and pray that everyone reading this blog will do all they can to grow as leaders. However, I find it problematic when a pastor can quote John Maxwell better than he or she can quote John the Beloved.

There is a growing trend for pastors to dig in leadership resources, but then download a sermon that someone else has prepared. Maybe I am wrong, wouldn’t be the first time, but I find that discouraging. I don’t want to lead the local church like managing a retail chain. We are a part of a Kingdom. The Kingdom we are a part of has its own economy and metrics for success. Our experiences are not just about customer service, but about Kingdom expansion into the lives and homes of people in our community.

Flawless productions will never set a person’s soul on fire for Christ. Excellence will not liberate an addict that is barely hanging on to life. They can find great productions and excellence in the world. We do things with excellence and planning because our standard is to do all that we do unto the LORD. However, this standard alone can’t produce the fruit of our calling. We can’t just lean on being good leaders.

So, what is my conclusion then? Do your best, dive into leadership resources, do things with excellence, but do not neglect your own spiritual development. You reproduce what you are, and I pray you are a growing leader that is passionate about God and His Word. Develop your systems, but depend on God’s Spirit. Plan your year, but passionately pursue Jesus in the midst of it all. Learn to lead others to Jesus by first leading yourself.

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