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What True Leadership Looks Like


In his book Leadership from the Inside Out, Kevin Harney wisely states, “Too many leaders spend huge amounts of time and money developing a powerful skill set, but forget to nurture and guard their own souls.” Though the desire to hone and fine-tune our talents is admirable, the danger comes when we neglect the Source of those talents.

From the foundation of the world, God ordained a pattern for the welfare of mankind. Though He gave Adam and Eve authority to rule over the creation, they were also to be subordinate to God and accountable to Him for their stewardship. This kind of interdependence for a leader is critical. It cultivates humility that results not in unhealthy asceticism but in a refreshing realization that their role is contingent not upon their status or position, but on empowerment by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus made the concept of interdependence very clear in the metaphor of the Vine and the branches. The unmatched genius of our Creator is evident in that He chooses to accomplish His divine purposes through flawed human vessels, knowing we cannot possibly do it without utter dependence on Him!

So what does it look like when ministry springs from interdependence on God, rather than from human thought and reasoning? Here are a few key characteristics:

·   Spiritual leaders are not afraid to regularly monitor the state of their own soul. The temptation to compromise basic Christian values for the sake of expediency and efficiency is great. The only way to stay balanced is to doggedly pursue the spiritual disciplines that keep God’s presence in the forefront of all we do.


·   Spiritual leaders have learned the importance of solitude and silence. If we do not quiet our spirits and take time to listen, we will not hear the still small voice that frees us from slavery to leadership demands and expectations.


·   Spiritual leaders allow their challenges to spur them into even deeper intimacy with God. Moses is a good example of someone who sought God in solitude, and then acted on whatever God revealed to him. His only “strategy” was listening for God’s voice.


Solitude is difficult for leaders because they can be reticent to remove themselves from the sphere of activity from which they derive a great deal of their identity. Yet solitude demands they separate themselves unto God.


Reflection Questions

What steps can you take to implement or strengthen spiritual disciplines?

What might you do to quiet your spirit so you can hear God’s voice?


All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.

“Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.