Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders is a classic book, and one of the greatest leadership books in print today. Numerous leaders credit this book as formative in their lives and ministries. It’s depth and breadth of biblical wisdom and practical application are unmatched in a single volume.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
Desiring to excel is not a sin. It is motivation that determines ambition’s character. Our Lord never taught against the urge to high achievement, but He did expose and condemn unworthy motivation.
True greatness, true leadership, is found in in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you.
Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or church assemblies. God alone makes them.
But from God’s point of view it is noble work to reclaim the world’s downtrodden people. When we find some of those the world calls “the least” and seek to meet their needs, Christ tells us we can think of them as Him.
There is no such thing as a self-made spiritual leader. A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he leads.
A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment.
Leaders know there is a difference between conviction and stubbornness.
Are you responsibly optimistic? Pessimism and leadership do not mix. Leaders are positively visionary.
Do you direct people or develop people?
If you would rather pick a fight than solve a problem, do not consider leading the church. The Christian leader must be genial and gentle, not a lover of controversy.
Barnabas Piper serves on the leadership team at Lifeway, and is the author of several books, including The Pastor’s Kid, and Help My Unbelief.