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:
The person who is impatient with weakness will be ineffective in his leadership. The evidence of our strength lies not in in the distance that separates us from the other runners but in our closure with them, our slower pace for their sakes, our helping them pick up and cross the line.
Leaders must draw the best out of people, and friendship does that far better than prolonged argument or mere logic.
When people who lack spiritual fitness are elected to leadership, He quietly withdraws and leaves them to implement their own policies according to their own standards, but without His aid. The inevitable result is an unspiritual administration.
Christians everywhere have undiscovered and unused spiritual gifts. The leader must help bring those gifts into the service of the kingdom, to develop them, to marshal their power. Spirituality alone does not make a leader; natural gifts and those given by God must be there too.
People who are skeptical of prayer’s validity and power are usually those who do not practice it seriously or fail to obey when God reveals His will. We cannot learn about praying except by praying. No philosophy has ever taught a soul to pray. The intellectual problems associated with prayer are met in the joy of answered prayer and closer fellowship to God.
As Jesus dealt with sin’s cause rather than effect, so the spiritual leader should adopt the same method in prayer.
A leader will seldom say “I don’t have time.” Such an excuse is usually the refuge of a small-minded and inefficient person.
Spiritual leaders of every generation will have a consuming passion to know the Word of God through diligent study and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
If a man is known by the company he keeps, so also his character is revealed in the books he reads.
Leaders should always cut a channel between reading and speaking and writing, so that others derive benefit, pleasure, and inspiration.
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.