Elton Trueblood has been credited in saying, “Deliberate mediocrity is a sin.” It is statements like this that will challenge any true leader to consider how they can improve. None of us want to be guilty of being mediocre. Certainly as ministers and spiritual leaders the Holy Spirit is quickening us to step it up and lead with validity and vitality.
Recently I read a book by Reggie McNeal entitled Practicing Greatness. McNeal does an impressive job bringing clarity to the definition of great spiritual leadership. He outlines a number of essential qualities found in the practice of leadership and provides a brilliant contrast between a bad leader, a good leader and a great spiritual leader. For example the author states, “Bad leaders are a form of evil. They curse people by diminishing their life. They rob people of hope.” McNeal goes on to say, “Good leaders get things done. They keep things going.” Although good leaders are to be commended and celebrated, the author suggests what is needed today are what he calls great spiritual leaders.
There are three qualities in every great spiritual leader I’ve met in my 41 years of ministry.
1. Gracious attitude: True greatness begins with a journey toward humility. The attitude of humility says, “I am fully aware that my strength, ability and wisdom come from the Lord. Without Him leading and empowering, I would fail.”
2. Growing aptitude: Great spiritual leaders are able to carry out the responsibilities given. In other words they are true effective. I agree with McNeal’s observation, “Greatness is not just about character. It’s about effectiveness.” All great spiritual leaders found in the Bible where those who were effective. “They didn’t just have great hearts; they had great capacity to deliver,” states McNeal.
3. Genuine actions: Great spiritual leaders are willing to serve. They know that great leadership is not just about attitude or aptitude; it is also about action. It is not only helping someone out, but it is helping someone up. It is helping people move from where they are to what God intended them to be. Great spiritual leaders bless people. They leave people better off than they were before the leader entered their lives.
For helpful insights, pick up the book Practicing Greatness by Reggie McNeal. Enrich your leadership in the days ahead. Let’s become not just good leaders but great spiritual leaders.