Common Thread of Spiritual Leaders

Posted on February 9th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

Are you the kind of leader you want to be? Are you the kind of leader God wants you to be? Sometimes, this is not easy to figure out.

However, we can get a good idea of what a spiritual leader is by looking at the spiritual giants of the past. The book, The Fuel and the Flame, points out six things that these spiritual leaders had in common:

1) Young and Idealistic

They were all young when God started to move in their hearts. He gave them a dream to go after and they were very optimistic (full of faith) about getting after it. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, admitted on a podcast that the dreams He is seeing God fulfill right now were all revealed to Him in his early 20’s.

2) Had Strong Vision

Haven’t seen any miracles lately? It is probably because you have a small God. A big God does big things. A small God does small things. Bill Bright didn’t set out to win five students for Christ, but millions. Because of his labor, there are thousands of staff working around the globe on over one thousand campuses to win college students to Christ. In the last five years, 37,900 students have indicated a decision to become a Christian. This all started with one man, one vision, and one big God.

3) Had Vocal Opposition

Every good leader experiences opposition at one point or another. It is a fact. The Scriptures say, “Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” In the United States this persecution is primarily verbal. If you aren’t experiencing opposition currently, there is a good chance you aren’t taking any risks. As a fraternity President, I was almost impeached once because the members did not like where the chapter was headed. It came right after a weekend where 1/4 of my fraternity brothers came with me to a Greek conference to hear the gospel.

4) They Enlisted Others

Are you a Christian or a disciple? Actually, there is no difference. If you signed up to follow Jesus, then you automatically become a disciple, which means you are following someone and calling others to follow that someone as well. God’s Kingdom does not expand through people who go to church on Sunday and give to the local charity once a year. The Kingdom is expanded through new disciple-makers. This means that every good spiritual leader will care about mission. John Piper says, “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.” The big goal of disciple-making, or enlisting and training others, is worship. We want our awesome God to be worshiped by every tongue and tribe in the world.

5) They Persevered Over The Long Haul

When I first started walking with God, I was excited to become a spiritual leader. I wanted to do great things for God and get a lot of respect from others. Respect within my Christian circle of friends increased a lot and I was on a spiritual high. Then the persecution came. Then the disappointment. Then the depression. The longer I’m a Christian, the more tempted I am to give up and quit. Being in full-time Christian ministry, there are so many letdowns it isn’t even funny. There is a lot of spiritual apathy among college students. If you mix the apathy with my pride, high expectations, and a desire to make results happen on my own, a lack of perseverance abounds. If you want to be a leader for selfish reasons, don’t worry, you will eventually be weeded out. Only a strong love for God will keep you sprinting towards the finish line.

6) Each Had a Deep Foundation In Their Walk With God

Pastor Mark Driscoll told his congregation that he believes that too many people work in their life, not on it. We as Americans pride ourselves in being busy. We are always trying to build a bigger house than the guy next to us – which means we don’t have time to build a foundation. But eventually, the storms come and knock us around. The spiritual giants of the past withstood many storms because they had a solid foundation in their walk with God. Martin Luther spent four hours every morning before he want about his “busy” day. These guys realized that nothing could be done apart from Christ. They were prayer warriors, knowledgeable of God’s Word, and filled with the Spirit.

Spiritual Leadership Quiz:

Do people sometimes view you as “foolish” when you talk about what you are expecting God to do?

Do you have a dream or vision from God that seems impossible?

Have you experienced any opposition from others for being a Christian or trying to accomplish big things for God?

Who have you enlisted recently to become a disciple-maker?

Are you conditioned to run the spiritual race over the course of your entire life?

Do you meet with God regularly?

Tyler Zach is an alum of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nebraska-Omaha – where he earned a degree in Management Information Systems. Tyler is currently on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ in Omaha, NE.

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