Short thoughts on spiritual leadership

What makes a good leader?  Is he self-motivated?  Does he have charisma?  Should he be smart?  How about good-looking?  Maybe he needs to be a good speaker or have a great ability to work with people.  A search on google will reveal all sorts of insights:

  • Leaders need honesty, confidence, enthusiasm, reliability, patience, decisiveness, determination, loyalty and courage…
  • A good leader must have integrity, dedication, magnanimity, humility, openness, creativity, fairness, assertiveness, and a sense of humor…
  • A leader should have an exemplary character, be enthusiastic about their work, have an air of personal confidence, be orderly and purposeful especially in uncertain situations, tolerate ambiguity and remain calm in difficulties, view the situation as a whole and analytically by its smaller parts, be committed to excellence…
  • Good leaders know themselves, are committed, know they don’t know everything, are open to change, and go the extra mile…

Those are all good, but the the life of Samuel shows me one important thing, probably the most important aspect of leadership.

A leader has to be a pray-er.

In 1 Samuel 7, Samuel leads the people back into right relationship with God, and then he gathers them in preparation for war.  But once they’re gathered together, what does he do?

I’d expect him to give a rousing speech about freedom, living for God and going to battle with courage.  I’d expect him to stand alongside the soldiers, grab a sword, and show them how it’s done.  You know, go all William Wallace on them, give an inspiring speech, then jump down and join his men for battle.  But does he do that?  No.

When Samuel has the people gathered together, right with God and ready to go to war against their oppressors, Samuel prayed.  This was his greatest skill as a leader, and it is the one quality that we all as spiritual leaders must make our priority.

Your prayers for those under your care will be the difference between their success and their failure.

Let’s take the example of Samuel and make our chief attribute as leaders be our praying.  Let’s follow after Moses and lift up our hands that those we lead might see unprecedented victory (Exodus 17).


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