Skip to main content

The Spiritual Leader

The Spiritual Leader

By Paul Chappell


  • All ministry begins with the heart.
  • Your fruit and faithfulness in the ministry will only be as effective for the Lord as your heart is right with the Lord.
  • Leadership is influence. When God entrusted you with the call to lead, He entrusted you with the influence for Him.
  • The calling of a pastor is a SPECIAL calling. The calling of a pastor is a SACRIFICIAL calling.
  • There is no softer pillow than a clear conscience.
  • “Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them.” Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • You must first bring your own life and habits into order before you can lead others to do the same.
  • Good leaders are good forgivers (Eph 4:32; II Tim 4:16)
  • God’s Word contains five commands in the NT regarding the Holy Spirit:
  • Quench not the Spirit – I Thes 5:19
  • Grieve not the Spirit – Ef 4:30
  • Walk in the Spirit – Gal 5:16, 25
  • Pray in the Spirit – Judas 20
  • Be filled with the Spirit – Ef 5:18
  • “How we live our lives is more important than how long we live our lives.” F.B. Meyer
  • Your character is what makes you a leader worth following
  • “When you have influence, people follow you. When you have respect, they keep following you.” Unknown
  • What gets scheduled gets done! And if something doesn’t show up in your schedule, then I guarantee you, it is not a priority, no matter how “warm and fuzzy” you feel about it.
  • A growing church is always in transition.
  • Spiritual leadership begins with who we are not what we do or what we say.
  • A soulwinning church will grow, but growth is not the goal. I challenge you to make God your goal, not growth. The reason you should desire to lead your church in soulwinning is obedience, not growth. For many years, God has allowed the Lancaster Baptist Church to grow every single year, yet if the church did not grow next year, we would not change the foundation of soulwinning.
  • When God calls a man to lead in a local church, He is calling him to assume several roles, and one of them is an overseer.  Your oversight is as much a part of your calling as your preaching.
  • One preacher said, “Preach the gospel…and if necessary, use words.”
  • “The branch that bears the most fruit bows lowest to the ground.” F.B. Meyer
  • God doesn’t call the qualified, but He does qualify the called.
  • In book Less is More Leadership, Pastor Dale Burke wrote, “The pastor must spend time doing his best stuff, not just stuff.” The best stuff you can do, as a spiritual leader, is to study the Word of God, pray, and prepare biblical messages for your church family. Nothing will help the church more than the time you spend in study and prayer.
  • The leader’s role as an administrator is about elinsting, training, delegating, and working with a team
  • Be sure that His preeminence is your highest goal in overseeing His church.
  • In book Less is More Leadership, Pastor Dale Burke says that pastors must have rest time, results time, response time, and refocus time.
  • Neglect does not solve problems, it just makes them worse. Spirit-filled administrators discern the problems and resolve them while they are still hatching!
  • Don’t let your church ever become a place where it is difficult to find a place to serve God.
  • The sign of a great leader is finding the right place for people. Placing the right people into the right positions equals the multiplication of ministry.
  • Mobilization means to prepare and organize troops for active service
  • “Here lies a man who knew how to enlist in his service better men than himself.” Andrew Carnegie
  • Have good peripheral vision, and write down reminders constantly
  • Establish Christian service reports for all of your paid and volunteer staff and for your deacons, and then review these reports personally.
  • Have regular staff meetings. A good leader is always preapring for his next staff meeting. Below is a short formula for a successful team meeting:
  • Meet weekly
  • Talk informally
  • Share burndens and prayer requests
  • Pray
  • Talk through your prepared agenda
  • Allow others to raise questions or issues
  • Close in prayer
  • I often invite new men to join me for men’s prayer each Saturday evening. This meeting provides a good mentoring opportunity. Get into the trenches of mentoring and discipleship. Disciples are made, not born, and mentoring happens because of availability, hospitality, and approachability. May god help you to start this habit now, and may you never stop!
  • When you understand your belief and stand, teach these biblically, repeat them frequently, and then patiently nurture people along.
  • Mediocrity breeds indifference, but quality attracts!
  • No one enjoys confrontation, but everyone benefits from the courageous leader who spiritually confront for the purpose of resolution.
  • I believe that structuring ministry and confronting problems are two of the greatest weakness of spiritual leaders in ministry today. If you can learn these skills early in the life of your church, you will grow a healthier church!
  • Vision always attracts critics.
  • George Barna in his book “A Fish our of Water” speaks of 6 phases of organizational growth:
  • Phase 1 – CONCEPTION – pastor planting or re-establishing a church
  • Phase 2 – INFANCY – infants require sustenance and physical production. Will require personal sacrifice and much labor.
  • Phase 3 – EXPANSION – church supports pastor and staff and now needs to delegate authority. Pastor is now a team leader/builder and church needs more operational leadership. Key is to find, recruit and mentor co-laborers, both paid and volunteers.
  • Phase 4 – BALANCE – church should desire to grow and remain here, where church continues growing at a reasonable pace. Continual training and evaluation is constantly being made. During this time, the vision and purpose are central to all that is happening, and the systems and structure facilitate consistency and stability throughout the ministry.
  • Phase 5 – STAGNATION – where ministry becomes comfortable, complacent, fat, lazy, and loses vision. Vision is still real, but the passion is lacking. Both pastor and church stop taking risks, building, dreaming, and pressing forward with intensity.
  • Phase 6 – DISABILITY – original vision is a distant memory. The organization is all but dead and has lost its purpose and focus.
  • The church is a living organism – God designed it for growth. The focus should be on the health of the church, not the growth of it.
  • The Barrier of Unfruitfulness

How long has it been since you really analyzed what all the “activity” is producing?

Is your church producing saved souls? New disciples? Mature Christians? A visionary church family? A revival of godliness and distinctive Christian living? Or is it merely a lot of busyness to fill time?

John 15:8 – God desires for you to bear fruit. You may be doing the wrong things, or you may be doing the right things the wrong way.

It’s almost like getting your tire stuck in the mud – the engine is revving; the tire is spinning; all the motion is in place; but the vehicle isn’t moving. What do you do? You step out, evaluate the situation, and figure out a way to get some traction so you can move forward.

  • Clearly identify ministry classifications – lack of clarity. What is the ministry trying to accomplish? Does the team understand the function and purpose? Is the structure in place for it to function fruitfully?
  • Clearly identify accountability mechanisms – Define what you expect. You must insect what you expect. Have a system of accountability when you regularly review your staff’s Christian service involvement.
  • Institute annual evaluations – Have you ever had an evaluation with the individuals on your staff? Have you ever had an personal review with every ministry in your church? Establish a system of reviewing your ministry – both your staff and your program.
  • Realign responsibility from – restructuring. The key is communication. When the leader communicates to his staff clearly and positively, a true team will arise to the prospect of accomplishing more together for Christ. Help your team set aside personal insecurities and “personal turf” so that the whole church can become more fruitful for the Lord.
  • Add new staff
  • The Barrier of Spiritual Lethargy

Lethargy is experienced when you are doing everything you can do, but it is being done in your own power, not God’s.

  • The Barrier of Stagnation

Stagnation means “to cease to flow or move”.

I am not for creating change just for the sake of change, but sometimes fresh vision brings change that “increases the circulation of the body.” It gets something that was stagnant moving once again. Just as exercise causes your body to increase circulation, grow in health, and be safe from sickness, so the exercise of faith and forward motion causes a church family to break through the barrier of stagnation.

  • The Barrier of Limited Structure

Like a plant in a small pot, you will sometimes feel that your church has great potential “if only…”

First, you do the best you can with what you have.

Second, you begin to pray for God’s provision and direction.

Third, you prepare your heart for some new step of faith and prepare your church family for it as well.

  • “Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of”. Benjamin Franklin. Ephesians 5:16 reminds us to “redeem the time”.
  • Time is a gift from God. Time is life, and when we waste time, we waste life.
  • Well-planned time is essential in accomplishing any project or task. At the end of life, your ministry will be the summation of what you did with the time that God gave you. Failing to plan is planning to fail!
  • Begin constantly and deliberately thinking six to twelve months in advance.
  • It’s very difficult to lead with joy and passion when you’re not one-hundred-percent sure where to go!
  • If you’re too busy to plan, you’re too busy! Planning is what puts added value into tomorrow. Redeeming the time is about looking ahead and allocating purpose and priorities before it’s too late.
  • One of the most valuable gifts you can give your staff or church family is clear direction and a well-defined plan. You can only give this if you first receive it from the Lord. Your team will embrace this direction with anticipation; God will delight to bless your faith; and your new year will exceed your expectations! Spencer Johnson wrote in The Present, “Once you haber prepared for the future, you can enjoy the present.”
  • Preaching is not powerful or life-changing unless it is thoroughly filled with the Word of God.
  • “To love to preach is one thing. To love those to whom you preach is another.” No conocido
  • “The Bible is not the Sword of the preacher, it is the Sword of the Spirit.” No conocido
  • Your preaching must reach believers and unbelievers alike.
  • The primary goal of a church service is that people experience God because when they experience Him, they will be convicted; they will respond to Him; and their lives will never be the same.
  • H.B. London shared the following statistics in his boo “Pastors at Greater Risk”: Ninety percent of pastors worked more than forty-six hours per week. Eighty-one percent of pastors said that they had insufficient time with their wives and families. Eighty percent believed their families were adversely affected by ministry. Seventy-five percent reported significant stress-related illnesses. And seventy percent had financial problems. Considering the drop-out rate for ministry and marriage, there’s no doubt that the enemy is winning some victories in this area. It would be a mistake to “blame the ministry” for these struggles. Though they are perhaps unique to ministry in some respect, they are not the fault of ministry. God does not call us to lose our marriages and families.
  • Fulfilling your life call in ministry should be beneficial to your life commitment in marriage – challenges should not be blamed on ministry.
  • Seven guidelines for Christian Romance
  • Keep a clean slate through forgiveness.
  • Maintain commitment – no flirting, no fantasies.
  • Serve your spouse.
  • Think about your spouse
  • Pamper your spouse.
  • Affirm your spouse.
  • Surprise your spouse.
  • Ministry and family should not conflict, but rather complement.
  • Author Ed Cole said, “You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.”
  • Many ministry couples have unwittingly turned their children away from the service of the Lord simply because of their unwise expressions of frustrations, burdens, and turmoil.
  • It’s time that children growing up in ministry environments see a renewed love, joy, and passion in their parents.
  • Ministry is a delight! It is a privilege. Our children must sense it in us and hear it frequently from us. For every sacrifice you have made to be in ministry, there are a hundred blessings. Have you considered them? Have you rehearsed them in the ears of your children? Perhaps they could repeat your complaints, but could they recall your blessings?
  • Complaining parents raise indifferent children.
  • Let your children see and experience regularly your overjoyed satisfaction in serving Christ. Magnify the blessings in their minds and minimize the sacrifices. Herald even the sacrifices as a privlige to give and serve. Let them see the joy to be found in serving Jesus Christ. Let them grow up sensing that ministry is the best way to live. Who wouldn’t want that life?!
  • One of a spiritual leader’s most serious and important responsibilities is that of equipping and developing other spiritual leaders for the work.
  • “It is only as we develop others around us that we permanently succeed.” John Maxwell
  • Secular leaders “do things right”, but spiritual leaders “do the right thing”.
  • Your vision will motivate people, but your plan will mobilize them.
  • A dream without a plan is a wish – Dr. Larry McKain
  • Equipping is not merely dumping responsibility on the next available body. It is training a leader how to do the work.
  • Maturity does not come with age, it comes with the acceptance of responsibility – Ed Cole
  • Keys to successful delegation
  • Mentor and teach before you delegate
  • Give clearly identifiable duties
  • Verbalize confidence in the person
  • Give them authority to get the job done
  • Establish budget limits if applicable
  • Allow them room to fail and learn from mistakes
  • Set predetermined checkpoints for evaluation
  • Praise them and give credit for a job well done.
  • People will not respect what you do not inspect. If you do not oversee that which you have given away, then you are not fulfilling your leadership role.
  • To add to your church, raise up followers, but to multiply, raise up spiritual leaders.
  • Breakthrough Ministry – ministry that breaks through barriers to new growth and new levels of effectiveness – from book Less is More Leadership by Dale Burke:
  • When we hurt enough that we have to
  • When we learn enough that we want to
  • When we receive enough that we are able to
  • Often it is not our position that turns people off, so much as our disposition.
  • Teach people what you believe before you teach them how to behave. Our behavior should always flow from our belief.
  • Godliness is first a condition of the heart, then a reflection in the life.
  • In general, the church family will only grow to the lowest example of the staff.
  • The leader must set the standard. It must be biblical; it must be modeled; and it should be upheld by leadership.
  • All leaders have strengths and weaknesses, and a wise spiritual leader will hire with these qualities in mind. There seem to be three types of pastors: the preaching pastor, the administrating pastor, and the shepherding pastor.
  • One of the greatest responsibilities of the senior pastor is to identify, recruit, and challenge a leadership team and a staff around him.
  • A
  • I Cor 12:4-6 – diversities of gifts… differences of administrations, … diversities of operations
  • It is easier to hire the right person than relieve the wrong person. Be patient to wait upon the Lord and have a perfect peace of God
  • Recruits constantly, recruit ethically, recruit prayerfully, recruit strategically, recruit servant leaders (goal is more important than the role), recruit carefully (Can this person add people to the ministry? Can he administrate effectively? Can he teach for life change?)
  • “Leaders know the way, go the way, and show the way to go” – author not known
  • develop the staff in these five basic words:
  • Model – Philip 4:9
  • Mold
  • Move – transfer responsibilities. A growing church and a growing staff are always in transition.
  • Mend
  • Motivate – help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right.
  • An aging staff will relate better to older members, newer younger staff will better relate to the next generation, etc.
  • He always calls His people forward. He commands us to occupy until He comes (Lu 19:13). He tells us to press toward the mark (Philip 3:14) and to fight the good fight of faith (I Tim 6:12).
  • Peter Drucker said, “The test of an organization is not genius. It is its capacity to make common people achieve uncommon performance.”
  • Spurgeon said, “The secret of all ministerial success lies in prevalence at the Mercy Seat”.
  • Take the specific vision that God places on your heart and put it on paper. Define it, describe it, develop it. Turn it into a plan of action with concrete, measurable timelines and goals.
  • Develop a complete picture of your vision – one that you and others can understand, embrace, and act upon. If you don’t, the vision will remain conceptual instead of concrete – and concepts are like good intentions, they’re useless without action. Perter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
  • God’s people are inspired to be a part of something great. Everybody desires to be a part of something bigger than himself.
  • “Today’s churches are either risk-taking, care-taking, or under-taking.” author not known
  • Helen Keller said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”
  • Spiritual leaders lead from a platform of grace, but fleshly leaders push their own agenda.
  • There is a difference between guild and conviction. Guild brings condemnation and shame. Conviction leads to repentance and growth. Guild is often the result of a leader trying to manufacture conviction.
  • Shepherds don’t beat sheep, they lead them.
  • It’s not wise to lead from the “poor me” platform.
  • God’s people should not be intimidated by their spiritual leader.
  • God’s grace creates a joyful, sweet, willing-hearted disposition. When people serve God out of guild, they ultimately resent the leader and possibly even the Christian life! When they serve Him out of grace, they willingly, joyfully, and selflessly continue in the faithfulness. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim 2:1)
  • If men serve God in your church, let it be because they were motivated by His grace and not by your good charm.
  • “The qualifications of a pastor are to have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros.” – author not known
  • “Treat both criticism and praise like bubble-gum – chew on it a bit, but don’t swallow it!” – author not known
  • “When you’re small they’ll dismiss you. When you’re growing they’ll criticize you, and when you are large they will resent you. So ignore them and go on with what God has you to do.” – author not known
  • “A bulldog could whip a skunk at any time, but it’s not worth the fight.” – Chinese proverb
  • Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!
  • If you quit, your critics win, and much is lost for the cause of Christ. Don’t let petty people determine your destiny. God planned even your enemies and they are serving His purposes in your life.
  • A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. Suffering truly qualifies and equips you for the ministry.
  • “You’re friends don’t need an explanation, and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.” Dr. Monroe Parker
  • A spiritual leader has responsibility and authority with accountability.
  • Mature Christian givers are not motivated by guilt, pressure or sad pictures. They are motivated by the grace of God.
  • One sign of a healthy church is that people who have left feel as though they can come back.
  • When the Lord leades you into a crisis, listen very carefully to what He is teaching you.
  • G. Campbell Morgan said of a young preacher boy, “He is a very good preacher, and when he has suffered, he will be a great preacher!”
  • A young boy carried the cocoon of a moth into his house to watch the fascinating events that would take place when the moth emerged. When the moth finally started to breat out of his cocoon, the boy noticed how very hard the moth had to struggle. The process was very slow. In an effort to help, the boy reached down and widened the opening of the cocoon. Soon the moth was out of his prison. But as the boy watched, the wings remained shriveled. Something was wrong. What the boy had not realized was that the struggle to get out of the cocoon was essential for the moth’s muscle system to develop. In a misguided effort to relieve a struggle, the boy had crippled the future of this creature.
  • Your most powerful message is you in the valley!
  • Often the only difference between a thriving ministry and a dying one is not the presence of problems but the way they are handled!
  • Servant leaders truly feel that their role is to help other people to reach their potential. They are willing to take a risk. They want to make a difference in the lives of people, and they want to help others be successful. A huge part of this process is intervention – being willing to address what isn’t right, and correct it in love.

Jeffrey Bush

Jeff Bush became the General Director of Vision Baptist Mission in May 2012. Prior to this assignment the Bush family faithfully served the Lord for 8 years in Argentina, South America. During their time in Argentina, God blessed their efforts resulting in five churches, a radio ministry, and a Bible college to train those called to the ministry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *