Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders

This book was one of my assigned books read by our staff and discussed in staff meetings. This one actually worked better than most – it didn’t turn into a karioke evaluation after the middle trying chapters that are found in most books.

i am trying to process this one, though. I am living in a context where Rob Bell tells me, Everything is Spiritual, yet, if there is a such thing as spiritual leadership, then it follows that there is a such thing as unspiritual leadership. So how can I say everything is spiritual, when apparently it is not? Then, (using Bell’s logic of everything being spiritual because there is no Hebrew word for spiritual – thus everything is spiritual) possibly, can it not be true that nothing is spiritual? I can’t believe that, though, because then God would be a liar. As a point of note, apparently Bell has merely borrowed a phrase that Schaffaer used before him, and explained a little more cartesianly.

Anyways, I am beginning to sound like a Nate rant when he has overdosed on Lewis…lol.

So, I am living in this tension of everything being spiritual but assuredly old-school (read: reductionism) Sanders says, apparently, that it isn’t. I have a hypothesis – maybe everything is spiritual, but sin rips the spiritual out of things. And then, the regeneration/renewal/salvation of all things that Jesus is doing could be described as working the spiritual back into all things.

So here’s some quotes contributing to the tension:

> p.18 “True leaders must be willing to suffer for thee sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience.”

> p.28 “A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he leads.”
So, then, why? Doesn’t this mean a pastor cannot spiritually lead those who are more spiritual? Isn’t there a problem in this somewhere when we have 26 year olds graduating seminary and pastoring people who have been following God for fifty years?

> p.32 “Spiritual goals can be achieved only by spiritual people who use spiritual methods.”

>p.53 on young leadership, “…pray while others daydream…”

>p.75 “Any position of leadership involves a considerable amount of correspondence, and letters are self-revealing”
I ripped on this section in a staff meeting – it’s all about how writing letters is so important. Hello?? email!! Anyways…

>p.85 “The spiritual leader should outpace the rest of the church, above all, in prayer.”

>p.87 “Jesus performed miracles without a sign of outward strain, by ‘he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears” (quoting Hebrews 5:7)

p.157 “Many influential Christians have fallen before this temptation [indispensability]. It seems that Christians are especially prone to it. They cling to authority long after it should have passed to younger people.”
I think this is going to be a trying point for much of the modern/baby boomer leadership in existence today. Even more so because of a lack of understanding and suspicion that leads to a dismissal of postmodernity.

Good stuff. I wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t been told to, but if I only ever did what I wanted I would only grow in some areas. This book helped to balance me and see through some biases that I had been reading in other texts.


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