Oswald Sanders, in Spiritual Leadership, writes for the future of the church. In order to secure the faithfulness of the work of the church, he aims directly for the members of the church, universal’s leaders. He writes for pastors, missionaries, teachers and other administrators to challenge them towards greater faithfulness and effectiveness in their God-ordained leadership roles.

According to Sanders, the Christian leader, unlike other positions of authority, should never campaigns for himself. Only God can make someone a spiritual leader, and the duty and call of others is to recognize God’s call of leadership towards them. Not only are the responsibilities of leadership on those who are called to be leaders, but at times more importantly, the ones who recognize the faithfulness of God and his leaders have the great responsibility. Christian leadership involves a dual connection, with God vertically and with the church as a whole horizontally. Only when these dual connections are firm to the leader, can the church move forward in its call of faithfulness and communion with the Lord who saved her.

The spiritual leader makes a disciplined habit of learning from others, his weaknesses, and makes plans to strengthen himself for spiritual leadership. The great resource for spiritual leaders is from the example of those who have gone before, especially those described in the Bible. From the Apostle Paul, the spiritual leader learns to be gentle, understood by the outside world and practices avoiding unnecessary arguments. From Peter, the leader learns to shepherd the flock and to learn from mistakes. Above all else, the spiritual leader should use the gifts of the Spirit raised in him from the time of conversion.

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Throughout a lifetime of personal growth in leadership, Sanders makes clear that the habits of an increasing prayer life are evident. Time is the most precious resource. Through effective use of time a leader reads and studies, improves listening skills and looks for opportunities to effectively use skills of command and persuasion to guide others to a closer walk with the risen Lord.

Learning that one is always replaceable and should work to replace themselves is the great reign on the humility of the leaders. Fearlessness and courage often go hand in hand with the wisdom skills developed that come from making clear, decisive decisions quickly.
Sanders is quick to point out that leadership comes with a cost. It is self-sacrificial, fatiguing, full of opportunities of criticism and pressure and rejection are often common companions. Leaders should be constantly admonished to count the cost, but part of that cost has to always be the joy in seeing God redeem and sanctify what was once broken and lost.