When we study the New Testament, we find that Spiritual Leadership combines two cups of leadership in the kingdom of God: a Spiritual Cup and a Leadership Cup. The Spiritual Cup entails exemplary living as a born-again child of God and the Leadership Cup entails the equipping of God’s people to do His work. As spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom, we are to become more like Jesus in exemplary living every day as we do what He has called us to do in the equipping of His people to do His work.
The Spiritual Cup Of Exemplary Living – Who We Become in Christ
In 1 Timothy 4:11-13, Paul tells Timothy, “Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” The Spiritual Cup of spiritual leadership pours into others from who we are in Christ. We live as an example to others by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside us. Through Christ in us, we become more like Him as the Holy Spirit teaches us all things and leads us into all truth.
The Leadership Cup Of Equipping Others – What We Do In Christ
In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” The Leadership Cup of spiritual leadership pours into others from what we do in Christ. We equip others to do God’s work in the earth as His ambassadors on the earth. While Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords sitting at the right hand of the Father, it has always been God’s plan to empower His creation to carry out His will on earth by His authority given to redeemed men and women in Christ.
As spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God, who we become in Christ and what we do in Christ are equally important. In fact, we find this spiritual leadership pattern in the kingdom of God represented in Christ all throughout the Bible by the person of Jesus and the principles of Jesus. To be an impactful spiritual leader in God’s kingdom, we must not only know Jesus personally, but we must also do what He says to do by living out His principles such as:
- Give and it shall be given to you
- Lose your life to save your life
- Serve others to be the greatest
- Pray for those who persecute you
- Forgive and be forgiven
In John 14:15-17, Jesus tells His disciples, “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” Spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God know Jesus and obey Him because the Holy Spirit lives inside us and teaches us how to live out His principles in life.
The Imperative For Developing Spiritual Leaders
As a young leader, the COO of our organization told me early in my professional life that I had to prepare myself to grow and lead in an environment with significant growth. Additionally, I was encouraged that if I heeded that instruction, I too would enjoy the opportunity of personally growing the same way within the organization. In response to that instruction, I continued developing myself as a leader within the organization.
As a result, in 10 short years I went from being a Director of 3 teams, to an Administrator of a Clinic Division, to a VP of a consolidated Hospital and Clinic Division, to an SVP of a Central Business Office operation for 7 Hospitals and more than 700 Physicians, to a Chief Operating Officer of 7 different operating divisions. From the age of 30 to the age of 40, my leadership responsibilities grew from leading 45 people to leading over 1,000 people in my direct sphere of leadership influence because I was willing to learn, grow, and develop as a leader as well as equip others to learn, grow, and develop as leaders.
The reason I share this story is because the kingdom of God is experiencing significant growth in these last days and we must appropriately prepare ourselves as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom if we intend to effectively steward the harvest of souls entrusted to us by the Lord. This means that spiritual leaders have to become better leaders and must effectively equip more leaders for the work of the ministry in God’s kingdom. The stakes are high and if we are not prepared for the growth, we will be at significant risk of ministry overload and personal burnout, even as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom.
The Development Process For Spiritual Leaders
In order to effectively develop spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom for sustainability in their personal and professional lives, spiritual leaders must have a Personal Excellence Plan derived from a written Life Plan and a Professional Excellence Plan derived from a written Business Plan. The Personal Excellence Plan focuses on important leadership development aspects of the leader’s personal life such as the character development of the leader and the chemistry development of the leader within his or her team. The Professional Excellence Plan focuses on important leadership development aspects of the leader’s professional life such as the culture development of the leader and the competency development of the leader within his or her team.
A Personal Excellence Plan Supports Character Development And Chemistry Development In A Spiritual Leaders’s Personal Life
The Character Development of a leader builds the Spiritual Cup of a leader on a personal level. A good Personal Excellence Plan seeks to answer Spiritual Cup questions such as:
- Who are you becoming when no one is looking?
- How are you becoming more like Christ each day in your personal life?
The Chemistry Development of a leader builds the Leadership Cup of a leader on a personal level. A good Personal Excellence Plan seeks to answer Leadership Cup questions such as:
- What are your personal leadership gifts and talents given to you by God?
- How will you personally use your gifts and talents to glorify God and benefit others?
A Professional Excellence Plan Supports Culture Development And Competency Development In A Spiritual Leader’s Professional Life
The Culture Development of a leader builds the Spiritual Cup of a leader on a professional level. A good Professional Excellence Plan seeks to answer Spiritual Cup questions such as:
- What type of team are you helping the organization to become when no one is looking?
- How are you helping the organization to become more like the kingdom of God?
The Competency Development of a leader builds the Leadership Cup of a leader on a professional level. A good Professional Excellence Plan seeks to answer Leadership Cup questions such as:
- What are your leadership commitments and responsibilities in the organization?
- How will you fulfill your leadership commitments and responsibilities as a kingdom ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ in your organization?
To be sustainable spiritual leaders in our personal and professional lives, we must continually fill our spiritual cup (who we are in Christ) and our leadership cup (what we do in Christ) in the areas of character development, culture development, chemistry development, and competency development. Otherwise, empty cups will lead to empty spiritual leaders.
To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!
Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part Two Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part Two, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.
- Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One (makeithappenmoment.com)