I began my career working for a large secular corporation. In those days I had very little positional influence. I was at the bottom of the ladder trying to climb my way to the top just like every other poor soul my age. But what I quickly discovered was that I was earning influence with my peers in an area that I hadn't anticipated. Some of the people I worked with were also Christians and we naturally gravitated to one another to discuss spiritual things. Out of our relationships flowed the opportunity to speak into each others' lives about what God was teaching us and where he was stretching us to grow in our faith.
But the moments I remember most vividly are the chances I had to share with those who were not believers. As we got to know one another, I learned more about their families, their dreams and their fears. I took it as a great compliment when one of these individuals would show up at my door and say, "Hey, can I ask you something?" This usually was followed with a concern or frustration that they wanted counsel in navigating. Sometimes these were work-related; other times, family issues. Regardless, it gave me an opportunity to share truth–to speak God's Word into their lives.
Henry and Richard Blackaby would call what I was doing spiritual leadership. In their book Spiritual Leadership, they define it as "moving people on to God's agenda."
And according to the Blackabys, "When spiritual leaders have done their jobs, the people around them have encountered God and obeyed his will."
Spiritual leadership is sensitivity to engaging the conversations that help lead people closer to God. It's a unique distinctive that sets us apart from other leaders, and it's the most critical dimension of being a leader, especially for those of us who serve in the church or in other faith-based endeavors. I'm thankful that early in my career I learned the value of this type of leadership. What a unique privilege it is to help others to move on to God's agenda.
Don't underestimate the influence that God has given you. What are some ways you can be a spiritual leader for the people on your team and in your life?