Leadership: A Work of Heart

Reflections on 

A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders

Author: Reggie McNeal

What is spiritual leadership?

“The first order of responsibility for spiritual leaders: to reflect the heart of God to the people around them (XIV).”

I’ve come to understand that the first person that I must lead is myself. Self-leadership includes everything from the way I focus my mind, nurture my body, and care for my soul and spiritual well-being, to the discipline in which I pursue my purpose.

When it comes to leadership, you must put your heart in it. The lesson from this book is: “When a leader loses heart, he [or she] loses (xix).” Life is difficult and challenging for every one of us. While some challenges and days are more difficult than others, it is certain that all of us will struggle in this world. When confronting their grief at the reality of his own death, Jesus words to his disciples was this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV).” I love that in our English translations, there is the coordinating conjunction “but” in this sentence. In this sentence the word “but” connects and contrasts the trouble of this world with the proper response to take heart. Taking heart is an intentional act and it affirms the hope we have in Jesus. Jesus has overcome this world! In him, we are victorious and can therefore, live as champions in spite of the world’s troubles.

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Mentoring: Stand Your Ground Part III

Today we wrap a mini-series about mentoring through the hard things. Our first post talked about the importance of offering comfort and encouragement during difficult times, with the understanding that suffering is a part of living in a fallen world, and suffering well is a mark of our Christian faith. Part II mentally prepared us to take a stand against the schemes of Satan. In that post, we discussed the importance of knowing God, ourselves, and Satan. Today, we will discuss strategies and tactics for our spiritual battles.

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Coffee Talk: This Makes Me Nervous

Will you follow Christ
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians to a very disturbed church. They were divided on many issues. They quarreled. There was jealousy, sexual immorality, and lawsuits among them. In the midst of thanking God for this troubled population of believers, teaching and instructing them, offering warnings and rebukes—some gentle, some not—Paul continued to respond to the situations and concerns of their day.

After encouraging them to do everything to glorify God and reminding them not to cause their sisters or brothers in Christ to stumble or get off the course of their faith journey, Paul wrote that he was seeking the good of many and his desire was that people he encountered would be saved. This is exactly the type of declarations I would expect to read from a missionary or evangelist like Paul.

Then he continued with the statement, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1 NIV).” Reading this statement always makes me nervous. At first glance, it is easy to present this verse as a mentoring or leadership topic of consideration. Of course it is. If a disciple is indeed a follower of Christ—which Paul is—then why is it so hard to conceive that he would encourage others to follow him? After all, one sign of a leader is that they have people who are willing to follow them. So I look at the Apostle Paul, the person who wrote almost half of the New Testament, and I think to myself, “Who would not want to follow that guy?”

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