Tag: Leadership

7 Practices for Preserving Unity On Your Elder Team

Six months ago I was ordained as an elder at Grace Bible Fellowship in Sunnyvale, CA. Prior to my ordination I was required complete an oral examination. This two-hour, 70-question theological interview and was the final step in a multi-step ordination process that was designed to revere Paul’s admonishment to Timothy: “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands” (1 Tim 5:22). These elders were not hasty, and I am grateful for their patience and care.
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The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion

Pastors need to be courageous. Many of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy highlight this truth. Timothy, though sincere, gifted, and discipled by the most eminent of apostles, apparently lacked courage in some areas (II Timothy 1:7), and was perhaps even guilty of over-correcting and being too harsh with the way he instructed those who were not in step with the truth (II Timothy 2:24-26). Throughout the same letter Paul exhorts Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord (1:8), to correct opponents (2:24-25), to avoid religious hypocrites (3:6), and to preach the Word all the time—regardless of a presence or lack of popularity (4:3).

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'Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership' by Steve Miller

Spurgeon on Spiritual LeadershipThe second book I came upon was C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller. I read this book about 3 months after I read MacArthur’s The Book on Leadership. I came to love Spurgeon while listening to a great pastoral biography on his life by Dr. John Piper. He was a man who truly demonstrated Christ-exalting perseverance in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds and obstacles. This is the kind of man I need to learn from.

Miller caught my attention with the opening sentence of the book. He says, “The best spiritual leaders are always learning.” I love this sentence. I had a pastor about 4 years ago, in my hometown of Billings, Montana, who was 84, and who, during his tri-weekly (3 times a week) kidney dialysis, would engage in two practices: evangelizing the nurses or devouring books. He was always learning. I want to be like that! I want to always be learning.

But Miller narrows our ambition a bit. He follows his opening sentence with a series of questions that the best spiritual leaders ask themselves. He posits that the best spiritual leaders are the ones who ask, “How can I do this better? How can I have a greater impact? How can I inspire the people around me upward and onward in their Christian growth? How can I glorify God more?” Do you ask yourself those questions regularly? You should. And so should I.

From here, Miller endeavors to lay before the reader jewels of wisdom from the life of Spurgeon that will help to answer the above questions. Miller takes the reader through the life and thought of Spurgeon by simply letting Spurgeon speak for himself. The strength of this little book (only 5″ tall and 200 pages), in my estimation, is that Miller provides lengthy sections from Spurgeon’s own pen and mouth. In fact, the majority of the book is quotes from Spurgeon, while Miller simply comments from one section to another in order to maintain continuity and provide background.

In each chapter, Miller focuses on one of nine total essential characteristics of true spiritual leadership that were exemplified in the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon. They are:

Chapter 1: A passion for prayer
Chapter 2: A faith that endures
Chapter 3: A commitment to holiness
Chapter 4: A heart for service
Chapter 5: A love for the Lord and His Word
Chapter 6: A willingness to suffer
Chapter 7: A zeal for proclaiming God’s Word
Chapter 8: A passion for lost souls
Conclusion: The power of a single focus

Each chapter, as I have mentioned, is brimming with quotes from Spurgeon while the chapters are closed by a section entitled, ‘Spurgeon on his knees’ or ‘Spurgeon with his pen.’ Miller has mined the riches of Spurgeon’s life and ministry to give us some soul-nourishing essentials! This is a great book especially for leaders, but also for those who desire an introduction into Charles Spurgeon.

'The Book on Leadership' by John MacArthur

The Book on LeadershipI think a lot about leadership. One, because I recently was married and I desire to know how to lead my wife in a Christlike, God-honoring way; and two, my job as youth pastor requires that I know something about leadership since I am, well, the leader. Interestingly, however, I didn’t actually plan to immerse myself in leadership material. It just kind of happened. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be more disciplined. I supposed to write a thorough list of books that I want to read, separate them by category, and then begin a carefully planned reading regiment. And to be honest, I LOVE stuff like that: the whole planning, organizing, separating by category thing, (just ask my good friend Bobby) but this time, it just, like I said, kind of happened.

First, my mom got me The Book on Leadership by John MacArthur. It was my birthday, we were at the local Christian book store and, well, I like Johnny Mac. I was sure that I would get some good, solid, Biblical help from my former pastor. And I was right. MacArthur takes the reader through significant events in the life of Paul, beginning in Acts 27 and continuing into II Corinthians, providing insight into Paul’s leadership ability and personal character as it is demonstrated in his dealings with pagan sailors, false teachers, and immature Christians.

He also takes a short detour towards the beginning of the book to look into the life of Nehemiah in order to glean some wisdom from Nehemiah’s effort to rebuild the wall. The end result is an extremely practical, Biblically saturated guide into true leadership. From the life of Paul and Nehemiah, MacArthur derives 26 characteristics of a true leader. Especially helpful is an appendix on page 209 which provides the list of the 26 characteristics in the order in which they appear in the book.

Another very helpful portion of this book is where MacArthur elaborates on the principle that a “Leader is disciplined” (147). On pages 152 through 157, MacArthur gives eight specific, practical ways in which a person can discipline himself or herself: Get organized; use time wisely; find ways to be edified rather than merely entertained; pay attention to small things; accept extra responsibility; once you start something, finish it; keep your commitments and tell yourself no from time to time.

Overall, the book is extremely helpful and practical and will be very encouraging for those who desire to be true leaders. I highly recommend it!