Spiritual Leadership

John Piper pictures the marks of a spiritual leader as an inner circle and an outer circle. He writes:

Biblical spiritual leadership contains an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle of spiritual leadership is that sequence of events in the human soul that must happen if anyone is to take the first step in spiritual leadership. These are the absolute bare essentials. They are things that all Christians must attain in some degree, and when they are attained with high fervor and deep conviction they very often lead one into strong leadership. In the outer circle are qualities that characterize both spiritual and non-spiritual leaders. (Piper, The Marks of a Spiritual Leader)

It is tempting, but ultimately defeating, to focus solely on the outer circle in determining spiritual leadership. The qualities (optimistic, intense, self-controlled, energetic, articulate, et al.) may give the appearance of strong leadership, but in the church, these marks must be undergirded by the inner circle. Piper enumerates these marks:

· That others will glorify God · Love both friend and foe by trusting in God and hoping in his promises · Meditate on and pray over his word · Acknowledge your helplessness

David Hesselgrave summarizes the need for biblical leadership in this way:

It is common for church planters to desire that new groups of believers organize as soon as possible. The emphasis can be somewhat misguided, however. No organization can be stronger than its leadership. Therefore, to think, pray, plan, and work with a view to raising up spiritual leadership for the organizing of the church should be of first priority. When spiritual leadership emerges, organization will become practicable and essential. (Hesselgrave 200, 254)