How to be a Spiritually Healthy Leader
How to be a Spiritually Healthy Leader
A healthy church is dependent on spiritually healthy members. Spiritually healthy members are dependent on spiritually healthy leaders. According to John Maxwell “Everything rises and falls on leadership”, this applies to the ‘healthiness’ of your church too.
What makes a spiritually healthy leader?
The making of a spiritually healthy leader includes, but is not limited to, understanding one’s responsibility to stay healthy and to avoid contaminations that could cause infections. In medicine, there is an aspect called healthcare. Healthcare is the maintenance or enhancement of health through the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of sickness in people. All aspects of our lives need similar health interventions too.
- What does healthy mean?
Healthy implies being in a good physical or mental condition.
It is complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being; and not simply the absence of sickness.
- About spirituality
Spirituality is not just an aspect of a Christian’s life, it is our life! We are spiritual beings. We were made in the likeness of God. God is Spirit. At creation, He breathed His Spirit into mankind. There ought not to be a disconnection between the spiritual and the secular for Christians.
So, spirituality is not a mode we switch to when we want to prove proximity with God, personal power or prophetic proficiency. Spirituality is our lifestyle!
Spirituality has to do with self-awareness, feeling connected to God, and having a sense of peace and purpose. A spiritual person reverences God and consciously attempts to honour Him. Thus, it flows into everyday experiences of life, family, business, church etc.
- Spiritually healthy leader
A person in leadership who ensures their wellbeing and keeps their spiritual condition optimised by their intentional process of transformation into the likeness of Christ.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Leaders
Michael Jinkins in his article “Ten Things We Need to Know about Healthy Leadership” said, “We need healthy leadership; and in the absence of healthy leaders, people will follow whatever moves.”
Before we consider healthy leaders and leadership (what they do) let’s see what unhealthy leadership looks like.
Unhealthy leadership is….
- leadership that generates animosity and dread, suspicion and anxiety.
- leadership that promotes secrecy, servitude and subjugation.
- leadership that fosters self-interests, nepotism and gender-based chauvinism.
- leadership that succeeds through falsehood and factionalism.
- leadership that does not honour God’s principles.
The abovementioned attributes reveal the kind of leader he/she is; an unhealthy leader! He/she is one who is selfish, narcissistic and inhumane. He/she is a snake that spreads their venom everywhere they go. And everything their venom touches shrivels and dies! Such a person will not nurture his/her team or followers. Instead, he/she will impede growth and stifle progress. It is not surprising to hear horrific stories from the Guyana Tragedy where Jim Jones manipulated thousands to the 1978 mass suicide at Jonestown.
On the other hand, healthy leaders have a totally different approach to leadership. Healthy leaders are those who…
- help and nurture an individual, group or institution to grow and mature successfully
- contribute to the health and well-being of their team and those being served
- strengthen life-enhancing values, mindsets and strategies
- develop a healthy organisational culture
- grow their capacity, skills and competency
- inspire creativity and leadership and the development of public virtue.
- live a life of higher standards and accountability.
5 things to note:
- Your spiritual health is your responsibility. The same way an adult is expected to maintain high levels of hygiene, eat a balanced diet, get exercise etc., so are you to conscientiously work on your spiritual fitness. So, as a spiritual leader, you must be faithful in your worship, your quiet time, your spiritual exercises. Whatever isn’t growing is dying. Don’t be deluded by stagnation theories, stagnation is recession, decline and regression. Make sure you practice the disciplines that help you connect with God.
- Being intentional and consistent about your development is critical. John C Maxwell’s “The Law of Intentionality” stipulates that growth doesn’t “just happen,” but must be intentional. The space we live and lead is a dynamic one, upskilling is necessary to remain relevant and effective. No one falls to the top, you climb up. It’s intentional and fun. Challenges add zest to life. You must, therefore, obliterate the “arrival mentality” and strive for continuous self-improvement. Jesus mentioned that you do not put new wine into old wineskins. Good leaders are continuous learners which makes them solution providers.
- Submission to your pastor and finding a mentor are your lifebuoys in your destiny journey. Satan can be very subtle in dragging you down. He will brainwash you and toy with your vision. He will work on your mind until you have blind spots for significant areas of your life. He will trick you to compromise and continually move your boundaries. If care is not taken he’ll lure you into secrecy and sin. Remaining accountable and humble will save you many a sorrow. There is a security that flows from submission, do not become a victim like Eve.
- Spiritual strength is mandatory. In GIC, we are trained to be strong. The Lead Pastor received a mandate to teach God’s people strength. Spiritual strength includes mental toughness, emotional stamina, confidence, “lastability” and “prevailability”. The truth is, leadership is difficult and highly demanding. You need a robust amount of divine energy to withstand its challenges. Leadership is a form elevation which makes you conspicuous both for criticism and satanic attacks. A leader’s sin is a leading sin. A leader’s flaw is his weakest link. See Moses, his anger undid him. Also, leaders are always the devil’s target. “Hit the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter”.
- Heaven and God’s approval is the ultimate goal, not people-pleasing and political correctness. Slippery is the path on which leaders trudge. Balancing people’s expectations with God’s is many times dangerous. I have taught myself not to take God’s mercy for granted—He is not as ‘understanding’ as we make Him out to be. King Saul lost his throne because he wanted to please people. High levels of spiritual sensitivity are crucial to avoid landmines on our way. God help us!
You would do well for yourself if you answer these questions monthly.
- Am I being true to myself and God?
- Do I still love my assignment?
- What is my purpose in ministry & life?
- Where do I see myself in future? [5 years]
- Am I learning from the Holy Spirit, Scriptures, my pastor and others?
- What are the new lessons learnt?
- What have been my shortcomings?
- What are my current prayers?
- Who am I leading? Who did I lead?
- How should I model the way to leave my footprints and inspire followership?
- How am I dealing with my personal and people issues?
- What change will help my leadership endeavours most?
- Who is my mentor?
- Am I effectively collaborating and networking?
- What am I doing to ensure a healthy culture in my team?
- What am I doing to ensure ministry-life balance?
- What are my current priorities?
- What am I doing to think of new ideas & be innovative?
- What is my watchword for this season?
- How am I sharpening my leadership skills and tracking my effectiveness?