Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda

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Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading.
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Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805418453
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/15/2001
  • Pages: 305
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Blackaby is founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, an organization built to help people experience God. Born in British Columbia, he coauthored the modern classic style Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (more than seven million books and Bible studies sold), and his other acclaimed works include Spiritual Leadership, Fresh Encounter, and A God Centered Church. He and his wife have five children, fourteen grandchildren, and live in Rex, Georgia.

Richard Blackaby is president of Blackaby Ministries International and the oldest child of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. He holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dallas Baptist University. A coauthor of the modern classics Experiencing God and Spiritual Leadership, he lives with his wife and children in Canada.

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Spiritual Leadership

Moving People on to God's Agenda

Broadman & Holman Publishers

Copyright © 2001 Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
All right reserved.

Chapter One

The Leader's Challenge

Mike sat in stunned silence, alone in the boardroom. He had appointments to keep, but they seemed irrelevant now. He remained frozen in his chair, trying to process the events of the previous hour. Mike was CEO of a software company. He was a young man-in his early thirties-bright, creative and good at his job. Moreover, he was a committed Christian with a strong work ethic. He'd always considered his faith to be an asset to his career. But the morning's executive team meeting had shattered that assumption. What began as a routine weekly meeting escalated into an acrimonious dispute, revealing a pervasive undercurrent of resentment toward him-more specifically toward his Christian beliefs. It seems a clear line had been drawn in the sand, with his executive team demanding he choose between his faith and his business.

First, the vice president for human resources announced a revision to the company benefits to include coverage for therapeutic abortions in the health policy. He urged Mike to herald the new policy as a public relations tool. Then Barbara from Marketing announced a new advertising campaign, one that deliberately misrepresented the facts. Mike felt he had no choice but to veto both recommendations. That's when the floodgates opened and his colleagues' hostility spewed out. His staff seemed united on one thing-that his agenda for the company did not match theirs. Mike was bewildered. He had a talented staff who knew their fields. Yet the majority were nonbelievers and several were disdainful of the Christian faith. Was there anything he could do? He worried about legal issues if he stood by his convictions on certain social issues. It had never been easy taking a stand for his faith at work, but he'd always tried to be obedient to Christ through his job. Now it just didn't seem possible. Maybe he should face the reality that his job and his faith could not coexist, and resign.

* * *

Pastor Edwards could barely withhold his tears. He could still hear the deacons' voices as they walked down the hallway away from his office. The group had arrived unexpectedly and lambasted him, blaming him for all the church's problems. And problems there were-lots of them! Two years ago Edwards had enthusiastically accepted the call to serve as pastor of the church, fully aware of some of the difficulties. After all, every church has issues. He was young and his faith was strong. He sincerely believed that prayer, biblical preaching, and loving guidance would bring the ailing church back to health. But now things were actually worse. Landmines seemed to explode under him no matter where he stepped. Several families requested more modern music in the services and he willingly obliged. In doing so he inadvertently alienated several others who were now withholding their tithes as well as their service in the church until the music was changed back to the style they enjoyed. One of the deacons was rumored to be in an adulterous relationship. An attempt to confront him had set the entire deacon body up in arms. They accused Edwards of witch hunting. They argued that this man had great influence in the community; they pointed out the sad truth the church could ill afford another public scandal. When Edwards proposed hiring a part-time youth pastor, a battle erupted. Various interest groups in the church clamored for more ministry-for seniors, for choir members, for college students, for the divorced, and for children. Even his preaching had come under fire-too long, not enough humor. Edwards had been growing weary under the stress, but he remained strong in his belief that, if he persevered, the problems would eventually sort themselves out. That was before this visit. Their words cut like a knife: "As representatives of this church, we feel obliged to tell you we can no longer follow your leadership. Perhaps you should begin circulating a resumé to other churches. There are churches out there who might appreciate your style of leadership...." The pastor held his face in his hands. What more could he have done? He had worked to the point of exhaustion for this church. He had sacrificed time with his wife and children, spending most evenings at church meetings, counseling people in distress, or visiting potential members. He knew where the church should be heading, but he simply could not get the people to support him. He felt like a total failure.

Leadership: The Challenge

Leadership. Everyone experiences it, or the lack of it, in their daily lives. Those called to lead can find doing so a daunting task. Those expected to follow can experience frustration when their leader is unable to lead and their organization seems to be going nowhere. Struggling leaders may agonize in the knowledge that others resent them and blame them for their organizations' failures. Countless discouraged leaders would probably quit their jobs today, but they need the income. Besides, they fear the same problems would engulf them in their new jobs. Discouraged, Christian leaders carry the added, albeit misguided, burden that they are failing not only their people but their Lord. They feel guilty because they lack the faith to move their organization forward yet the same fears prevent them from leaving their leadership positions for jobs where they might be more successful. Is there any hope for the countless numbers of leaders who are not experiencing the fulfillment and reaching the potential God intended for them? If anything can revolutionize today's Christian leaders, it is when Christians understand God's design for spiritual leaders.

The twenty-first century provides unprecedented opportunities for leaders to impact positively their organizations. However, the new millennium also brings unforeseen challenges to leaders. The digitalized nature of the twenty-first century has created increasing expectations among followers, and the unrelenting advance of technology has made communication both a blessing and a curse. E-mail and cell phones provide instant access to leaders. In times past, people would write letters or send memos to their leader and then wait for days, or even weeks for a reply. People accepted such delayed responses as a matter of course. Past leaders could take time to ponder their decisions and to consult with advisors before sending a response. Today's technology, however, has radically changed the dynamics of communication. The moment someone sends an e-mail they know that within minutes they could (and therefore should) receive a reply. Busy leaders can return from a lunch appointment to discover a dozen new e-mails and as many voice-mail messages waiting for them, classified by their senders as urgent. In any airport you can see harried executives exiting airplanes and consulting their cell phones to discover that while they traveled the first leg of their business trip, their voice mailbox was filling up with urgent messages, most of them demanding a reply before they board their next flight. Cell phones can be tremendously helpful to leaders as they seek to maintain close contact with their people, but beleaguered executives and pastors are discovering that those phones follow them everywhere, even on their vacations.

Past leaders had certain times in their day when they were inaccessible to people. During such times they could reflect on their situation and make decisions about their next course of action. Technology has made today's leaders constantly and instantly accessible to people. With such access, people often expect immediate responses from their leaders. Such pressure to make rapid decisions and to maintain steady communication can intimidate even the most zealous leader.

The rise of the Information Age has inundated leaders with new information that must be processed as rapidly as possible. Today's leaders are bombarded with books, articles, and seminars on leadership and management theory as well as data pertaining to their particular field of work. An exhausting parade of books claims that if busy executives will simply follow the proposed steps, they will be guaranteed success. Leaders wanting to improve their skills and expand their knowledge base have virtually limitless opportunities to enhance their leadership skills. But where does one begin? Which book does a leader read next? Which seminar is a must? Which management trend vociferously advocated now will be passé by next year? Such a bombardment of information, much of which is contradictory, can cause leaders to become cynical. While it is true the Information Age has given leaders many new tools with which to lead, it has also placed heavy demands on leaders, demands previous generations of leaders never faced. It is no wonder so many leaders express the frustration that they are always hopelessly behind.

Probably the most widespread modern myth is that technology will create more time for leaders. While many modern tools of technology are heralded as time-saving devices, the reality is that these instruments become major information highways bringing an endless stream of data racing toward leaders who feel pressured to respond as quickly as possible. All the while, these leaders are aware that a wrong decision can have disastrous consequences on their organization. Gordon Sullivan and Michael Harper have suggested that the defining characteristic of the Information Age is not speed, but the "compression of time." It is not so much that events are necessarily moving faster but that there is less time for leaders to respond to events than there used to be. This puts enormous pressure upon today's leaders.

Our world craves good leaders. It would seem that effective leadership has become the panacea for every challenge society faces. Whether it's in politics, religion, business, education, or law, the universally expressed need is for leaders who will rise to meet the challenges that seem to overwhelm many of today's organizations. The problem is not a shortage of willing leaders. The problem is an increasingly skeptical view among followers as to whether these people can truly lead. Warren Bennis warned, "At the heart of America is a vacuum into which self-anointed saviors have rushed." People know intuitively that claiming to be a leader or holding a leadership position does not make someone a leader. People are warily looking for leaders they can trust.

Leadership: In Politics

The political scene is perhaps the most public arena where people have expressed their distrust in those who lead them. These are not easy times in which to be a leader. The world's complexity increases at exponential speed. Political alliances are in constant flux. Threats of nuclear and biological terrorism are a real and frightening possibility. A severe downturn in the global economy can devastate a nation overnight. Violence is epidemic. Nothing shocks us any more. Social norms, previously taken for granted, are publicly ridiculed. Modern society has deteriorated to the point that, like those in the prophet Jeremiah's time, we have "forgotten how to blush" (see Jer. 6:15; 8:12). In the face of such daunting political and social realities, people search frantically for leaders they can trust. Society seeks men and women who will effectively address a multitude of societal and political ills. People are weary of politicians who make promises they are either unwilling or unable to keep. Society longs for statesmen but it gets politicians. Statesmen are leaders who uphold what is right regardless of the popularity of the position. Statesmen speak out to achieve good for their people, not to win votes. Statesmen promote the general good rather than regional or personal self-interest. Harry Truman was a statesman. He left the presidency with a low rating in the public opinion polls, yet history evaluates him as an effective leader during a dangerous and turbulent time. Politicians may win elections; nevertheless, future generations could deride them for their lack of character and their ineffective leadership.

Warren Bennis suggests that the American Revolutionary era produced at least six world-class leaders-Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Adams and Madison. For a national population of only three million, that was an impressive feat. If the United States enjoyed the same ratio of world-class leaders to its current population, it would boast over five hundred such leaders today. In recent years the term great has not been the adjective of choice in describing political leaders. If there was ever a time that called for statesmen rather than politicians, this is it.

Leadership: In Business

The business world cries out for leaders as fervently as the political world. Technology continues to revolutionize the way people do business. The global economy has mushroomed. National economies have become integrated to the point that a financial meltdown in Asia can have instant, stunning repercussions on businesses in North America. Diversity is the pervasive characteristic of the North American work force. Employees represent numerous ethnic groups. More and more people are trading in their desks for laptops so they can work at home or while on the road. Job sharing is common practice. Charles Handy observes, "The challenge for tomorrow's leaders is to manage an organization that is not there in any sense in which we are used to." It requires a Herculean effort to create a corporate culture in which every employee feels a part of the community of the company. Yesterday's workplace was a specific location where employees came together for eight hours a day. The majority of jobs were performed for one reason-a paycheck. Personal fulfillment, though a factor, was secondary. All that has changed. Today's workplace is a forum for people to express themselves and to invest their efforts into something that contributes positively to society. People no longer choose jobs based merely on salary and benefits. They seek companies with corporate values that match their personal values. Daniel Goleman suggests: "Except for the financially desperate, people do not work for money alone. What also fuels their passion for work is a larger sense of purpose or passion. Given the opportunity, people gravitate to what gives them meaning, to what engages to the fullest their commitment, talent, energy, and skill." This has led many people to embark on multiple careers. Robert Greenleaf reflects on this shift in employee focus: "All work exists as much for the enrichment of the life of the worker as it does for the service of the one who pays for it." Consequently, employees expect much more from their leaders than they did in years past.

The complex and critical issues facing today's marketplace only exacerbate the need for effective leaders.


Excerpted from Spiritual Leadership by HENRY BLACKABY RICHARD BLACKABY Copyright © 2001 by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
1. The Leader's Challenge 1
2. The Leader's Role: What Leaders Do 16
3. The Leader's Preparation: How God Develops Leaders 31
4. The Leader's Vision: Where Do Leaders Get It and How Do They Communicate It? 56
5. The Leader's Character: A Life That Moves Others to Follow 86
6. The Leader's Goal: Moving People On to God's Agenda 119
7. The Leader's Influence: How Leaders Lead 147
8. The Leader's Decision Making 178
9. The Leader's Schedule: Doing What's Important 200
10. The Leader's Pitfalls: What Disqualifies Leaders? 230
11. The Leader's Rewards 264
Notes 289
Bibliography 297
Index 300
About the Authors 306
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2005

    Best, most challenging book I've read on leadership

    This book is not for the feeble-hearted who want to pick up a few of the latest tips to make them more effective at work. The Blackabys challenge you right to the core of your being. Yet, if you take this book to heart you will find yourself becoming a person who will leave a lasting, valuable legacy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2003

    An excellent discussion of what it really means to be a spiritual leader.

    In this book, Henry Blackaby (of "Experiencing God" fame) and his son tackle the issue of spiritual leaders. This book is aimed at those people who consider themselves Christian leaders, either in the realm of the church or in the secular realm (and are they really all that different?). A lot of advice is given, as well as a number of warnings. There are even a few challenges to either toe the line or stop trying to lead, as you're just doing more harm than good if you're not leading properly. This book is very good. It's not an easy read, as nobody comes unscathed from this. There were definitely a few things I flat out didn't like in this book. Not that they were wrong, I just didn't like them. But just because I don't like something doesn't mean I don't have to deal with it, as I get the sneaking suspicion that the authors are right and I'm not. All that aside, there are a lot of nuggets for anyone leading an organization of any size to get from this book. It's not for everybody, and it's not a light read, but if you are a leader who cares about the spiritual side of your life and your organization, you can't go wrong here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2014


    Down \/

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    Kind of makes you feel like dirt

    It was an okay book, dont get me wrong. I believe one must be led by the spirit! But there are young kids out there learning what it is, we must not forget them. This book is directed to a more experinenced crowd only leaving the novice feeling like he is nothing. In every aspect of life this book talks about you must have God apart of your life, this is very true, but it seems so hardcore like if I were to eat with out Gods say so I wouldnt be led by the spirit to eat, or if I went to help another human being im left with asking myself ' Did the spirit tell me to or did I tell myself' then your left with a confusing thought: Am I being led by the spirit or am I one of these influential leaders this book talks about? I believe this is a good book for a more experienced crowd, its ver honest and very hepful if you of the age of 30 on up. Anything else is going to leave the novice very confused. I've been going to bible college now for half a year, but have been reading the bible and learning about for almost a year and half. Im born again and feel like im called to do something in the ministry, but this books just makes you feel as if you arnt suppose to be there if God has come knocking on your door with shinning lights and trumpets sounding for you to be a 'spiritual leader'. I just feel im called because if I quit bible college now I'd have nothing left, teaching the word is my passion. BUT ohhhh this book might condemn me as a heretic I better rethink myself! Seriously though, If you are young DO NOT read this book, yet read something more for your age let the 'spiritual giants' stick with this...basically thats all this book is directed towards. It kinda made me feel like I was a nobody, it really makes me want to call the mand tell them what kind of a leader they are.

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    Posted August 1, 2011

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    Posted October 15, 2008

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    Posted May 1, 2011

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    Posted March 21, 2011

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