In a world of noise and production, the spiritual leader stands in stark contrast to the surrounding culture. With the craziness of life constantly trying to dull the impact faith is suppose to have on our lives, the spiritual leader is resolute on his or her conviction that faith is central to everything.
Many of us want to be spiritual leaders—or someone who lives, innovates, and makes change out of their convictions—but if we’re honest, it’s difficult to do so in our noisy world.
If you want to step into the role of being a spiritual leader—in your home, in your workplace, and in your relationships—then you must live differently, like Jesus did.
Here are just a few of the ways spiritual leaders live differently:
1. They don’t obsess with numbers and stats.
While our surrounding culture wants us to measure and track everything, the spiritual leader is more concerned about impact. They don’t need a huge following to be satisfied with their work. They’re instead content with influencing the small numbers, just as long as they’re making a difference in people’s lives.
2. They keep a healthy perspective to life.
The spiritual leader doesn’t fixate on goals. They instead hold their endeavors with open hands. They understand Scripture’s call to hold our lives with open hands (James 4:13-17), and they balance all their endeavors with this perspective.
3. They don’t entertain choices.
A spiritual leader knows how to focus on a mission. While others can be unsure of where to go and what to do, the spiritual leader (although moving within an amount of uncertainty) knows how to follow a direction—meaning, they don’t entertain many choices. When people don’t know where they’re going and what they should be doing, they get distracted by choices. But spiritual leaders know the choices they have to make to stay on track with their mission.
4. They extract themselves from the noise.
Many of us struggle to escape the symphony of buzzes, rings, and pings, largely because we can’t bear to not be connected. But the spiritual leader is content in unplugging for a while. He or she knows that their greatest contribution comes when they withdraw from their noisy surrounding, and return to enact change.
5. They take Sabbath rest seriously.
We don’t want to rest when we have goals that need accomplishing, but the Biblical model for work is unwavering on the necessity of one day off. Spiritual leaders acknowledge this model, and know that their greatest contribution suffers when they can’t separate from their work for one day. They take one day to rest completely—not be attached to screens, email, or social media.
6. They cultivate community.
While a worker is concerned only about getting their tasks done in the workplace, a spiritual leader is concerned about creating community. They understand that their purpose in being where they are is much larger than simply getting work done; it also involves making an impact in people’s lives. It involves bringing people into a place of belonging, so that they to can make an impact.
7. They approach life at a slower pace.
Many people wake up late, rush to work, and keep that hurried pace for the entire day. But the spiritual leader knows the benefit for keeping a slow pace to the day. For this purpose, they wake up early so they have enough time for a devotional in the morning. They add buffers to their day so they are not pressured to move faster. Moving with a slower pace allows them enough space to reflect on what’s important and not get swept up in what’s not.
8. They’re concerned about people’s wellbeing.
In the corporate world, many of us are simply concerned about a person’s production, not their wellbeing. We only care if they do the work they’re suppose to do. But a spiritual leader can see deeper than that. They know people are not working machines. They have souls, and that soul needs care if they are going to live with meaning and provide the world with their greatest contribution.
9. They care about character.
Once again, spiritual leaders care more about the heart behind things rather than the results they produce. If an action is committed from a wrong heart, they actually work to correct the heart rather than continue doing what they’re doing. They actually take time to remove the plank from their eye instead of continue judging. And they care to center their heart on what’s important, because if their character is out of place, they know they’re not living up to their convictions.
10. They see the opportunity in failure.
Failures are not setbacks to spiritual leaders. They are opportunities to grow, learn, and consider a new path that God might have in store for them. Because of this, they are not paralyzed by their supposed “failures.” Instead, they are encouraged to try knocking on a new door.
11. They’re concerned about passing the baton.
Spiritual leaders want to leave a place better than when they found it, while other workers might just want to do the necessary work before leaving. This drives a spiritual leader to engage in mentorship and teaching relationships. They want to continue their legacy in the lives of others rather than only leave a legacy in the work they did.
12. They choose to be thankful for what they have.
Many people simply blame and complain about what they don’t have. But spiritual leaders acknowledge that they can’t move forward unless they choose to be thankful for what God has given them. They don’t entertain the paralyzing posture of complaining/blaming. They instead utilize what they have to make a difference.
13. They live with a mission.
Finally, many people can live without purpose and intentionality behind their actions. They instead have scattered actions and behaviors that don’t make sense of a cohesive way of living. But since spiritual leaders hold to the foundation of their faith, every action and thought is filtered through the mission given to them from their convictions. They don’t pass through life; they intentionally embrace it, using their breath to make a valuable difference in the world.
You can be a spiritual leader in any role—as a CEO, as a stay-at-home parent, or as a teacher in the schools—because to be a spiritual leader, you simply have to live differently, embrace a style of living that doesn’t necessarily agree with how the surrounding culture wants you to live.
Be a spiritual leader to make the difference faith calls us to make.
What are others things you think a spiritual leader might do differently? Write it in the comments below!
Photography by Ana Gabriel
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