Cache directory "/home/content/f/w/s/fwschmidt/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ttftitles/cache" is not writable.Spiritual Leadership

For some time now, people have been casting around for a means of defining spiritual leadership.

Some have approached the challenge by urging leaders to cultivate virtue, stressing the moral character of leaders. It is an approach that has resonance with broad religious traditions, stressing behavior found in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.

Some have gravitated to servant leadership, defining a leaders role in a fashion that resonates with large tracts of Scripture, including the ministry of Jesus, and addresses the excesses of a self-invested leader.

Others urge a broadly defined interest in the spiritual well being of their employees.

What none of these models do, however, is help leaders to understand or imagine the shape of the larger enterprise in which they are involved.

One way of thinking about the spiritual leader’s role is to envision it as the crafting and enhancement of creative space — creativity that mirrors the creative work of God.

The Book of Genesis emphasizes the unique role of God as creator. It also describes the image of God — which is shared with human kind — as centrally a creative impulse, not just in the act of procreation, but in exercising responsibility and authority over the created order.

Likewise, in our work worlds, it is possible to think of the leader’s role as inherently spiritual in the sense that it takes this delegated responsibility seriously. This means identifying the kinds of resources and boundaries are needed to create an environment for creativity; the conditions that maximize the opportunity for creativity; and the kind of leadership that enhances everyone’s sense of responsibility for the creative enterprise.

That is very different from the notion of leadership as the exercise of power. It is less reactive. It is not pegged to a leader’s need for control. It is not tied to a potentially unhealthy preoccupation with whether or not a leader is liked. But at the same time it is not cavalier about the ways in which a need for control can kill the desire to work creatively.

The leadership Jesus exercised may have been shaped by the highest of moral concerns. Jesus may have been the quintessential servant. And there is every reason to believe that he was extraordinarily attentive to the spiritual needs of those he met. But his life and work were shaped in decisive ways by his attention to the coming of the Kingdom and the creative space for the work of God that it represented.

We all exercise authority over some kind of creative space: in our homes, work places, and relationships. Where can you be used by God to encourage creativity?

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