Once upon a time a certain king set out to conquer new land. He sent his two most trusted generals in to spy out the land, and come back with a plan of attack. Upon their return, he held audience to hear the report of these military leaders.
The first general stepped up and made an impressive presentation. He had scouted out the land, checked the climate, and even evaluated the surrounding terrain. He had consulted with neighboring military powers, and read up on the history of the people they were to conquer. With all this information and guidance at hand, he set forth a thorough and well thought out plan.
“Your majesty,” he began, “ the first city we must take is a walled city just inside the borders of the land. I have studied siege warfare, and consulted the experts. Given the time of year, and likely weather patterns, in this part of the land, and in this culture, I believe it will take us about six months to wait out the inhabitants of this city. Give me a week to supply and train my men. From that point, in about six months we can take our first stronghold in the land.”
The King looked quite impressed. His general had certainly shown his wisdom and diligence. He turned to the second general for confirmation of this well-thought out plan. The second general stepped up.
“Sir,” he said respectfully, “I have looked at all the same information, but I have a slightly different recommendation. Call me crazy, but I believe that if we leave tomorrow, and march around the city every day for the next seven days, that on the seventh day, we can shout and blow trumpets and the walls will fall down. We can take that city by next Friday.”
What kind of leader makes an audacious recommendation like that? Well, I am glad you asked. The kind of leader that makes that kind of recommendation, is a spiritual leader. The kind of leader that kind make this kind of recommendation, thinks in a particular way.
A spiritual leader is willing to learn everything he can about good leadership, while also being willing to question the common assumptions of the day. While not rebellious, a spiritual leader recognizes that perhaps we are not seeing all there is to be seen. If this is the case, to lead effectively, he or she must look beyond what appears obvious to all.
A spiritual leader assumes that while we must negotiate visible reality, a higher reality exists. We live in both a natural world and a spiritual world, and they are connected one to the other. Understanding the nature of the connection between natural and supernatural reality is a must for a spiritual leader.
Imagine now that the recommendation of the second general works. Not only does it work, but works decisively, demonstrating that this strategy was the right one. A spiritual leader will resist the urge to write a book about how to conquer cities by marching and shouting. Instead, a spiritual leader would point others not to the most recent strategy, but the process by which the most recent strategy came to pass.
A spiritual leader points people to the always-the-same-always-changing active voice of God. The same God who spoke to Moses in the burning bush, also spoke through a donkey, and a floating hand. Though He is always the same, He never replicated a given strategy. A spiritual leader points people to the active direction of God, rather than trying to declare that the most recent wineskin is the new “right way”.
Spiritual leadership is exactly that. Leading spiritual beings in a spiritual way. Let us begin to think differently in this current leadership culture.