Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reviewing Oswald Sanders' Spiritual Leadership

I was assigned to read Spiritual Leadership as part of one of my CIU summer classes, and I am so thankful that it was required reading. Outside of the Good Book, I do not recall a book speaking me to so much and causing me to reflect and share what I read. Had I read this book prior to this year, I believe I would simply think it is a good book. However, due to my position in life now, much of this book really provided me relevant insights and Godly wisdom that I was not ready to hear in years past.

Dr. John Oswald Sanders was an OMF (China Inland Mission) general director in the 1950's and 1960's and penned more than forty Christian living books. His book, Spiritual Leadership, receives high marks by some of today's great spiritual leaders like Chuck Colson and John MacArthur. The book was originally written in 1967, and I read the 1994 version that was updated by Moody Bible Institute. A newer version was printed four years ago which uses language that is less likely to confuse the younger generation. 750,000 copies of this 190 pager have sold over the years, and Bible verses (primarily NIV) are scattered throughout the 22 chapters. Each chapter begins with at least one Bible verse, and notes have been added to the text to identify the people whom Sanders cites.

Chapter topics include searching for leaders, insights on leadership from Paul and Peter, prayer, time, reading, improving leaders, responsibilities, tests, delegation, Nehemiah, and more. Study questions, an Index of Scripture, and an Index of Persons are found on the last 20+ pages. I found Chapter 15, The Cost of Leadership, to be the most meaningful chapter. Sanders tells us in this chapter that leaders will take up their cross and be lonely, tired, criticized, rejected, pressured, confused, and their family will also pay a price. Spiritual Leadership is not fun reading, but reading it points me to the cross. If you are in a position of leadership or if you think you might be one day, I highly recommend Sanders' Christian leadership classic. I will definitely be recommending it to others.

"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." Psalm 25:5