If you are in a position of positive influence, your faith in God gives you a power – a hidden power – that will allow you to make an enduring difference in the lives of other people and organisations, according to Mel Lawrenz in his book Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership. Your relationship with God puts you in a position where you can draw on God’s own power, authority and truth to do the challenging things you must do.
The book is divided into four parts. The first part, Getting Grounded, is about engaging with God and building integrity. The second part, Taking Initiative, is about generating ideas and taking advantage of opportunities. The third part, Going Deep, relates to discernment, wisdom, power, authority and truth. The fourth part, Facing Challenges, talks about managing expectations, persevering, receiving wounds and criticism, dealing with failure, and appropriate ambition.
Some leaders consider church leadership to be essentially no different from leadership of a secular organisation or business; others concentrate on preaching and counselling, while trying to avoid leading altogether. This book makes a convincing case for the argument that spiritual influence and spiritual leadership, while they share some characteristics with secular leadership, go much further in what they require of a leader.
I found that reading the book was a spiritual experience in itself, an exercise in practising humility rather than the boost to selfish ambition that discussion of leadership success often provides. The author has had extensive experience in church leadership, but personal examples do not appear in the book, because the book is not about his success. In fact, the book is more about influencing by taking on failures, heartbreaks and frustrations than it is about achieving worldly success.
The book Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders has been a highly regarded church leadership text for many years. In my opinion, the present book is even better. I was challenged and inspired on almost every page. I strongly recommend the book to all Christians who exercise some form of spiritual leadership or influence.