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  • Rick Mann

Spiritual and Strategic Leadership

“Rick, do you want to have lunch with Tim Keller?” my daughter-in-law asked. “Of course,” I answered. At the time, Tim Keller was one of the most famous pastors in America. As it turned out, Tim was in Hong Kong for some City-to-City meetings and had a luncheon with about 100 people. I will never forget what he said that day. “I wish I had spent more time talking to the people in our church about their work in the city and less time talking with them about their work in the church.” Our goal here is to discuss how people can grow both their strategic and Christian leadership. In Daniel 1:17, we read:


As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.


We know that Daniel and his friends were bilingual because they knew the language of Israel, their homeland, and the language of Babylon, their new home. But we also see here that Daniel was bilingual in a different way. He had earthly wisdom and skills (“skill in all literature and wisdom”) as well has heavenly wisdom and skills (“understanding in all visions and dreams”). If you read through the rest of the Book of Daniel, you will see how Daniel was discerning on what was happening around him on earth. He was also skilled on discerning what God was doing in the heavens.


In the Lord’s Prayer, we read:


Thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


My hope is that in these days we can raise up leaders like Daniel who are skilled both in the things of this world as well as the things of heaven. This is what I leading both spiritually and strategically.


Years ago, I spend half my days teaching Chinese people to use English and other half of my day teaching Americans to use Chinese. This was challenging for both groups. Learning English is harder than Spanish and French, and learning Chinese, well, is just hard.


Being bilingual in leadership is also hard. Leading strategically is about clarifying our vision and values as well as advancing our most important priorities. Leading spiritually is about intimacy with Jesus, healthy spirituality, and moving in spiritual authority. Bilingual leadership is also about leading people effectively in ministry contexts as well as leading effectively in the marketplace.


In my experience, many pastors provide capable spiritual leadership but struggle in providing strategic organizational leadership. On the flipside, I know many capable Christian lay people who lead strategically in the workplace but are not quite sure how to best integrate their faith into their work settings.


Our goal here is to develop greater strategic leadership for both pastors and lay people as well as developing the spiritual leadership of pastors and lay people.

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