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7 Core Disciplines of Every Great Spiritual Leader

A spiritual leader, in my opinion, is called to lead well.

All leaders should lead well, but when one claims to be a follower of Christ, their leadership reflects on his or her walk with Christ.

I have learned personally that leading well requires discipline. It doesn’t happen naturally.

Here are seven disciplines needed for a spiritual leader:


You will never dream bigger than God. Imagine 1 Corinthians 2:9, as it relates to dreaming (“No eye has seen no ear has heard”). It’s almost a challenge to plan bigger than God has in mind. God gave the creative mind to be used. Spiritual leaders must dream huge!


Oh, the neglected discipline of prayer! I’ve never met a spiritual leader who felt they prayed enough. Ask yourself, “What isn’t moving forward simply because I haven’t prayed?” The prayer of the righteous accomplishes much (James 4:2-3, James 5:16)!


A Christian leader should be a diligent worker. God honors hard work. Spiritual leadership is not only a Sunday event. There is no excuse for laziness when Kingdom work is at stake (Proverbs 10:4, Proverbs 21:5, Matthew 25:14-30).


Waiting is a part of walking with God—a part of the faith journey. God does not give us every answer, nor commit to us the immediate outcome. He commands us to go sometimes before He tells us where. As followers of Christ, we must learn the fruit of patience and be willing to wait for God to move (Isaiah 40:31, Hebrews 6:15, Psalm 25:21).


The Spiritual leader must learn to discern the voice of God and listen carefully for instruction (John 10:27). Additionally, because the body is made of different people, spiritual leaders must be willing to listen to others—even when they have a differing opinion.


A spiritual leader, who desires to be like and lead like Christ, must discipline to be a student of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15). Moses said “these words are your life.”


Investing in others—the ultimate call of the Christian’s life. Following the example of Jesus, delegation is not an option for the spiritual leader. Spiritual leaders must always be kingdom-minded and disciple other Christ-followers and leaders.

Be honest, which of these do you most need to improve upon as a spiritual leader?  

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.