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Spiritual Leadership

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  6,266 ratings  ·  295 reviews
With over 500,000 in print, Spiritual Leadership is the perennial favorite for teaching the principles of leadership. In this classic, J. Oswald Sanders illustrates biblical leadership principles through the lives of David, Moses, Nehemiah, the Apostle Paul, David Livingston, and Charles Spurgeon.This world needs more leaders who are guided by God and devoted to Christ. Ch ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 9th 1994 by Moody Publishers (first published 1967)
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Barbara Have you found Spiritual Leadership by Saunders, yet?
I borrowed a copy through my county's library program, Inter Library Loan.
Now that I read this bo…more
Have you found Spiritual Leadership by Saunders, yet?
I borrowed a copy through my county's library program, Inter Library Loan.
Now that I read this book that was recommended by John C. Maxwell as one of the most influential books he read as a young man, I want to purchase a copy, too.
Amazon has the copy I read . . .
Spiritual Leadership - Completely Updated Text with Study Guide - Commitment to Spiritual Growth Series - Paperback - Second Revision 1994
I liked the extensive updated notes and a great small group study guide.

Barnes & Noble has a 2017 version: Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence For Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  6,266 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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Sep 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: school, church
First of all, this book isn't horrible because the things it says aren't true. I think that the things in here are generally ok in terms of what's said - it's a collection of 1-2 page "observations" or "meditations" on small leadership principles. If you're looking for a sort of devotional book or a vague book about how to apply some generally true (regardless of religious affiliation) ideas with biblical language behind them, this book is fine.

But it's precisely that vagueness that kills me. It
Jul 23, 2011 added it
I have heard of this classic previously but have not had the opportunity to read it until now. Having thus finished the book, there were parts of the book that was profitable for me spiritually.
Among the thing that convicted me was the chapter on “The Leader and His Timeâ€, particularly this quote: “We have each been entrusted with sufficient time to do the whole will of God and to fill out His perfect plan for our lives†(114). The author Oswald Sanders gave examples of Godly men whose gre
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
An excellent book on principles that every Christian should strive for, not just those wanting to be leaders. Christians will always be held to a higher standard whether we like it or not, because we represent all Christians in our actions. So if you're looking for guidance as a Christian, searching for an answer, or even just entertaining the idea of being a leader, this book will help. Sanders gives each chapter a clear cut quality and how to obtain it and what to look for. No excessive preach ...more
Phil Kline
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Very good and comprehensive collection of valuable lessons and reminders. Some will be familiar to all who care about leading well, but other lessons are unique to the counter-cultural vision of leadership Jesus displayed and passed on to the church. However, this is not a book. Rather it is a collection of many unconnected 3-10 page meditations. Probably best read in very small doses, since there is little connection from one chapter to another.
Jacob Wischoff
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spiritual leadership is an amazing book with tremendous insight on what a Spiritual Leader is. It also shows what temptations are present with leadership and how a Leader must uphold himself in the context of his Church, Life & Ministry. As you work thru the book you start with how being a Spiritual Leader is an honorable ambition and work thru qualifications and then lifestyle choices and imperatives that should be the ear mark of a Spiritual Leader. It's a great book that challenges the reader ...more
Max Cojevnicov
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Excellent book.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, leadership
This little devotional book is full of gems that sparkle, catch God’s light and cause one to reevaluate one’s attitude toward spiritual leadership in general and church leadership in specific. It isn’t deep, scholarly, or philosophical, but it is practical and inspiring. Two matters which really jumped out at me were, of course, areas where I was predisposed to resonate with Sanders. I believe in the value of study and I think the biblical character named Nehemiah is a phenomenal model for good ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am really enjoying going through this book with my Pastor as a type of discpileship training, but the one thing that I really do not like is that Moody Publishers take the liberty to add, subtract, and even completely change the content. I would much prefer to read what Oswald Sanders originally wrote. They preface the changes with the hope of making the book more understandable via modernazation, but in some cases they just completely change what was said. I love the book, but would love to h ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: internship-books
One of my favorite books of the year I’ve read! As I’m training to be a missionary this book was a capsulized version of every missionary leadership quality I’ve been taught elsewhere, so wise and helpful. Biggest part that I love is how practical and spiritual it is, the emphasis on missions is wonderful and finally pushing being a servant and not just a manager when you lead.
Andrew Hall
Dec 25, 2012 rated it liked it
should read again....and again and again
Craig Adams
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most helpful and insightful reads on leadership I've found to date!
Barnabas Piper
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A leadership classic. I had never read it before, and it is fantastic. Anyone in ministry or business leadership would benefit from this book.
I LOVE THIS BOOK~ This book is an excellent resource for leadership. Every serious Christian should read this. This was a library book. But I am going to buy it.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a MUST read for anyone who has a position of responsibility within the Christian church or within a Christian organisation!

The book is filled with practical wisdom, sound advice and quotable quotes! For me, perhaps, the best one (among so many) is ...

"'Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:44-45). Each of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 was called to sacr
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
An exhortation to spiritual leadership. The author lays out the foundations of what it means to be a "spiritual leader" (ie a leader in the church) and the requirements and standards of the man or woman of God.

Very easy to read, but also very challenging. Although a bit cliche-heavy, there is much to think and reflect on after reading this terrific book.


-To be a leader in the church has always required strength and faith beyond the merely average.

- Spiritual leaders are not elected, appo
Stephen Drew
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this isn’t a long read some how it took me quite a while to work through. But, I do think that is the way this book is supposed to be read. It is broken down into devotional style meditations on scripture, some of them mediocre, some pure gold. In my opinion the very best few chapters came near the end of the book.

For anyone who has done other reading on Christian leadership many of the concepts covered will not be new. Things such as having a servants heart, being filled with the Spir
Patrick Chester
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Spiritual Leadership" was recommended to me by a friend in Christian ministry. It presents a series of speeches given by J. Oswald Sanders on the topic of leadership from a Christian perspective. Though I am not a minister, I found the book to be challenging and engaging. At the end of each chapter, there are a few questions that help you to reflect on what you just read and apply it to your own life. This is the kind of book that needs to be read slowly, preferably not more than 1 chapter a da ...more
Friday Otuya
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spiritual leadership is one of the best books I have ever read on Christian leadership. This book is special to me because it draws its guiding principles and precepts from the Holy Bible; not from worldly standards. The vital scriptural values and convictions it puts forward can make a true spiritual leader out of anyone who is willing.
The author xrays the life of great christian leaders, showing the aspiring leader that it is possible to be great by following after the steps of the great (Heb
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Less successful as a book than as a patchwork of aphorisms, quotations, nuggets of wisdom, anecdotes, and whatnot. Came from a series of addresses, and indeed reads as such. Sometimes Sanders' use of the biblical text is rather arbitrary and decontextualised, but his heart is definitely in the right place.

It was out of date when it was written back in the 60s, but that is as much a strength as a weakness - whatever is in date is about to go off, anyhow. One can find any number of fashionable bo
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by my Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader, Lisa Bate, and it was very beneficial! Even though it was originally published 50 years ago, the principles shared are timeless and very relevant. A key message is that while leadership is challenging, spiritual leadership is even more demanding. Thanks to God's gift of the Holy Spirit, you can rely on Him to get through the tough times. I especially appreciated the biblical references to inspirational leaders: Moses, ...more
Jeremy Silva
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeremy by: Bruce Robinson
Spiritual Leadership is powerful, deep and densely compacted with substance. I take notes when listening and this book had me stopped every few seconds writing notes. Having read or listened to 50 books in the past six months, this is one of the top 5. Will be listening to this again, worth re-reading every year in my opinion.

There are a multitude of applications for spiritual leadership. The wisdom in this book will benefit anyone involved in ministry of any capacity. The material is also rele
David Cowpar
I thought this was a very good, clear and readable book on Christian Leadership. The author takes various topics and spends a few pages delving into each. I would say that it is only introductory. There is a wide range of topics covered in this book, but the price of a wide scope is a shallow depth. Don’t expect all the answers, and don’t expect this book to revolutionize your life or your ministry. However, what you will find in the pages is encouragement in leadership, rebuke in wrongdoing, an ...more
Kavin Kramer
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent reminder and reinforcement to how important servanthood is in the life of a spiritual leader.

Otherwise, there was something I'd never seen written before that has given me great encouragement. This is what I wrote down but close to his words, 'The loneliest man is the one given a message by God for a time not yet occurred, but need not, because the compensation is closeness with God.'

One of the strengths I admire about this book is that the man has been there and done it. He speaks to
Michael Moon
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sanders fleshes out many aspects of spiritual leadership in this book. Some particularly good reminders for me were his chapters on Reproducing leaders, the Art of Delegation, and the Leader and Time. Although some of what Sanders discusses is not related strictly to spiritual leaders, he is clear in expressing that spiritual leaders must be good leaders (in general) to be effective Spirit-lead examples of humility and service.
I think this would be a good book for further reflection and trainin
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I took my time reading this book - a chapter a week over a pot of tea when I was in early enough for the office to be empty. I’m so glad I did as it meant I could ruminate over the challenges and encouragements found. At times I found it to based on a quite old-fashioned view of ministry, but that rarely impacted negatively on my reading - in fact, sometimes it was quite the opposite! The book was rich in scriptural references, and quotes from significant Christian figures, and I found it so ins ...more
Aaron Ventura
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This is considered a "classic" of sorts in terms of leadership books and I found it to be good food for thought, despite some disagreements here and there. My main concern would be that "servant leadership" is championed without noting the pitfalls and manipulations of this idea. One example would be the missionary who neglects his family for the sake of the church. This is a blind spot in many ambitious leaders and overlooks the character qualification for elders in the New Testament.
What does
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Insightful and helpful book which describes characteristics of spiritual leaders with a lot of Scripture references to cast strong vision for leading God's people. Just over halfway through, I had difficulty finishing as chapters grew longer and I began to wonder whether any could aspire to such lofty standards pulled from all Scripture. I finished the book, by the grace of God with which I rely upon while leading others!
Phillip Howell
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Good Intro & Overview

All the chapters are short and sweet. This is a good introduction and overview of the differences between a leader in the eyes of the world and a leader in the eyes of God. Each chapter is a brief mediation on a passage of scripture that has profound implications on leadership. It is a clear, easy to read and pretty straightforward book. It could be a useful tool for discipling young people in leadership and in many areas they may have not considered.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Excerpt of the chapter on reading and the leader as provided by 10publishing*

A Christian classic. For anyone in any kind of "leadership" in the church, even in the capacity of service alone, or if you interact with any other human, exerting any semblance of influence, this read is a must. In Paul's last days, all he wanted was his cloak and his parchment. Even in solidarity, we become better humans, better Christians, when we give ourselves to reading.
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J. OSWALD SANDERS (1902-1992) was a Christian leader for nearly seventy years and authored more than forty books on the Christian life including The Incomparable Christ, Spiritual Discipleship, Spiritual Leadership, and Spiritual Maturity. He left a promising law practice in his native New Zealand to serve as an instructor and administrator at the Bible College of New Zealand. Dr. Sanders later be ...more

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