Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda

Rate this book
Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading.

305 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2001

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Henry T. Blackaby

205 books152 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
692 (43%)
4 stars
536 (33%)
3 stars
287 (17%)
2 stars
70 (4%)
1 star
22 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews
Profile Image for Josh Miller.
296 reviews22 followers
March 9, 2015
Best book I have read this year! Also one of the top leadership books I have read all time. One of the things I love about this book is that it is not geared just towards those in full-time ministry. Much of the book does address those in the pastorate, but many lessons and illustrations apply to the leader in any situation - secular or ministry. The main thought put forth is SPIRITUAL leadership in any setting.

The authors must have emphasized dozens of times the importance of a spiritual leader staying close to God...have an intimate walk with the Father...knowing the will of God in situations before going forward. I loved it!

The format of the book was quite helpful. At the end of the chapter, a "Concepts & Scriptures for Consideration" section was included. Many of the key themes from that chapter were boiled down to single sentences to emphasis the truth contained therein. In addition, a list of many Scripture verses to study/consider when addressing the particular need.

The book addresses young leaders as well as older leaders. Personally, I was challenged nearly every chapter as the book really addresses what spiritual leadership is and what it is not. Too many of today's "Christian" leadership books boil leadership down to only what can be seen by others (known as buildings, bucks, & bodies). While the authors acknowledge if no one is following, one is not a leader, they propose a foundation that is Biblically strong.

The following are the chapter titles:

The Leader's Challenge
The Leader's Role: What Leaders Do
The Leader's Preparation: How God Develops Leaders
The Leader's Vision: Where Do Leaders Get it and How Do They Communicate It
The Leader's Character: A Life That Moves Others To Follow
The Leader's Goal: Moving People On to God's Agenda
The Leader's Influence: How Leaders Lead
The Leader's Decision Making
The Leader's Schedule: Doing What's Important
The Leader's Pitfalls: What Disqualifies Leaders
The Leader's Rewards

I would (and most likely will) give this book to any Christian I believe has leadership potential. It will only help them grow into the leader God would have them become!
Profile Image for Reuben Maddock.
20 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2021


My first 5 star rating, and for good reason. I went into this book with no expectations and have been immensely blown away by how much this book has changed my life completely over the course of a month.

This book is a perfect read for, I would say any Christian with any sort of leadership position, gift, or call and I would even extend the recommendation to any Christian in general. I say this because Henry and his brother Richard cover all facets of leadership. From the challenges a leader faces, to a leaders vision, to a leaders character, to a leaders pitfalls etc... Almost all facets of being a leader that you could want, are covered in the book. The topics aren't just brushed over either, but thoughtfully discussed in a manor that most people could understand. I really appreciated that the points were significantly backed up with scripture too. Whenever a point or idea was brought forward, there was often a scripture or reference given to provide biblical evidence for it which I thought was incredibly useful, important and helpful in my own learning. I also appreciated how each chapter ended with a conclusion which summarized the chapter as well as a list of useful thoughts, points, ideas and scriptures that were mentioned during the chapter so that if you wanted an overview of the chapter, that's where you could look. It meant that before approaching the next chapter during a reading, I would recap what I covered in the previous chapter which thus helped me have a much higher retention of the text, which was so important for me with such a text.

The book revolved around the idea that Spiritual Leadership is "moving people onto God's agenda", and all the ideas brought about in the book all came back to this one central notion. This made me realize the importance of the idea and if I could take away one thing from the entire book it would be this concept. It's a concept that is often neglected in the Christian and especially Secular Leadership of this world, but is something that drove the Leadership of Jesus and if we want to have a successful, fulfilling leadership journey, should drive us too.

I loved how the book didn't just cover Spiritual Leadership in a Christian, Church Leadership setting but also in a secular business setting. It gave insight and examples as to how secular business owners can go about applying the same concepts taught and pushed the idea that "moving people onto Gods agenda" is certainly not just for a Church leadership environment. In fact, it should especially be applied in a secular environment.

Overall, I can't explain with words how significantly this book has changed my life and how I see leadership (in every facet). I am so glad that I read the book one chapter at a time because this gave me space to reflect over it as I went and take in as much as possible. Just like the Bible, this book helped to teach, correct and train me in my current leadership capacity and I can absolutely see how significantly the ideas taught in this book will help me when I am leading in a greater capacity. If you are reading this review, I would highly recommend finding time to read this book because it could in fact change your life, just like it did my own

I rated this book 5 stars because there is nothing I could ever do to add to it and I could read it many times over and enjoy it all the same.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
27 reviews3 followers
September 1, 2016
I'm done with this book for now, choosing to set it aside instead of finishing it.

I want to improve my leadership as a pastor . . . but that's just it. As. A . Pastor. I don't wish to become the CEO of a church. I don't wish to learn techniques how to influence people to my agenda. The Blackabys have made one too many assumptions about Scripture, filling in the gaps where Scripture is silent with secular leadership concepts thinly disguised as super-spiritual practices.

This book is just not serving for where I want to go as a pastor. Not now. So for now, I'll shelve it and focus upon a better aspect of pastoral ministry--shepherding and curing souls instead of leading an organization. Perhaps I'll came back to this book in the future and feel more kindly about it. And perhaps not.
Profile Image for Eric.
212 reviews2 followers
November 13, 2017
I rarely give books a 5 out of 5 rating, but I truly feel that this text deserves it. Blackaby and Blackaby provide greater insight to leadership than any other resources available. While they site research provided by others (including Kouzes and Posner, Greenleaf, Chambers, and others), they also develop the idea that all of those resources tend to be incomplete because they forget one key ingredient to successful leadership: God. Through building our relationship with God and seeking to become a servant, we become Spiritual Leaders - Spiritual Leaders are leaders who seek to move people onto God's agenda.

I recommend this book very highly.
Profile Image for Walt Walkowski.
220 reviews9 followers
July 23, 2016
Very good book on leadership, though I would have hesitated to include Robert E. Lee as one of my models of leadership given his role in the Civil War.
Profile Image for Tracey.
1 review1 follower
Currently reading
April 17, 2012
Really validating to my faith. Leadership in the workplace and ministry a like, do well under the authority of Jesus. The proof is here;)
Profile Image for Ashley Ethridge.
13 reviews
September 2, 2022
By far one of the most impactful books I have ever read in my life. We may be tempted to try to finish it as fast as we can because we can't put it down, but I turned it into a devotional reading section by section to really reflect and improve on myself taking almost 8 months to complete it. Wish I would've made this a small group study with business professionals.
Profile Image for Connor .
40 reviews
August 18, 2017
A really good book on leadership from a Biblical worldview but the Blackaby's could benefit from reading Zinsser's On Writing Well because the book dragged on and seemed redundant at times.
250 reviews1 follower
August 4, 2020
This book was written by the father-son team of Henry and Richard Blackaby. Having led various organizations, large and small, in the church, they have the background to write on spiritual leadership, though I found myself dissatisfied with how they approached the topic--dissatisfied enough for some introspection on why. Here are my reasons (and I'll try to be brief):

The Blackabys wrote eleven chapters on leadership, entitled "The Leaders...Challenge, Role, Preparation, Vision, Character, Goal, Influence, Decision-Making, Schedule, Pitfalls and Rewards." About half way through the book, I found myself remarking (to myself), "This reads like any of the hundred other leadership books I've read with some Biblical or Spiritual material thrown in to illustrate the subject." Pick up almost any book by any author on leadership and you can find similar chapters and subjects. I expected a fresh look at leadership as described and illustrated in Scripture. Instead I was reading just another book on the same old topics.

At some places where the Blackabys had the opportunity to distinguish spiritual leadership (and their book) from the normal literature, they failed. As an example, this was their comment on Joseph: "There may not be anything overtly spiritual about building grain storage bins or developing a food distribution system, but these activities were on God's agenda." Here, they missed the opportunity to describe all work as God's work, all work as sacred. Work was God's creation and gift to Adam and Eve--before the fall--so any work, properly viewed, is overtly spiritual and sacred.

Likewise, at one point they make this important point: "...what 'success' means in God's kingdom...is not measured by the same standards as the world uses." Yet again and again in the book the appeal to the standards of the world as examples of good leadership.

At other places where they are describing leadership as many others have before (and since) their book, they seemed unaware of their message. This from the third chapter ("The Leader's Preparation"): "...but ultimately leadership is more about 'being' than doing" followed immediately after the second chapter entitled, "The Leader's Role: What Leaders Do". Much later in the book, discussing Lee Iacocca, they write, "His reputation was not enough. Leadership begins with 'being' but ultimately turns to 'doing.' It is not one's credentials but one's performance that ultimately confirms a person as a leader." Performance is a measure of doing. Leadership performance is almost always measured against the standards of the world. In writing about Iacocca, they undermined their own message.

Finally, in the chapter on a Leader's Pitfalls, the authors suggest five "safeguards" against sexual sin (accountability, heed their own counsel, contemplate the consequences, develop healthy habits, and pray). All are valuable; they are useful tools. But they are, by themselves, insufficient as they are all defensive and aimed at "not sinning." Having worked with several men who have struggled with sexual sin, I know these defensive measures are easily defeated, ignored and sidestepped by one bent on sin. History, ancient and current, is full of cautionary examples. Without a heart radically inclined to the pursuit of God and His character, His standards, all the defensive measures in the world won't work. I wish the authors had spent more time on a leader's pursuit of holiness. Which led to my own introspection.

Because of my growing dissatisfaction as I read, I spent some time thinking on the problem. Why do people read books on leadership? Because they desire to be a leader or to sharpen their leadership skills. These are good reasons and I can think of several books better than this one to fulfill those needs. But what about spiritual leadership? I pondered the most famous Biblical leaders. Who were they? How did they become an exceptional leader?

Abraham, they guy snatched up out of Ur and told by God to "Go...to a place I will show you."

Moses, the reluctant leader who argued with God for several chapters about his qualifications to lead, finally saying "send someone else!"

Samuel, called to leadership off his bed as a young boy.

David, the seventh son relegated to watch the sheep.

Jeremiah, whom God called from the womb who also argued with God about his youth.

Ezekiel, the prophet wandering in exile by the Khebar Canal whom God called and promised the people would not listen to him (how's that for an ordination?).

Saul, the enemy of God radically redirected by God on the road to Damascus.

None of these sought to be a leader of God's people. None likely read a single word on leadership skills. If we want great leaders in today's church, perhaps we should be redirecting them from books on leadership to the radical pursuit of God and listening for His still small voice. God will choose the next great leader of His people. Because our faces are buried in the latest popular book on leadership, we'll be surprised about who it is.
Profile Image for Meshach Kanyion.
49 reviews4 followers
November 20, 2015
Good Content but Unnecessarily Long and Laborious

This book is filled with wisdom and insight. The truth it proclaims cannot be denied. The trouble is in getting to and through the content. The authors speak, not authoritatively, but like they just read a lot of books. Their authority is only their research, not their experience.

To be sure, I'm well aware of the Blackaby's and their leadership, but the book doesn't read as if a leader wrote it. It reads like a researcher wrote it.

They throw in so many, "It was said of Winston Churchill... Martin Luther King Jr. once... Eleanor Roosevelt experienced..." Sometimes I just wanted to scream, "YOU'VE MADE THE POINT, NOW OFF TO THE NEXT ONE!"

The book could be significantly reduced in length without these unnecessary illustrations.

That being said, if you are good at hacking through weeds, you will find a treasure here. But if not, look elsewhere.
3 reviews3 followers
September 4, 2008
Blackaby has some really good points in this book. My problems with this book are threefold.

First, I'm not sure that this book was what I needed at this point in my walk. I'm not leading any group, ministry, organization in ways that require (or possibly even allow) the type of leadership that Blackaby describes.

Secondly, many of Blackaby's big points seem relatively intuitive. How does a spiritual leader lead? By knowing God and following His plan. OK...not terribly insightful, but very true. Maybe this ties in to point one, but I probably need to more fully grasp following His plan.

Third, and probably more importly, I feel that he repeats himself a lot and says in 30 pages what could probably be said in 10. So he lost my interest at times.
Profile Image for Dominique.
48 reviews
June 3, 2016
This book is incredibly practical, albeit a scholarly treatise on the subject of spiritual leadership. In early 2016, my pastor, two friends and I went through this book chapter by chapter and met to discuss the study questions. Not only was I encouraged and challenged in my reading of the material, God used the study group to build me up in ways I will continue to reap benefits from for decades to come.
Profile Image for John Nichols.
Author 12 books4 followers
May 6, 2013
Great book but don't expect easy reading. This is a book requiring time to stop, consider, and digest. End of chapter summaries are useful for review or researchers. My copy is now highlighted with personal notes added and I expect to return to it often.
Profile Image for Kathy Howard.
Author 24 books95 followers
January 27, 2009
Biblically solid and God-honoring view of leadership for Christians in ministry or secular leadership positions. Full of practical and wise advice.
Profile Image for Karla Renee Goforth Abreu.
543 reviews8 followers
March 4, 2011
This is an insightful book on spiritual leadership for both the secular and church workplace. It is easily read and should be required reading for all pastors and leaders.
Profile Image for Rob .
111 reviews6 followers
July 5, 2014
This book is a classic. It takes contemporary leadership and contrasts them with those we see in the Bible. It is a long read but worth it.
24 reviews
June 9, 2020
As a former small group leader, a lot of the principles are true and I would say out of all the leadership books I’ve read so far, this has the most comprehensive list. These principles are personally what I believe separate average leaders from fruitful leaders.

That being said, I’m not sure if I enjoyed some of the historical examples that were used. I don’t think using just specific examples of past leaders give a complete image of them leaders and their values. Also some of the biblical examples were a bit too simple. The book gave examples of biblical leaders and how they responded to situations but not really any depth in their thoughts but that might be a personal value of mine.

Overall would recommend for anyone who is in a leadership position.
Profile Image for Gwendolyn Simonalle.
89 reviews4 followers
June 24, 2021
Contained plenty of nuggets of wisdom, but not comfortable with some of the historical leaders chosen as examples (Robert E. Lee?? Stonewall Jackson?????), and seems mostly written for an exclusively male audience. Also uncomfortable with military conquest and empire building being held up as examples of leadership in a book about how to get people to follow God's will; slightly moralistic condemning tone regarding society, and claims that leadership abilities are innate to certain personalities and not others. Probably worth sorting through the doubtful elements to get to the useful bits about leadership pitfalls and measures of true success, though.
Profile Image for Joshua.
104 reviews11 followers
August 27, 2020
I've found most leadership books to be trash. Most Christian leadership books more so as they seem to just repackage concepts and lazily throw a bible verse in here and there... this isn't like that. Blackaby has a caught something of God in his own life and has thus struck on something deeper here - that titles don't mean jack, but a leader is a man who stands before God, responsible for his generation.

Admittedly this book can be a little dry and long-winded, but if you're looking for only one leadership book this year this is a great option.
Profile Image for Maui Rochell.
596 reviews1 follower
February 24, 2020
This was an assigned reading for us at work and I finished it after two months. It was a long read but definitely filled with truths and wisdom about leadership of all kinds (business, political and church leadership) To lead is a high calling and involves pains and sacrifices as you go along with it. Everyone is called to lead and everyone should be mindful on how they live and lead themselves before leading others.
Profile Image for Christian Barrett.
436 reviews35 followers
June 23, 2021
Pulling from statistics on why churches often fail, the Blackaby brothers faithfully provide the key qualities of godly leaders and how those leaders can find success in an era where success seems difficult and at times impossible. Like many leadership books this one also emphasizes the necessity of a godly character, but it also emphasizes the necessity of the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life in order for a leader to be seen as valuable and godly.
Profile Image for Abby Burg.
31 reviews
July 15, 2018
Out of all the books I’ve read on leadership, I think this would be the first one I would hand to someone entering spiritual leadership. Maxwell’s 21 Laws would be second, but this would be first. So much valuable insight on what it means to be a leader who seeks God’s face and moves people in to His agenda.
Profile Image for Cana.
17 reviews4 followers
December 30, 2018
This book was fine. It was way longer than was needed, it was horrendously gendered, and it was kinda just boring. It wasn't super bad, there are just a LOT of better books on spiritual leadership. Maybe skip this one.
43 reviews
March 10, 2019
Best book to read on the subject. First half of the book was 7/5 stars. Second half was a little redundant and somewhat contrary to some of the advice in the first half, but maybe that is being to critical. I am now changing my rating my original four stars to five stars.
1 review
May 5, 2019
A true Godly ordained leaders manual.

Thank you for such heavenly inspired teaching. This is at the beginning of the ministry the Lord has called me to, and I feel better equipped, courageous and ready to take on the world, for the Lord's Glory.
Profile Image for Edwin Smith.
82 reviews5 followers
February 16, 2020
A fine baseline

I wouldn't call this a great book, but perhaps a great sampler platter of leadership. The book is far too broad to explore leadership principles very deeply, but it does provide an adequate survey of some of the character and skills needed in spiritual leadership.
26 reviews
August 2, 2021
Read for Church Book #5 of 2021. I already wrote a report on this for the pastor of my church, so I’ll keep this brief: really good book, really good examples, often overindulges. No less helpful, just bloated sometimes.
Profile Image for Mark Reeder.
71 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2022
A lot of what the commenter "Tim Murphy" said below applies to my view as well, though I was a bit more charitable in my rating.

It wasn't awful, but seemed to be no better than the seemingly endless "Christian leadership" books which you can get on Amazon for pennies on the dollar.
2 reviews
May 11, 2018
Very good encouragement and focus.

I found the commentary on tools, emphasis, challenges, and rewards a very complete work on current and future leadership. Enjoy.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.