7 Core Disciplines Needed for a 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 7 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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16 thoughts on “7 Core Disciplines Needed for a Spiritual Leader

  1. Personally, I find many young leaders struggling in the area of “Waiting". Today, we live in a micro oven culture. None is ready to wait for anything. We wish everything to happen immediately. I agree that we must learn the skill of waiting.

  2. Praying/listening. I think we can always improve on those 2. Specifically for me, busyness often gets in the way of praying and the noise and clutter of life get in the way of listening. I try to be intentional about getting away from it all, but I need to do better. Great thoughts here, Ron!
    Twitter: jonathanpearson

  3. Ron

    Lot’s of books – and confrences – about “Leadership.” NOT many about being in the low place.

    How many books – and confrences – about – taking the lower place – being a “Servant.”

    How many books – and confrences – about – Servants…

    1 – Servants – NOT lording it over “Disciples of Christ?”
    2 – Servants – Being in – lowliness of mind?
    3 – Servants – Esteeming others better than themselves?
    4 – Servants – Submitting “One to Another?”
    5 – Servants – Preferring others before themselves?
    6 – Servants – Being clothed with humility?
    7 – Servants – NOT exercising authority over another “Disciples of Christ?”

    1 – Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
    1Pet 5:3

    2 + 3 – Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
    but in **lowliness of mind** let each **esteem others** better than themselves.
    Php 2:3

    4 – **Submitting yourselves one to another** in the fear of God.
    Eph 5:21 KJV

    5 – Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
    **in honour preferring one another.**
    Rom 12:10 KJV

    6 + 4 – “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.”
    Yea, **all of you** be subject **one to another,** (subject = submit)
    and be **clothed with humility:** for God resisteth the proud,
    and giveth grace to the humble.
    1Pet 5:5 KJV

    7 – …they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles
    **exercise lordship over them; **
    and their great ones **exercise authority upon them.**
    But so shall it NOT be among you:…
    Mark 10:42-45

    I wonder how many “Pastor/Leaders“ and wanna-be “Pastor/Leaders”
    would buy a book about … Or would show for a conference about…

    Stepping down – giving up your “Titles” – and becomig a “Servant?” – A “Disciple of Christ?”

  4. Ron

    Haven’t you ever wondered why Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders?”
    For you have “ONE” leader – the Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB – And NONE did… 😉

    New American Standard Bible – Mat 23:10-12.
    Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your servant.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    The Message – Mat 23:10-12.
    And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

    Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.
    If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    Maybe the title of this post could be changed to…

    7 Disciplines of a Spiritual “Servant.”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  5. My prayer life is definitely not what it should be and thank you for the reminder. I feel like I live in a state of prayer – to an extent – I am very tuned into to thanksgiving and petition for others but it seems like sometimes I just don't focus enough. I need to take time to not just "live and pray" but also to SIT and pray, to just STOP and pray. Not to just pray while I'm driving, doing dishes, laundry, working, etc. I need less busy prayer and more stillness. Thanks again for the great post. God bless you!

  6. It's difficult to admit, but I need to improve in my prayer life. It's seems the more that we grow as a church, the more ministry I am involved with, the less time I am spending in prayer. Being pulled from so many directions one would think it would draw me to a deeper prayer life but it seems to be getting more difficult to find the time to pray. WOW, thats difficult to admit. Thanks for the reality check this morning.

  7. Ron, I am weak in several areas, but my weakest area is waiting! I simply don't like to do it!

    I know this is a problem for me. I know God's timing is perfect. I know trying to force things to happen in my time will only end in disaster. Even so, I remain impatient.

    Is there a shot I can get for this?