7 Components of Spiritual Leadership

Seljanlandsfoss, Iceland

I’m a vision guy. I tend toward creative rather than management roles. But from the start, God made it clear my emphasis during my last big project (directing and producing the feature film Notzilla) would to be on leadership. So I turned to one of the greatest leaders in history: Moses.

Moses wasn’t a natural leader. He was a vision guy—great at talking to burning bushes, not so great at talking to hoards of Hebrews. He was also passionate and strong-willed (ahem, I can relate). He tried to beg off, but God wouldn’t take לא for an answer. True, God allowed his brother Aaron to help, but Moses alone was to wield the staff of God’s presence.

Things hit a major low when water supplies ran out (Numbers 20:3-8). So God instructed Moses and Aaron to “speak” to a particular rock, promising that when they did water would spring forth from it. But Moses was so frustrated with the quarreling Hebrews that instead he shouted, “Must we bring forth water from this rock!” And then he whacked it with his staff. Twice.


Misrepresenting God is near the top of God’s לא List. Result? After a glimpse of the Promised Land, Moses died. Why? Because, “when the congregation quarreled,” he and Aaron failed “to show forth God’s holiness” (Numbers 27:13-14). Instead, they placed the focus on themselves and on their anger.

I’d previously written a scene inspired by this incident in my fantasy novel The Wishing Map. But it took on new meaning when just before production began, God whispered, “This is your leadership paradigm.”

Oh, great! I thought. I just have to do better than one of the greatest leaders in history! But then I realized I had a chance at a Moses-Do-Over (something Moses never got). So I reviewed God’s instructions in Numbers 20:8: “Take your staff…and gather the congregation. Speak to the rock that is before them, and it will yield its water…so that they and their livestock can drink.”

I saw seven key components:

  1. God – Don’t hatch schemes and ask God to bless them. Find out what He’s doing, and sign up for that!
  2. Staff – Humbly and soberly accept the staff (role) that God hands you.
  3. Rock – Then confidently approach the rock, the project God has set before you. Your purpose is to draw forth His intended results from it.
  4. Speak – Calmly but scrupulously use your authority to draw forth those results. (Underpinned by constant prayer, I might add!)
  5. Water – As a symbol of the his Spirit, water represents God’s central role in those results. (You are the staff in His hand!)
  6. Congregation – The water from the rock is meant to sustain and encourage believers. But there are others present, as well…
  7. Livestock – God also sustains those who are unaware of his presence. They are “livestock” only in that they are oblivious to his role (they may, in fact, be more intellectually and creatively gifted than those in “the congregation”).

I had both believers and non-believers on my team during this project, many of whom I cherish and will work with again. It was a secular project, but the crew of my previous faith-based film had many non-believing members, as well.

Even if you’re in ministry, you’ll end up leading believers and non-believers. You’re calling is always to humbly lead and, when the congregation quarrels, to faithfully execute no less than a Moses Do-Over…

And faithfully show forth God’s holiness!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to 7 Components of Spiritual Leadership

  1. Kim Smyth says:

    It is so funny that this is your post for today, as I have started a daily bible reading and today Moses figured into that passage in a big way! The scripture reading for today came from Exodus when God told Moses to convince the King to let his people go or the locusts would come and ruin the land.
    Needless to say, the King did not obey, so the locusts came and then the King was convinced and asked for forgiveness and God then blew them away.
    Good tips, great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Amen! Sign me up for the Moses do-over!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is awesome stuff, Mitch. Well done.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. revruss1220 says:

    I love this! You reminded me of why I like Moses so much; because he is such a great example of a flawed leader. And even though I have never liberated a nation, I can so relate.

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. numrhood says:

    numbers 45:01-33 view unto thee & you will be saved
    numbers 52:38-39 & 36 the lord is known by his doings
    missing numbers 27:11 hide the word in your heart, & thou shall not sin against thee.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. anitashope says:

    Love your 7 components. Great way to approach any project.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Gary Fultz says:

    I’m afraid I do only a part of Moses’ impersonation “Here I am Lord, please send Aaron”
    Great list Mitch

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My dad would have loved this post. He preached sermons along similar lines.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ron Bouchard says:

    The law can never bring us into the promised land . . . Only grace can!
    Moses vs. Joshua (Jesus)!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. numrhood says:

    numbers 27:11 is missing


  12. You just keep me thinking. Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I always liked the way Moses started referring the Israelites as “your people” when he was complaining to God about them.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jonicaggiano says:

    Wow how beautifully laid out. I agree with what you said. It is so important to set a good example of God’s love in the work place. Great example with Moses. Excellent advice and post. Amen. Thank you. Love j

    Liked by 1 person

      • jonicaggiano says:

        Your welcome. Thank you. I am in totally awe of Moses. He faced so many obstacles at every turn and his faith was so strong. He got his temper up when he struck the stone for water not giving the Lord credit. So glad Jesus is a forgiving and loving Son and God brought him to us so we can sin but find repentance. It really puts things into perspective. Have a blessed day. Love J

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Sometimes we think we have to “do things for God” when really he wants us just to do his things to benefit and bless us. And doesn’t it always turn out better?! I love your Moses analogy. And I too write for believers and non-believers and this post was good therapy for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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