The Marks of a Spiritual Leader

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In John Piper's "Marks of a Spiritual Leader" he points to an “inner circle” and an “outer circle” of leadership traits. The inner circle is “the absolute bare essentials,” or what must happen in the leader’s own soul if he is going to take even the first step in leading others spiritually. The outer circle is comprised of “qualities that characterize both spiritual and non-spiritual leaders,” one of which is skill in teaching. Piper then offers up  eight traits of a good teacher, that he believes are part of the recipe for leadership effectiveness.

 “It is not surprising to me that some of the great leaders at our church have been men who are also significant teachers. According to 1 Timothy 3:2, anyone who aspires to the office of overseer in the church should be able to teach.”- Piper

1. A good teacher asks himself the hardest questions, works through to answers, and then frames provocative questions for his learners to stimulate their thinking.

2. A good teacher analyzes his subject matter into parts and sees relationships and discovers the unity of the whole.

3. A good teacher knows the problems learners will have with his subject matter and encourages them and gets them over the humps of discouragement.

4. A good teacher foresees objections and thinks them through so that he can answer them intelligently.

5. A good teacher can put himself in the place of a variety of learners and therefore explain hard things in terms that are clear from their standpoint.

6. A good teacher is concrete, not abstract; specific, not general; precise, not vague; vulnerable, not evasive.

7. A good teacher always asks, “So what?” and tries to see how discoveries shape our whole system of thought. He tries to relate discoveries to life and tries to avoid compartmentalizing.

8. The goal of a good teacher is the transformation of all of life and thought into a Christ-honoring unity.

The complete 38-paged pamphlet "Marks of a Spiritual Leader" is available, free of charge as a PDF.

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  • Leadership Development > Personal Growth
  • Resource > Brochure or Pamphlet

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