Although God may speak His vision and direction through many people, the Lord appoints one person to be the primary spokesperson for the vision.

In the corporate world, the leader of a business is often known as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO has authority to make decisions that affect the future of the company, and the position of CEO is usually equated with power and prestige.

A spiritual leader, on the other hand, leads in a totally different style. Although the spiritual leader is also in a position of authority and is responsible for the people the Lord has placed within his or her care, the leader does not rule as a domineering CEO. A spiritual leader leads as a spiritual parent who supports his or her spiritual children in order to see the children fulfill their dreams and visions. The parent encourages his or her children to hear from God and to make their own decisions rather than always handing down decisions made at the top.

A misguided CEO often uses people, but a spiritual father or mother serves people. A true Christian leader’s rights decrease as he or she takes up his or her position of authority and as responsibilities increase. The spiritual leader’s rights decrease, because Christian leadership involves not power or prestige but servanthood, which is the mark of a leader deeply committed to the development of others. Servant leadership takes its example from Christ, the master leader, who demonstrated that He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

A godly father never throws his weight around as a leader. The apostle Paul, a respected leader in the Early Church, set an example for other leaders: “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children” (1 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Paul’s letters were written from a loving spiritual parent’s perspective, and he modeled the life of a servant to those he spiritually fathered. He has called us to do the same.

(Much of this was taken from my new book, “The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers—The Next Generation Needs You to be a Spiritual Mentor,” just released by Regal Books).