Guiding principles for effective ministry

A leader who is not guided by the Holy Spirit will not be able to give a good representation of Christ.

Articles May 30, 2022

Quality leadership enables organizations to meet their goals. Numerous books, articles, and papers have been written on the subject. Cindy Tutsch’s book, Ellen White on Leadership, is a very resourceful book on leadership because it deals with some of the most essential characteristics of spiritual leadership. In this volume, the author compares Ellen White’s leadership counsels with contemporary leadership publications. Because one could hardly imagine that a nineteenth-century author could articulate such a comprehensive position on spiritual leadership, Tutsch’s book about Ellen White’s outlook on spiritual leadership is fascinating. Tutsch gives some key components that define what spiritual leadership is. She talks about the leader’s relationship with God, self-sacrificial service, delegating, and the need for an exemplary lifestyle. There were several insights in Ellen White on Leadership which are pertinent to ministry, but this report will only seek to highlight the most significant insights.

The first insight Tutsch highlights is related to the most basic characteristic of a spiritual leader. She asserts that a spiritual leader is one who uses his/her influence to promote Christ. Ellen White on Leadership underscores the fact that true leadership cannot exist without the knowledge of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The author emphasizes that Ellen White’s view regarding the necessity for the leader to be empowered by the Spirit seems stronger than that of any current leadership author. This is especially significant in today’s world, where the spiritual authority of leaders has experienced numerous attacks. Another reason why this is significant is that a leader who is not guided by the Holy Spirit will not be able to give a good representation of Christ. Furthermore, the spiritual leader’s effectiveness is directly connected to his or her relationship with God or the quality of time he or she spends with God. Channeling one’s influence to promote Christ comes from a connection with God. Certainly, spiritual leadership is centered on a leader’s relationship with God, whereby he or she uses his or her influence to honor God.

A leader who is not guided by the Holy Spirit will not be able to give a good representation of Christ.

In addition, Tutsch shows that Blackaby and King, Christian leadership authors, concurred with Ellen White’s perspective on spiritual leadership when they argued that experience alone cannot be our guide; every experience must be controlled and understood within the realm of Scripture. The high view of Scripture proposed by Blackaby and King was emphasized by Ellen White more than a century ago. This is extremely vital for the future of spiritual leadership because relativism, postmodernism, and the New Age movement seem to be engulfing today’s society, leading most people to look to reason and situation ethics as the guiding light of their lives. For the spiritual leader, reason, feelings, and societal norms are certainly not enough. In fact, these things have been found to be inadequate. The only sure foundation is the Word of God. Another significant outlook is that only the Word of God (written or living) is able to transform lives and enhance character development. History is full of examples which illuminate the fact that experience alone is insufficient when it comes to spiritual leadership. There is an urgent need for spiritual leaders to return to the foundation of leadership, the Bible. Obviously, this insight will lead spiritual leaders to be more conscious of the fact that spiritual leadership is rooted in the Word of God.

The idea that spiritual leadership is servant leadership is emphasized by Tutsch in reference to Ellen White’s leadership principles. The term “servant leadership” was coined by Robert Greenleaf. According to Ellen White, spiritual leaders serve, sacrifice, and engage in selfless behavior not because of their innate goodness but rather to emulate Jesus’ humility demonstrated in the incarnation. God, who is the source of true leadership, has set the example of what it means to be a servant leader. Self-sacrificing leadership has become popular today, but only in theory. In reality, the principle of servant leadership appears to be missing from the lives of many of today’s spiritual leaders. The world needs spiritual leaders who exemplify and embody servant leadership.

Furthermore, the essential components of empowerment and mentorship were insights gleaned from Ellen White on Leadership. Tutsch writes that spiritual leaders empower individuals and function as mentors to those who have been empowered. A spiritual leader whose responsibilities do not entail mentorship and empowerment ceases to function as an effective leader. Motivating people is a crucial leadership component because leaders who do not train anyone to take over after they leave are deemed ineffective leaders. In other words, leaders who are not creating successors are not really leading. This is significant because the success of one’s leadership is not solely dependent on the success the organization experiences when he or she is leading. On the contrary, its success also depends on the accomplishment it experiences after the leader has left. Certainly, empowerment and mentorship are directly connected to spiritual leadership.

In conclusion, Ellen White on Leadership is one of the most comprehensive books written on spiritual leadership. The way in which the author presents the information empowers leaders to be relevant and practical as they seek to embody and exemplify Christian leadership in this postmodern age. Likewise, the parallels that are drawn in this volume between contemporary writers and Ellen White could certainly change the way leaders approach ministry. The parallels used by Tutsch in this volume are similar to the object lessons that were used by the true Servant Leader, Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly, this book is a masterpiece on spiritual leadership.