What is really needed from leaders today? Our world is crying out for better leadership in all spheres of life–government, church, schools, NGOs, you name it. What is really needed, though? Do our existing leaders lack knowledge? wisdom? sophistication? skills? diplomacy? humility? courage? faith?
There’s obviously not one answer that fits every leader and every situation, and the list of how any individual leader could grow may be endless, because there is always room for more personal and professional growth for any of us. But something fundamental needs to change that applies to every leader–for the sake of the Church, our society, and our world. It’s not as if it is totally absent by any means, but more of it is needed as a top priority for leaders going forward.
What’s needed is at its core spiritual—spiritual renewal, spiritual vitality, spiritual growth, and spiritual leadership. I’m talking about truly understanding who we are, why we are alive in this world at all, what it means to be a leader, and how we can best fulfill our purpose in life.
The more leaders see themselves as precious children of God, created to experience the love of God deeply and personally and to live out their calling in love, the more leaders will be able to function powerfully and effectively from a deeply spiritual base. The basic image is one of a deep well, filled with clean, refreshing water that flows freely to all those who tap into its source. The more leaders become deep spiritual wells, the more they will be capable of meeting the incredible challenges in today’s world and of leading others to greater depth, wholeness, and fruitfulness.
When I say “experience the love of God personally and deeply,” I mean having a sense of being embraced by God in life-changing and loving ways. For some the experience may come as a gentle calling of their name; for others, there will be an overwhelming conviction that they must bend their knee to their Creator.
In the dynamic relationship that is formed, there is acceptance, forgiveness, submission, and cooperation. There is release, joy, lightness of being, and love. There is transformation. There is life.
When I say “live out their calling in love,” I mean leaders will see all that they do as an opportunity to bring God’s love to bear on their sphere of influence. There will be justice, compassion, mercy, and intelligent systems that serve the people well. There will be courage, strength, and a fierce opposition to any force that seeks to undermine the good of the people. Leaders will value life, preserve life, and promote the fullest expression of life.
What we need, then, are leaders who see themselves first and foremost as spiritual leaders. They value their relationship with God above all else, and then see their vocation as an outgrowth of their spiritual life. More, they both consciously and subconsciously draw on God as the wellspring for their entire life.
Leaders today need many skills, abilities and resources to lead effectively. But the most important ingredient for those called to lead is spiritual depth and vitality, with an ability to let the Holy Spirit work through them in their leadership role.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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