Spurgeon on Leadership (7): Nine Lessons on Courage

1. A true leader is willing to stand by the courage of his convictions. When it came to leadership issues related to sin and righteousness, Spurgeon yielded no ground whatsoever. If he encountered error, he would confront it. “We must not allow sin to go unrebuked. Yield in all things personal, but be firm where truth and holiness are concerned.”

2. People are inspired when their leaders show the willingness to risk everything for their beliefs. Billy Graham testified, “Courage is conta­gious.” The congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle was bolstered by the courageous stands that their pastor took in his advocacy of biblical truth and the gospel.

3. A leader is resolute when it comes to matters of spirituality and Christian conduct. Because he was confident in his doctrinal beliefs and firmly grounded in the Scriptures, Spurgeon was willing to stand alone if necessary when it came to the cause of truth and righteousness.

4. A leader must seek the wisdom and discernment that comes from God in confronting error. A leader faces many challenges to his beliefs along the way and must discover for which ones he is willing to fight. Spurgeon wrote, “Learn always to discriminate between things that dif­fer; . . . Learn to judge between truth and counterfeits, and you will not be led astray!”

5. Principled confidence comes to the leader who is well grounded in his theological beliefs. Spurgeon’s system of belief was based on evan­gelical Calvinism, which he modified only to the extent that he was able to make a broader appeal in the presentation of the gospel.

6. Complacency cannot be condoned when it comes to a leader’s theo­logical knowledge. Spurgeon believed that many errors could be avoided if one became competent and equipped in his or her theology. “Be well instructed in theology, and do not regard those who rail at it because they are ignorant of it.”

7. The Christian leader must be firmly resolute in his commitment to the full redemptive revelation of God through the Holy Scriptures. “You must preach the whole of the gospel. The omission of a doctrine, or an ordinance, or a precept, may prove highly injurious.”

8. Standing for righteousness is a necessary validation of the effec­tiveness of one’s ministry. Spurgeon wrote, “Stand fast in the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and let no man spoil you by philoso­phy and vain deceit.”

It takes great strength to face strongholds in opposition to the work of Christ. Spurgeon believed that men who are prepared spiritually and operate out of firm convictions might not always win the day, but they will ultimately win the war.

Spurgeon on Leadership (6): Nine Lessons on Casting Vision

1. Leaders and organizations must have a vision to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world. Spurgeon recognized the need for a new vision upon his arrival in London to serve as pastor of a declining inner-­city church. We must show our people the way forward.

2. Effective leaders are able to create and sustain a compelling vision for their followers. Spurgeon brought to his church creative leadership that extended throughout his thirty-seven years of ministry. He cultivated a biblical vision that inspired and moved his people.

3. Visionary leadership includes an effort to honor the best accom­plishments of the past while adapting strategies and adjusting goals to provide growth for the future. Spurgeon honored the great pastors who had served before him and built upon their accomplishments. He did not build himself up by tearing others down.

4. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Spurgeon had a clear vision of his purpose and calling in ministry. His passion to preach the gospel became the springboard that launched his all-encompassing ministry. His was a gospel-centered vision.

5. A leader must gather around him godly people who share the vi­sion. Spurgeon surrounded himself with capable assistants and lay lead­ers who were able to help him implement the vision for his ministry. “A” leaders will look for “A” co-laborers!

6. A visionary leader is positive about the future because God has given a vision of that future. “In our Christian pilgrimage it is well, for the most part, to be looking forward. Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal. Whether it be for hope, for joy, for consolation, or for the inspiring of our love, the future must, after all, be the grand object of the eye of faith.”

7. A visionary leader sets goals that enable his followers to accomplish great things for the organization. Spurgeon’s goals emanated from his clear calling to preach the gospel, a gospel that he believed extended ministry to the whole person. Spurgeon knew what the gospel was. He also knew that there were implications that naturally flow from the gospel as well.

8. Goals are a direct measure of a leader’s faith. Spurgeon’s faith en­abled him to anticipate great progress and advancement in the minis­tries of his church as he pursued his goals.

9. A visionary leader understands the importance of planning. Spurgeon said, “We believe in a God of purposes and plans, who has not left a blind fate to tyrannize over the world, much less an aimless chance to rock it to and fro. . . . We are believers in a God `who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.'”

Charles Spurgeon on Leadership (5): Twelve Lessons on Character

1. Authentic leaders exhibit an uncompromising standard of moral character. It is no coincidence that Spurgeon’s legacy as a Christian leader is due in large measure to the fact that he exhibited steadfastly the highest moral conduct throughout his life.

2. The early development of character is crucial to the moral con­stitution of a leader. Under the training and tutelage of godly Puritan grandparents, the foundation of Spurgeon’s character was laid, and the seed was sown that was in later years to bring forth an abundant harvest.

3. A leader demonstrates consistency in the moral conduct of his personal and public life. Throughout his extended ministry, Spurgeon’s life evidenced such consistency. James Douglas wrote in his biography of Spurgeon, “He was great as a man . . . great in private with God, and great in public with his fellow men.”

4. The most effective moral leadership is by example, not by edict. Spurgeon championed the cause for authentic leaders to exhibit an un­compromising standard of moral character. He wrote, “God help us so to live that we may be safe examples to our flocks.”

5. The model of godliness exhibited by a Christian leader challenges others to follow Christ through the testimony of the leader’s life. People are drawn to Christ when they see a leader live what he pro­fesses. Spurgeon was instrumental in leading thousands of people to faith through his ministry.

6. The degree to which a leader is trusted will determine the degree of his influence upon his followers. Spurgeon wrote, “Let us aspire to saintliness of spirit and character. I am persuaded that the greatest power we can get over our fellow-men is the power which comes of consecration and holiness.”

7. Leaders will experience temptation like anyone else, but the dif­ference lies in how they respond to such temptation. Spurgeon’s secret to overcoming sinful temptations was his daily personal relationship to Christ. Through his unwavering commitment, strong convictions, and disciplined lifestyle, Spurgeon’s character was avowedly consistent with the faith he professed.

8. The responsibility of leadership demands constant vigilance re­garding one’s conduct. Spurgeon realized the perilous effect that im­moral behavior could have on kingdom efforts: “We have need of very vigorous piety, because our danger is so much greater than that of oth­ers.”

9. Leaders who succumb to moral failure will find it difficult to lead effectively again. Spurgeon lamented, “Alas, the open beard of reputa­tion once shorn is hard to grow again. Open immorality, in most cases, however deep the repentance, is a fatal sign that ministerial graces were never in the man’s character.”

10. Integrity is a core determination of true leadership. A leader with in­tegrity does the right things the right way for the right reason. Spurgeon charged, “Dear brethren, we must acquire certain moral and theological faculties and habits, as well as put aside their opposites. He will never do much for God who has not integrity of spirit.”

11. Self-discipline/self-control makes up “the price tag of leadership.” Spurgeon took costly stands, which reflected his moral and theological principles based on his biblical conviction that “The highest moral character must be sedulously maintained.”

The personal characteristics of a leader bear witness to the last­ing influence of that leader. Spurgeon testified, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble.