Book Review: C.H Spurgeon on Leadership (by Steve Miller)

Posted: February 13, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Book Recommendation, Book reviews, Reading

Some of the best lessons on leadership are lessons learned through experience. In this book, one of the most influential preachers, Charles Spurgeon, recounts lessons he has learned on leadership. With great illustrations, moments of humility, and loving exhortations he gives needed advice to the next generations of leaders.

One of my tendencies when thinking about leadership is to think of leading as getting others and myself from point A to point B. Not that there is anything wrong with that; it is just too simplistic a view of leadership. If leadership is only about competency, does the character or beliefs with which it is done have no value? In Charles Spurgeon’s view, it is not only the method but also the manner that is crucial to leadership.

What is the manner and method in which leadership is to be carried? Throughout the whole book (made up of quotes, lectures, sermons, and articles on leadership) Charles Spurgeon has one recurring theme: dependence on God.  In order to be a good leader you must follow the Leader. Through prayer, Bible reading, faith, and a willingness to follow, leaders can accomplish God’s will. It is through the ordinary means that extraordinary endeavors are carried out.

The result of this leadership is a humble response to what God does rather than a boastful heart ready to talk about our accomplishments. As we draw from and implement what we learn from God, who else can get credit for what is entrusted to us? Leadership, when properly understood, is to lead us to humility.  We have neither the ability nor the skill for the task of spiritual leadership. We are dependent on God. We are in need of his hand in everything. We are constantly seeing our lack of wisdom and discernment.

I am deeply moved as I see that all I need for ministry and leadership is found in the generous hands of my heavenly Father. He is eager to encounter me every morning with unabashed generosity.  He caringly welcomes all my anxieties so that He may provide me with peace. Even if I don’t come to Him, He will neither “leave me nor forsake me”. He promises to be with me “to the end of the age”.  Spurgeon’s call to lead under the provisions of a lavishing King is incredibly encouraging to a new leader like me. I may not know how to lead, but I do know who is leading all things “to be reconciled to himself”.

To summarize the book, leadership is the following of God’s leading through his appointed means, namely prayer and the Bible. As a leader hears and speaks with God there is clarity for what God is calling us to, why He is calling us there, and how he would have us lead.


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