The Art of Leading Spiritually – An Invitation to a Journey

by Christine Sine
Starfish at Esperanza Canada

The art of leading spiritually

The Art of Leading Spiritually

What does it mean to be a spiritual leader? Why do we lead and where are we heading? What was it that made Jesus leadership special? These are all questions that have revolved in my mind over the last few weeks as I have reflected on my own leadership and evaluated where I am at and where I need to grow into the future. Let me say up front that much of what I share over the next couple of weeks will, to a certain extent, be me thinking out loud. I want to grapple with important questions about why, where and how we lead and hope that you will join me in this journey.

Mustard Seed Associates is going through some huge transitions at the moment. In the next couple of years our team here in Seattle will probably double in size and we will also begin to establish the Mustard Seed Village community on Camano Island. Our Board is also going through transitions as we grapple with the new skills that are needed to move us into the future.

Mustard Seed Associates is a community not a program based organization. We see both our staff team and Board as spiritual communities that discern and carry out the will of God for our organization. We believe that everything we do should flow out of our involvement together as community. We also want to foster spirituality that draws followers of Christ into a deeper relationship with God not alone but as a community.  That is one of the reasons I am attracted to monastic communities and the liturgical calendar. Both of these provide tools that draw us into community with God’s people around the world.

The Mustard Seed team also wants to encourage innovation that enables us to create new ways to advance God’s kingdom purposes and engage tomorrow’s challenges. That kind of creativity only occurs in community.  In many ways MSA provides a networking hub for many expressions of faith and community. Shane Claiborne once described us as cross pollinators. We draw people together across generations, denominations and cultures connecting and equipping them to create their own models that can transform their cultures by both living differently and making a difference for God’s kingdom.

To be honest in some ways I am less sure now of what Godly leadership is meant to look like than I was 10 years ago partly because I realize that spiritual leadership is not a job but a journey. It is a journey into intimacy with God. It is a journey into the kingdom of God. It is also a journey into the company of others. Spiritual leadership is not about individual success, in fact I am not sure that it is about individuals at all. Spiritual leadership is about community, about enabling others to become the people God intends them to be so that together we can become the community of shalom that God intends us to become.

It is probably fairly obvious that my ideas on spiritual leadership look nothing like the secular model of leadership we so often applaud. Our modern idea of leadership, even of Christian leadership is often a very hierarchical model, based on power and prestige. Success is often judged by growth in numbers rather than in spiritual maturity. Sadly this is the model that most of us know and adhere to without even thinking about it.

So I hope you will join me in this journey of exploration and discovery as we discuss the whys, wheres and hows of what it means to lead spiritually.

You may also like


John O'Keefe January 6, 2012 - 11:41 am

love this – love, love, love this. i am excited that the msa is moving in the direction God is leading – amazing stuff. thanks for sharing.

Christine Sine January 6, 2012 - 11:45 am

Thanks John for the affirmation. We have been moving in this direction for several years now. I have just reached the point where I am ready to share. I loved the comment from Boneyard – The intent is that all people in the community influence the leaders of the community, open source…. This means leadership is a shared communal event. (101).
which made me realize that you are thinking in the same direction. Blessings

Miz Melly January 7, 2012 - 12:44 am

Really looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this, Christine. And praying I get to visit your community one day.

Micha Jazz January 7, 2012 - 11:14 am

Love this – and I agree about collaborative models best reflecting Spiritual Leadership. The ego os both damaged and dangerous and often delays Kingdom reach and growth. I am fascinated by how we might explore and express a global Godly leadership utilising the momentum we each generate from our communities/movements. Any thoughts? Friar Micha from The Contemplative Network

Christine Sine January 7, 2012 - 12:44 pm

Micha I would love to explore that possibility. Lets see what surfaces as we continue to explore this understanding of leadership. I am sure that God will speak to us as we listen & discern together

CiteSimon January 7, 2012 - 11:01 pm

What a refreshing approach. I look forward to hearing of developments.

badru April 3, 2012 - 9:25 pm


Leave a Comment