Leading for Progress and Joy in the Faith

Where better to start the new Living Leadership blog than with the Apostle Paul's fantastic definition of the goal of Christian leadership in Philippians 1:25-26:
...I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Jesus Christ will overflow on account of me
Growing in spiritual leadership means increasingly living and leading in faith to make all the believers are radically God-centred, radically enjoying him, radically concerned for his glory, radically concerned to spread the fame of his glory and the call to be worshippers of him around the world.
But what does this work of leadership look like? What does it mean in practice for church leaders to work with people for thier progress and joy in the faith, so that all the disciples overflow with abundant joy in God? Here are a few ideas:
  • Help people to delight themselves in the Lord. Help them love God, love the Son of God, love the Spirit, and to give expression to their love
  • Help them love the Word of God so that they flourish spiritually
  • Help people appreciate the benefits of Christ. Adoption, forgiveness of sins, a home in heaven, entrance into God’s family, freedom from guilt and the curse of the Law, the gift of the Spirit, a new heart, new desires, a Heavenly Father, a great high priest through whom we have redemption, etc, etc
  • Help people see the glory of God in the gospel of his grace. Romans 5 says we reign in life by receiving of his grace and the gift of eternal life. Help them know how to receive and seek God for his grace with them
  • Love people at all times and do them good, especially those in difficulty and distress
  • Have ambitions for where God might take people. Show them some of what is possible in the Lord if they live and act in faith, especially in the cause of global mission
  • Help others pray. Pray with them. Show them how you pray. Tell them what you pray for them


This is a much wider vision than merely putting on a programme, running a meeting or organising Sunday services. Spiritual leadership is a bigger category than other leadership, because we are developing people’s souls and their walk with the Lord, not just their skills and abilities. We are helping them participate with God in growing the Kingdom, not just putting on an activity or programme.

Which means that our investment in them is a much bigger thing than merely training. It is discipling them. Or, as Paul put it, working with them for their joy. That is our Living Leadership definition of discipling people: working with them for their joy in God. We hope you share it with us.