Richard Blackaby Interview: Spiritual Leadership Versus Leadership 

Dr. Richard (Rick) J. Goossen, Chairman, ELO interviewed Dr. Richard Blackaby, President, Blackaby Ministries International, on December 21, 2018.  Dr. Blackaby will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming ELO Forum in Winnipeg on April 30th (see his bio HERE)  Dr. Blackaby is the co-author (with his father, Henry) of three books that are particularly relevant to Christian marketplace leaders:  Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville, TN:  B &  H Publishing Group, 2008); God in the Marketplace (Nashville, TN:  B & H Publishing Group, 2008); and Spiritual Leadership (Nashville, TN:  B & H  Publishing Group, 2011).  This is the fifth of a series of blog posts related to Christian entrepreneurs applying their faith in the marketplace based on the interview with Dr. Blackaby. 

You can view the previous blogs below:

Richard Blackaby Interview: Spiritual Disciplines for Christian Entrepreneurs

Richard Blackaby Interview: Christian Entrepreneurs & Risk 

Richard Blackaby Interview: The Meaning of Spiritual Leadership 

Richard Blackaby Interview: Christian Entrepreneurs & Risk 

Richard Blackaby Interview: Biblical Principles for Christian Entrepreneurs 

Richard Blackaby Interview: A Distinctive Biblical Approach to Work?

RG:       Why is it important for Christian marketplace leaders to have a clear understanding of spiritual leadership in addition to leadership generally (which is of course what we all get in the mainstream)?

RB:        A lot of spiritual and secular leadership is the same. If you’re talking about delegating, organizing your time, team building and so on, there are a lot of things where leadership is leadership. 

But one of the questions I often ask people is, ‘What difference does the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life make to your business?’  How is an atheist, without the Holy Spirit, any different than a Christian with the Holy Spirit in how they do business?

I think there should be a profound difference.  1 Corinthians 2:9 and following says the Spirit of God knows what’s on God’s heart.  The Spirit of God is in the throne room of heaven.  He knows what the eternal purposes of God are for your country, for your company, for your own life and family. That Holy Spirit is the one who dwells within you as a Christian. So, if you’ll listen to Him, He can give you all kinds of insights that you would not get anywhere else.  He may warn you about things. 

I remember one time while I was leading a seminary in Canada. I sat down with the head of a foundation that had been making great returns for a lot of schools and organizations.  Christian ministries had invested all of their endowment funds with them and they were producing the best returns anywhere.  All my friends and colleagues were urging me to put our seminary endowments and scholarship funds into their investment portfolios.  This man was a really nice guy. He had a great track record and he made me a very attractive offer.  The Holy Spirit within me simply said, ‘don’t do it.’ I told the man, ‘everything you say makes me want to put everything we’ve got with you, but I’ve got this still small voice telling me not to.’

I’ve learned over the years to trust that voice and so I said, ‘Your presentation is great, your track record looks spectacular, but I can’t do it at this time.’  Well, the whole foundation ended up having some huge issues and people lost enormous amounts of money. The foundation was eventually closed down and its top executives ended up doing jail time.  I had many friends who lost much of their retirement. They said to me, ‘Richard, how did you escape that?’  I said, ‘All I can tell you is there was a still small voice that warned me not to do it.’  The Spirit of God knew some things no one else knew at that time.  I just listened to that voice.  I’m not saying that you’ll never make a mistake, but the Spirit of God is in you for a reason.  I think having the Spirit’s presence in your life as a leader gives you a distinct advantage in many ways that an atheist leader just doesn’t have.