Some Reflections on Spiritual Leadership: The Quest for Integrity

December 9, 2014

Rev. Wil Posey, Associate Pastor at First UMC in Hickory, offers us a personal reflection on the book Spiritual Leadership: The Quest for Integrity by Leonard Doohan. Find it on

The main idea of the book is it is not possible to separate leadership from life, hence the subtitle, “the quest for integrity”.  Doohan makes what feels like an obvious claim that perhaps we too often miss: the source of Jesus’ leadership is his relationship with the Father in the Spirit.  Similarly, he talks about how a spiritual leader’s will flows from personal experiences with God’s grace, forgiveness, love, etc., not from formal position or an institution. He talks practically about the cultivation of trusting relationships with followers, the vital importance of sharing a vision, and how to cultivate other leaders.

I haven’t read too many other books on leadership, but my guess is two of the things that would make his book stand out is:

1) his emphasis on genuine relationships of trust between leaders and followers; and

2) the vital importance of a life of integrity where one’s leadership flows from one’s abiding relationship with God.

The book is thick, and at times encyclopedic, making for dry reading—I can’t remember any narrative or anecdotal passages. Sometimes he makes bold pronouncements or introduces a new set of vocabulary then moves right along. Those are places that feel like they could have been fleshed out more. That said, it’s a book I’ll return to, chapters at a time. I read it as a required reading for the School of the Spirit program through Davidson UMC.
Leadership Development