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GUEST POST ~ #ReimagineLEADERSHIP…Less Methods & Meetings; More Counsel & Coaching


Shifting from Leadership to Fatherhood 


Glenn Bleakney


In a day and age when the presence of paternal influence is notably lacking, apostolic leaders face an undeniable and urgent need to transcend their conventional roles as mere leaders. Now, more than ever, they must fully embrace their true calling as spiritual fathers, offering guidance, nurturing, and unwavering care that can only be provided by those who embody the essence of a spiritual father. 


This generation yearns for a profound and intimate connection, as well as compassionate support that can only be fostered through the presence of spiritual fathers. As spiritual orphans wander, desperately seeking purpose and identity, it becomes imperative for apostolic leaders to wholeheartedly embrace the role of a father, guiding others to experience a deep, personal encounter with God the Father and embracing their true identity as cherished children of the Divine. 


Here are ten strategic shifts for apostolic leaders to become influential spiritual fathers, catalyzing transformative change in the lives of those they father. 


1. Embodying Christ-Centered Character: 

As spiritual fathers, apostolic leaders must embody the very essence of Christ-like character in every facet of their lives. In the same way that Paul implored others to imitate his example as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), leaders who embody the virtues of Christ become living testimonies of His transformative power. Through their embodiment of Christ-like character, these spiritual fathers inspire and influence those under their fatherly care. 


2. Cultivating Intimacy with God the Father:

Spiritual fathers must prioritize the cultivation of a deep, intimate relationship with God, serving as models of a life deeply rooted in prayer, worship, and devotion. The letters of the apostle Paul radiate with evidence of his profound intimacy with the Divine, serving as a compelling example for all spiritual fathers. By nurturing their own connection with God, these spiritual fathers create a sacred pathway for others to experience the boundless love of the Father and discover their true identity as cherished children of the Divine. 


3. Building Authentic and Meaningful Relationships:

At the very heart of spiritual fatherhood lies the importance of authentic relationships. The letters of Paul reveal his deep yearning for genuine connections with others. Spiritual fathers must invest their time and effort in building authentic relationships, characterized by vulnerability, transparency, and a genuine willingness to journey alongside others through both moments of joy and struggle. By fostering an environment of trust and authenticity, these spiritual fathers create fertile ground for transformative growth in the lives of those under their fatherly guidance. 


4. Equipping and Empowering the Next Generation:

Apostolic leaders are called to equip and empower the next generation of leaders, following the example set by Paul with Timothy and Titus. The mentorship of these young leaders beautifully exemplifies this crucial principle. In the same way that Paul entrusted them with responsibilities and encouraged them to fulfill their God-given potential, spiritual fathers invest tirelessly in the development of others, creating a legacy of multiplication that extends far beyond their immediate sphere of influence. 


5. Imparting Sound Doctrine and Unyielding Truth: 

Paul placed profound emphasis on the importance of imparting sound doctrine in his teachings. Spiritual fathers must ensure that they impart biblical truth and stand unwavering against the waves of false teachings. By grounding their spiritual children in the unchanging Word of God, these spiritual fathers equip them with the discernment needed to distinguish truth from falsehood, establishing a rock-solid foundation for their faith. Sound doctrine becomes an unwavering compass that guides and shapes the lives of those under their spiritual care. 


6. Correcting with Love, Grace, and Compassion: 

Approaching correction with a heart overflowing with love, grace, and compassion is a vital aspect of spiritual fatherhood. This mirrors the tone of Paul's letters, which were filled with corrective instructions delivered with immense compassion. Humility, discernment, and a genuine desire to witness transformation are crucial components in offering corrective guidance. When rooted in love and grace, correction becomes a catalyst for profound spiritual growth and maturity. 


7. Fostering a Culture of Honor and Affirmation:

Apostolic leaders should strive to cultivate a culture of honor within their communities, following Paul's example of honoring and affirming others (Romans 16:1-16). In doing so, spiritual fathers recognize and celebrate the unique gifts and contributions of those under their care. This cultivation of honor creates an environment of mutual respect, encouragement, and empowerment, enabling individuals to thrive and fulfill their God-given potential. 


8. Providing Unwavering Spiritual Covering and Protection: 

Just as Paul provided spiritual covering and protection to the churches he founded, spiritual fathers offer steadfast guidance, support, and accountability to those entrusted to their care. This covering acts as a shield and guide, enabling spiritual children to navigate challenges and grow in their faith. Spiritual fathers become a source of strength and stability, 


9. Modeling Servant Leadership: 

Spiritual fathers exemplify the essence of servant leadership, mirroring the selfless nature of Jesus Christ himself. They lead not by exerting authority or seeking personal gain, but by humbly serving and sacrificing for the well-being and growth of those under their care. This sacrificial love and servant-heartedness inspire others to follow their example, creating a culture of servanthood within the community. 


10. Nurturing Emotional and Spiritual Healing:

Spiritual fathers understand the importance of addressing emotional and spiritual wounds that hinder growth and wholeness. Just as Paul demonstrated deep care and concern for the emotional well-being of his spiritual children, these spiritual fathers provide a safe space for healing, restoration, and inner transformation. Through compassionate listening, wise counsel, and prayer, they guide individuals towards healing and freedom, enabling them to embrace their true identity in Christ. 


Spiritual fathers have the incredible opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by impacting not just one generation, but multiple generations of spiritual children. Through their guidance, wisdom, and mentorship, they have the power to shape the lives of their spiritual children and equip them to become spiritual fathers and mothers themselves. This ripple effect creates a lineage of spiritual growth and transformation that extends beyond their own lifetime, reaching future generations who will carry on the legacy of faith and mentorship. Spiritual fathers truly have the privilege of nurturing and empowering spiritual children who will, in turn, become spiritual parents to the generations that follow.


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For the Kingdom,

Glenn Bleakney 


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