The Example of Gideon

Guest Author: Andrew Lyon

Spiritual leadership is simple to understand but difficult to put into practice. How do we define spiritual leadership? What does spiritual leadership look like? More importantly, where can a Christian look for examples of how true spiritual leadership appears? This is the question we will address.

I believe that the scriptures hold the key to spiritual leadership, its definition and great examples of how to put it into practice. Where better to go to find direction in our pursuit to be more Christ-like than the very Words of God? In my personal pursuit of spiritual leadership, I find myself looking to the Old Testament for this direction. The Old Testament is filled with those who seek to find and follow God…none more than in the person of Gideon.

In the life of Gideon, we find the story of a man who is called into the service of God. I truly enjoy the story of Gideon as it gives me the opportunity to see that in my path to follow God, it is okay to sometimes question that very calling. Gideon is visited by an Angel of God and is called into service to lead God’s people out of the control of the Midianites. As the story progresses, we see Gideon twice question as to whether it is truly God that is calling him. The story of the fleece and the dew is a classic tale from scripture highlighting one man’s struggle in trusting and following God. Gideon seeks proof from God as to his calling and God, without question or anger, answers Gideon’s challenge. Upon God’s fulfillment of Gideon’s challenge, he accepts God’s calling. I believe this is why Gideon is one of the great leaders of the children of God and an exceptional example of spiritual leadership.

I find in this story of Gideon, three different lessons that I can carry with me and put into practice in my pursuit of spiritual leadership:

Reluctant Leadership:  A Reluctant Individual Can Be a Powerful Leader

  • I find great hope in this lesson as I am sometimes a reluctant leader. There have been many times that I feel that God has called me and I am fearful or do not trust that calling. In reading the story of Gideon I see this reluctance can be a source of strength as I drive myself to ensure that the calling I am hearing is truly a calling from God. I further find that having reluctance is not something that God finds to be against his teachings, but something to be expected. We can question, but are expected to fully submit when He answers our questioning.

Questioning Leadership:  A Great Leader is not Afraid to Question

  • Gideon was not willing to blindly follow what he was being shown, but sought proof that the calling was truly from God.  Not only did Gideon ask for proof, he sought out that truth multiple times.  While we may look at this as a lack of faith, this is a great example of seeking clarification of your calling. A true spiritual leader will not only lead, but will take the opportunity to question to ensure he is on the correct path.

Trusting Leadership: Having Faith in the Face of Insurmountable Odds

  • As spiritual leaders we may believe we do not have what is necessary to stay the course and conquer the day in God’s name.  As we follow Gideon, we find he is going up against a massive army from Midian. Gideon began his quest with an army of thirty-two thousand men. Gideon probably felt pretty secure in the size of his army.  God had other plans. Gideon was quickly tasked with reducing the number of men so that the men of Israel could not say “…My own hand has saved me.” By the end of this purge, Gideon’s army numbered 300 men.  300 men to go up against an amassed army that was as “thick as locusts”.  This was further a test of the calling of God for Gideon and whether he has the faith to follow regardless of insurmountable odds.  

As I read the story of Gideon, I am reminded that even though Gideon was reluctant and questioned the calling to be a spiritual leader for God, he was still able to fulfill that role. As a man who seeks to follow God as Gideon did, can I be strong in the face of odds that are clearly stacked against me with only my faith in God as my strength?

Andrew Lyon was raised in New Palestine, IN, a small town located just outside Indianapolis, IN.  He moved to Nashville, TN to attend Lipscomb University where he received a BS in Communications and met his wife.  He has been married for 22 years and he and his wife, Sherri, have 8 children.  He lived in and around Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN for 16 years.  Currently he lives in Flintville, TN.  

After two decades of working as a Manager in the Retail environment, he went back to school to pursue his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy which he completed in 2014.  Andrew is presently seeking a second Masters in Christian ministry.  He currently owns his own Counseling Business in Fayetteville, TN.  Andrew is also the pulpit Minister at Huntland Church of Christ.

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