A guide to spiritual leadership and the pursuit of understanding

A Guide to Spiritual Leadership

Why do I have to be loud to lead? I’d rather use a pen and paper, so learn to read. - Michael Apa

This is the first two-liner I ever wrote, back in 2019. It’s the one my wife says “changed the game” for her when it came to my writing. She says it gave her more perspective into the way I work, but it gave her a revelation to how silly of a concept it is that only extroverts (or those appearing as such) are leaders. I am excited to dive into this two-liner and take it apart, word by word, as I feel this is a particularly poignant phrase for any society, but especially for my country, Papua New Guinea.


“Loud” is defined by “a high volume of sound” or “noisy”. If we then look at the word noisy, its an “unpleasant sound”. 

Matthew 15:8-11 says, 

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,

And honor Me with their lips,

But their heart is far from Me.

And in vain they worship Me,

Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (NKJV)


Scribes and Pharisees question Jesus about the disciples transgressions against a tradition regarding their washing of hands before eating bread. When they wash hands before they “eat bread” it relates to the rituals as stated in Mark 7:4. It seems like a hygiene thing now, but it was moreover a traditional practice that served as an act of showing holiness. The religious elite believed they had the divine authority to teach the law, because they followed the traditions of the elders, like the ones in Mark 7:4, and circumcision, etc.
They acted holy– and the people believed that they were– so they had the authority.



“Lead” means “to point out the way for someone, especially from a position in front”, and its synonyms are “guide”, “direct”, “show” and “steer”. 

John 14:6 says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is the only way to the Father. He is the Good Shepherd, giving His life for us, as stated in John 10:11. A shepherd guides sheep through pastures, protecting them from wolves and other predators. If sheep are left unattended, they’ll wander off into unpredictable and likely, very unsafe environments, for the sake of tasty grass to fill their endless appetites. 


Jesus warns us of this in Matthew 7:15 when He says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

Jesus was referring to the hearts of the Pharisees and scribes parallel to Matthew 15:8-9. The Heart mentioned here is the condition of the wolf (Matt. 10:16). The Lips are the vain traditions– or the outward appearance– of a wolf who is acting like a sheep in order to force their way into good pastures, or the Kingdom, or eat the sheep.


Psalms 45 discusses the “Glories of the Messiah and His Bride”. In verse 1, David writes: 

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;

I recite my composition concerning the King;

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (NKJV)


This chapter is all about the King; ‘my tongue as the pen’ means that, whatever praise, prayer, or word he says must reflect the King’s glory and magnificence. The heart is mentioned before the tongue because, in this case, it is similar to an ink bottle with the tongue being like a quill.
Before the quill is ready to write, it must have the right ink, which is made possible through a heart covenant– or an agreement– between God and his people (Jer. 31:33), or the Good Shepherd and his sheep (John 10:27).

God alone sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7, Prov. 15:11) and is able to purify it (Psalms 51:10, Prov. 3:5-6, Prov. 17:3) in order for it/us to produce good works (Matt. 7:16-18, Prov. 13:2, 2 Tim. 3:17, John 1:1-5). 


When our words, thoughts and actions become more aligned with Scripture, we develop and grow as leaders. The picture of the serpent on the rock (Prov. 30:19) illustrates an important concept about leadership as Christ commanded his disciples to be “wise as serpents” (Matt. 10:16). A serpent hides under a rock and sheds its old skin on the rock. That is how we need to run and hide under the Spiritual Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), and use the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12) to remove the old skin and strip down our bad habits, wicked thoughts and carnal mind (Matt. 7:1-5). 

By doing this, we are submitting and allowing God to circumcise and purify our hearts in order to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16). In Hebrews 10:16, the Lord says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them” (NKJV).

As human beings, we all have one purpose on earth, and that is to do His will. The church is the body of Christ, with Himself as the head (Col. 1:18). As individuals, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). In order to govern our own temples, we need Christ’s mind, as in Philippians 2:5 stating, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). There are different abilities, roles and responsibilities in the church, as the body is composed of different parts; but it is one Spirit who ensures that the body is working in unity to accomplish God’s purpose (1 Cor. 12:4-7). 


A good illustration of this is the concept of Paul and Apollos planting and watering (1 Cor. 3:6-9). Both the planter and the waterer work together to make sure each field contains good seeds and is well watered but over time, it is only God and the state of the soil that will make the plant increase and bear fruit (Matt. 13:8, 1 Cor. 3:7). 

We are commanded to ask and seek in order to gain understanding about Scripture (Matt. 7:7-11). A main reason for this is because the enemy has done a good job confusing and distracting people (2 Cor. 4:4); as a result, we become wise in our own eyes (Prov. 26:12), and are destroyed due to lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). This is why it is important for us to read in order to gain understanding, so we can know for ourselves what is Truth (Prov. 4:7).



I have a lot more to say, but that’s all for now!  If you found this to be encouraging, I really want to hear from you! This has come from my heart in a dark time, and I  want to get the conversation going. Comment your musings below, or on social media (FB or Instagram)! 

The “loud to lead” two-liner is available on drinkware, sold across the US, featuring my wife’s original design of a traditional kundu drum. It is our aim to help you start your mornings strong with encouragement and a call-to-action. If you want to help support One Little Big Shop, click here to check out our “Loud to Lead” collection, or feel free to poke around the site to see what suits your style. 


Thanks for reading. 


More to come, 




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Well done.

Maryleslie Michael

Great thoughts. Loved it

Dale Oens

I am so blessed reading this and I praise God for giving you the insight to write this. Thank you ONE LITTLE BIG SHOP.

Susan Apa

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