The Leader’s Self Understanding and Spiritual Formation.exe

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The Leader’s Self Understanding and Spiritual Formation.exe
2011-11-25 20:24:13

Lecture 3 – Leaders self understand and Spiritual formation
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  1. Recognize why church-related ministry is dangerous territory and the pastoral ministry realities. (Sect. 14 & 16)
    • Church-related ministry is dangerous territory
    • 14.1 Truth be known, people who are moving into church-related ministry are venturing

    into dangerous territory.

    14.2 New York Times article, August 1, 2010, entitled,

    Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work, reported:

    14.2.1 The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with

    little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at

    rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen,

    while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.

    1. Recognize why church-related ministry is dangerous territory and the pastoral ministry realities. (Sect. 14 &


    2. Explain (in 4 paragraphs) the six aspects of our assuming responsibility for soul care in our relationship

    with God; two of the paragraphs should explain the concept of "doing" vs. "being." (Sect. 15)

    3. Recognize what spiritual formation is and things to remember as we think about spiritual formation.

    (Sect. 17.4 & 17.5)

    4. Explain (in 3 paragraphs) the seven aspects of how spiritual formation is the process of becoming like

    Christ. (Sect. 18)

    5. Recognize why spiritual formation is important. (Sect. 20)

    6. Recognize the explanation of Dallas Willard’s VIM acronym for moving into the spiritual formation

    process. (Sect. 21.1)

    14.2.2 But while research continues, a growing number of health care experts and religious

    leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many

    clerics: taking more time off.

    14.2.3 The Lilly Endowment, a philanthropic foundation based in Indiana, has awarded grants of

    up to $45,000 each to hundreds of Christian congregations in the past few years, under a

    project called the National Clergy Renewal Program, for the purpose of giving pastors

    extended sabbaticals.

    14.2.4 Clergy health studies say that many clerics have "boundary issues" — defined as being

    too easily overtaken by the urgency of other people’s needs.

    14.2.5 In May, the Clergy Health Initiative, a seven-year study that Duke University began in

    2007, published the first results of a continuing survey of 1,726 Methodist ministers in North

    Carolina. Compared with neighbors in their census tracts, the ministers reported significantly

    higher rates of arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Obesity was 10 percent

    more prevalent in the clergy group.

    14.2.6 The results echoed recent internal surveys by the

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in

    America, which found that 69 percent of its ministers reported being overweight, 64 percent

    having high blood pressure and 13 percent taking antidepressants

    14.2.7 A 2005 survey of clergy by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church also took

    special note of a quadrupling in the number of people leaving the profession during the first

    five years of ministry, compared with the 1970s. "The pressures in ministry are enormous, the demands are increasing, and the

    satisfaction diminishing. How can we expect to remain full of creative vitality, of zeal

    for the Word of God, of desire to serve, and of motivation to inspire our often numbed

    congregations? Where are we supposed to finds nurture and strength? How can we

    alleviate our own spiritual hunger and thirst?

    A survey of pastors reveals the negative effects of being in pastoral ministry.

    These stats are collected from a number of websites, a few of which are… Scot McKnight

    • , Burnout for Pastors, posted on August 13, 2007, accessed August 13, 2007, and

    Alan Fadling,

    16.1.1 90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.

    16.1.2 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastors’ children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.

    16.1.3 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

    16.1.4 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.

    16.1.5 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.

    16.1.6 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.

    16.1.7 33% confess to having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.

    16.1.8 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry.

    16.1.9 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.

    16.1.10 40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.

    16.1.11 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.

    16.1.12 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.

    16.1.13 50%of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

    16.1.14 80%of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

    16.1.15 70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

    16.1.16 51% of pastors say that Internet pornography is a possible temptation for them; 37% admit that it is a current struggle

    16.2 This is depressing!

    16.2.1 You need to know what you are up against.

    16.2.2 Realize that

    IT IS UP TO YOU to guard and deepen your relationship with God. In general, the culture and church are not going to be all that helpful in this regard.

    16.3 Wise words from Parker Palmer and Dallas Willard

    16.3.1 Parker Palmer

    "I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good

    stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we

    can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch." Parker J. Palmer,

    Let Your Life Speak , 30-31.

  2. 2. Explain (in 4 paragraphs) the six aspects of our assuming responsibility for soul care in our relationship with God; two of
    the paragraphs should explain the concept of “doing” vs. “being.” (Sect. 15)
    • Our responsibility for soul care in our relationship with God

    • 1. The reality is that one can be involved in vocational ministry and not be experiencing close communion with God.

    • 2. When we are called into ministry, we are called to carry it out with a sense of priority
    • . But when we get involved in ministry, we can sometimes lose our sense of priority.

    • 3. The priorities of Jesus
    • [13] "Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. [14] Then he selected twelve of them to be his regular companions, calling them apostles. He sent them out to preach, [15] and he gave them authority to cast out demons ." (Emphasis mine.) Mark 3:13-15 15.3.2 Before the Twelve were sent out to "do" ministry, they were called to "be with" Jesus.

    • 4. The primary call and responsibility in a leader’s life is to develop a relationship of intimacy with God. 15.4.1 It is out of the foundation of companionship with Christ that we as leaders are to carry out our ministry responsibilities.
    • 5. "Doing" vs. "being"

    15.5.1 The difficulty is that we live in a culture that is thoroughly committed to a priority of "doing"… this is true in lots of churches as well. 15.5.2 When "doing" becomes the priority over "being" in a leader’s life, the essence of what ministry is begins to be constricted in the leader’s life. 15.5.3 One can become a " professional" instead of a personal apprentice of Christ. "The outward success of our church came with a steep price tag. We had grown the church, but we were not more like Jesus. Growing the church did not require that we be like Jesus." Renovation of the Church, Kent Carlson & Mike Lueken C.S. Lewis said, "Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first things and second things" (God in the Dock) True ministry is entering into and participating in what God is ALREADY DOING! Understanding what God is doing is a result of communion/union with God.


    This is the paradigm that Jesus ministered from: John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 7:16; 8:28-29;

    8:42; 12:44-50; 14:8-10.

    15.5.4 Our "doing" is to flow out from "being" John 15: 1-11 tells us that fruitfulness is the natural outcome of learning to

    remain/abide in union with Christ. Knowledge about God, without a corresponding experience of God, falls short

    of what God intends for us. A life of deep communion with God requires TIME! A deep life with God cannot be formed or sustained on the run.

    • 6. Knowing and experiencing the love of God is essential

    15.6.1 In Ephesians 3, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers and us as well. He prays that we

    would understand

    • and
    • experience God’s love at ever-deepening levels in our lives. Even

    though God’s love is so immense, we will never plumb its depths.

    15.6.2 Ephes. 3:16-20 (NLT)


    "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength

    through his Holy Spirit.

    [17] And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your

    hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.


    And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how

    long, how high, and how deep his love really is.

    [19] May you experience the love of Christ,

    though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness

    of life and power that comes from God.

    Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at

    work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or


    This passage alone is worthy of multiple months of personal interaction, reflection, and pondering.

  3. What are we talking about here? (Recognize)
    - A process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others."
    -The focal point of our formation journey is to know God. One result of truly knowing God will be a life that takes on the character of Christ.

    - It is extremely important that we make "fixing our eyes on Jesus" (Heb.12:2) our primary activity.
    Spiritual Formation
  4. 4. Explain (in 3 paragraphs) the seven aspects of how spiritual formation is the process of becoming like Christ. (Sect. 18)
  5. 5. Recognize why spiritual formation is important. (Sect. 20)
  6. 6. Recognize the explanation of Dallas Willard’s VIM acronym for moving into the spiritual formation process. (Sect. 21.1)
  7. What are some things to remember about spiritual formation?
    • 1. We are all being formed spiritually whether we recognize it or not.
    • 2. Classic and contemporary understandings of Christian spiritual formation contain the element of intentionality on the part of the Christian in the formation process.
    • 3. Although the Spirit of God is the initiator and sustainer of the formation process in our lives, we are called to recognize and respond to the Spirit’s activity.
    • 4. This is to be ongoing and ever deepening, and we play a part in the process.