Thursday, September 10, 2009

Strengthen Your Soul For Leading

>>>Note: Click on the headline to access the compilation of quotes, take time to read through each section then stop and ray as the Spirit leads ...

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry

Ruth Haley Barton

InterVarsity Press, 2008, 228 pp., ISBN 978-0-8308-3513-3

To order this book click here.

Barton is cofounder and president of The Transforming Center, a ministry to pastors and Christian leaders. She has served on the pastoral staff of several churches and is a trained spiritual director and retreat leader. She is the author of four additional books. The author draws heavily on lessons from the life of Moses -- whose whole life can be viewed through the lens of his private encounters with God-- to help us experience God in the middle of leadership.

"Strengthening the soul of our leadership is an invitation that begins, continues and ends with seeking God in the crucible of ministry. It is an invitation to stay connected with our own soul--that very private place where God's Spirit and my spirit dwell together in union--and to lead from that place." (210)

1. When Leaders Lose Their Souls

"So how is it with your soul?" (24)

"Spiritual leadership emerges from our willingness to stay involved with our own soul--that place where God's Spirit is at work stirring up our deepest questions and longings to draw us deeper into relationship with him." (25)

"The temptation to compromise basic Christian values--love, community, truth-telling, confession and reconciliation, silent listening and waiting on God for discernment--for the sake of expedience is very great." (27)

"…those who are looking to us for spiritual sustenance need us first and foremost to be spiritual seekers ourselves." (29)

"The discipline of solitude is a key discipline for all those who seek after God." (31) This is in contrast to the activities and experiences of leadership that can be very addicting.

2. What Lies Beneath

"A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what's going on inside him- or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good." (38, quoting Parker Palmer, "Leading from Within")

"Solitude will do its good work whether we know what we are doing or not." "One of the primary functions of solitude is to settle into ourselves in God's presence." (41) "Most of what happens in solitude is happening under the surface, and God is doing it." (42)===>Click headline to access complete listing . . .

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A. Amos Love said...


Just wondering how you reconcile the use
of the word “leader” With what Jesus said in Mt 23:10.

The word “leader” seems like a “high place.” Yes?

Jesus always took and recommended the “low place.” Yes?

Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of no reputation
and took on the form of a servant.
Php 2:7

Jesus in Mat 23:10 told His disciples “NOT” to call
themselves master/“leaders”
for you have one master/"leader” the Christ.

King James Version -
Neither be ye called masters:
for one is your Master, even Christ.

The Interlinear Bible -
Nor be called leaders,
for one is your leader the Christ.

Phillips Modern English -
you must not let people call you leaders,
you have only one leader, Christ.

Today's English Version -
nor should you be called leader.
your one and only leader is the Messiah.

The Amplified-
you must not be called masters ( leaders )
for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

Jesus told His disciples not to be
called "leaders" and none did.

Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ...

Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus,
the servants of Jesus Christ...

Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you,
a servant of Christ...

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God...
Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God...
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant...

His disciples "all" called themselves "servants,"
none called themselves "leaders." None? None.
None called themselves "servant-leader." None.

If someone calls themself a "leader"
or thinks they are a "leader;"

Are they a "disciple of Christ?"

Just wondering. Be blessed.

Phil Miglioratti said...

I never want to disagree with Jesus!

... and I agree with him - we are all to be servants.

The way i reconcile the use of the word "leader" is that I consider it a common term that describes the function of influence. It is not so much a position as it is a reality that everyone has gifts and callings and opportunities that enable and empower them to be effective servants for Christ, bearing fruit in every good work.

I choose to give biblical meaning to a contemporary term. The apostles were not labeled as leaders but they used their influence (under the filling and leading (oops) of the Spirit to impact the world for Christ.

Humility, not title, makes a servant.

A. Amos Love said...

Phil - Fairly new to the blogospear.
I Googled "Pastors and leadership"
and a whole bunch of sites came up.
Thank you for responding. Not many do.

Just went over your site a little and Praise God,
seems you love the Lord and
desire for others to know Him as well.

I have seen the dangers of "Titles,"
of "Pastors," and of "leaders."
Spiritual abuse for both the "leader"
and those “being led” by man.
My conclusion is the word and position
of “leader” is very, very dangerous for both.

I'm not not new to "ministering healing"
to those who have been abused
by those who "thought” they were
“Pastors” and “leaders."

Folks who've been burnt, burnt out, kicked out,
or crawled out of "the religious system"
with it's leaders, spiritual authority, and other
"heavy weights" put on folks shoulders.

I also spend a fair amount of time with pastors,
"so called leaders," who can't do it anymore.

Trying to run the show, please so many masters and realizing they didn’t even qualify to be an elder.

Trying to please the denominational leaders,
the congregation and it's leaders,
and of course Jesus.
Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

Serving three masters, that's tough; Yes?
Preaching every week... and it better be good,
being the CEO, the team leader, councilor,
smiley face. etc.

If "pastors" and “leaders”
(as we see them today) are of God?
He's not taking very good care of His shepherds;
Is He?.
Hmmm? Wonder why?

This is info from a website
helping “burned out Pastors.”

PastorCare offers support and encouragement
for pastors and their families.

At PastorCare we care about YOU
and we want to help.

According to the Francis A. Schaeffer
Institute of Church Leadership (2007)

• 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
• 71% have felt burned out or depressed.
• 70% have no one they consider a close friend.
• 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.

According to the
Ministering to Ministers Foundation...

• Over 1600 pastors in the U.S. are forced out
of their positions each month.

• Nearly 1 in 4 pastors experience a forced termination at least once during their ministry.

•Only 54% of pastors go back into
full-time church related positions.

Think we might have a problem Phil?
70% of pastors are depressed or burnt out.
Don't have a close friend. Hmmm?

That's who is running the show. “Leadership?”
That's who is abusing God's sheep.
I have been both abused and the abuser.
It’s not pretty.

1600 pastors a month, that's 18,000 a year,
leave or are pushed out. Wow!!!
That's a lot of broken hearts, disappointments, feelings of failure, pain, abuse.

Hmmm? Pastor? Leader?
is this a “Title” or "position" in the scriptures?

1 - In the Bible, How many people...
have the title pastor?

2 - In the Bible, How many people are...
referred to as pastor?

3 - In the Bible, How many people are...
ordained as a pastor?

4 - In the Bible, How many congregations are...
led by a pastor?

Phil, I do think the word “leader" is dangerous.
It creates "honor" whether we want "honor" or not.
Jesus said, "I receive not honor from men."
"If I honor myself, my honor is nothing."
"Leader" becomes a position of honor.
Warning, Warning, Warning...

"Titles" become idols and
"pastors" become masters.

Leaders = lord it over = abuse = always

And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.
If Not Now, When?