A Life of Growth as a Whole Person

May 01, 2019

While attending Oxford, John Wesley began to think deeply about religion and spent hours in the Bodlien library, mulling things over and discovering new strands of Christian thought. A group of like-minded individuals began to meet together on a regular basis, forming what became known as a 'Holy Club'. It grew rapidly so that soon it included a member from almost every college in Oxford. The club met together to read, study scripture and undergo rigorous self-examination of their Christian lives. This was, as we know, the beginning of what we now know as the United Methodist Church.

With its roots tied deeply to the University of Oxford, it is appropriate that John Wesley considered that Methodist Ministers should continue their education in all aspects of their life in order to fulfill the calling and responsibility of sharing the Gospel.

I have always found it interesting that some of the most successful and gifted people in the world were never satisfied with their accomplishments, but would constantly strive to improve, whether it was practicing or seeking the guidance of others with more experience or expertise in a particular area of ministry. Concert pianist Van Cliburn, one of the most prominent and well-known pianists in the world for over six decades, toured the globe, playing for heads of state and every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, was asked why he practiced for 5 to 6 hours every day. He responded, “If I miss one day of practice I can tell I’ve missed. If I miss three days of practice my critics can tell. If I miss 5 days of practice, my fans can tell. I never want to disappoint anyone who listens to my music.”

In Paragraph 350 of The 2016 Book of Discipline, we find these words, “Throughout their careers clergy shall engage in continuing education for ministry, professional development, and spiritual formation and growth in order to lead the church in fulfilling the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ. This shall include carefully developed personal programs of study augmented periodically by involvement in organized educational and spiritual growth……These practices embody the Wesleyan emphasis on lifelong growth in faith, fostered by personal spiritual practices and participation in covenant communities.”

If we are to be effective clergy we can never think we have arrived but seek those opportunities for growth and development in all areas of our lives.

And it isn’t just the intellectual and spiritual growth; we must also grow in physically caring for ourselves as well. Many studies have already demonstrated the importance of clergy to maintain their health in order to be more adequate in their pastorate. Those will not be repeated here but we must always be
mindful of those aspects of our lives as well.

The Leadership Development Team seeks to help you in all aspects of ministry and constantly seeks to offer opportunities for personal growth and development.

Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.