Nurturing Spiritual Life To Be A Healthy and Effective Spiritual Leader

September 6, 2018

by Rev. Jeanette Hayes, Pastor of First (Jonesville) - Wesley's Chapel (Elkin) - Piney Grove (Ronda) Cooperative Parish

In order to reap the benefits that nurture healthy and effective spiritual leadership, I believe you have to exercise the spiritual core muscles by reading and meditating on scripture. It’s not always easy because other things tend to war with you and demand your time. It does take constant, on-going effort. Nurturing can work both ways. You can encourage others to move forward as they grow into their spiritual leadership maturity and they can encourage you.

Prayer has certainly been for me the foundation and driving force in my desire to grow closer to God. I find the 80/20 rule works just as well in my prayer life as it does in my communicating with others. The 80/20 rule means I should spend eighty percent listening and twenty percent speaking. Communication is key to having any good relationship. I believe God speaks/relates to us in ways we are able to receive and understand. Prayer should be two-way communication between God and us. I pray for wisdom and discernment, not just for myself, but for my family, our ministry teams, our church, our community, our country and our world in which God has placed us. To be an effective and healthy servant leader I must also be an effective servant which means I must also strive to be a good team player to pray in conjunction with our leaders and members of the ministries in our church and our teaming in our community.

In the ongoing process of nurturing and being nurtured, I have to also face the fact that I do have limitations. It is OK to ask for help!!!!!! I do have a choice. I can either ignore my limitations until they become huge stumbling blocks; or I can acknowledge them and turn them into stepping stones. Nurturing can enhance the gifts and graces we already have and also help us discover those we may not have noticed before. A healthy spiritual servant leader can encourage and applaud the gifts of team members without feeling threatened. Being a part of a team means we pool our individual gifts for the greater good of the team, the church, the community in service to God.

A key element in nurturing healthy and effective spiritual leadership is praise, which can also be called celebration. When we set a major goal we want to reach, it takes more than one giant step to reach. It takes mini steps or goal markers of achievement along the way. Our Praise Team sings a song, “Praise is what we do when we want to get close to You (God).” Healthy, vital, spiritual leadership should thrive on celebrating the spiritual markers showing us what we have gone through, but also the gifts and graces of everyday living! We do not need to wait for the big events before we celebrate or say, “Amen!”

The nurturing we get to enhance our healthy and effective spiritual leadership is on-going. It can happen anywhere along our life’s journey and can come from the most unexpected places like writing this article for instance. At the time of this writing I have been appointed to a cooperative parish where there are two African American United Methodist congregations and a White United Methodist congregation worshipping together as one congregation. Technically, my understanding of a cooperative parish is two or more congregations worshipping under the same roof but not necessarily together. Once we realized Jonesville First, Piney Grove, and Wesley Chapel Cooperative Parish would all be worshipping at Jonesville First, it was proposed and accepted that we unite together as one congregation with me as the pastor, and we join together in one service each Sunday.

Having the opportunity to write this article at this particular time in my ministry is a God-moment for me. I think God is reminding me that I, as pastor /servant leader, our congregation as lay servants/laity, and our community have the tools we need to work together as God’s Kingdom here on earth. As our founder John Wesley said, “Do good. Do no harm. Attend to God’s ordinances.” In other words, “Let’s go and do!!!”

Lord, We pray for any and all who may read this article. Help us to realize that achieving healthy and effective spiritual leadership is part of the ongoing goal of growing closer in relationship with you which, in turn, helps us grow closer to one another in your love. In your name Jesus’ we pray. Amen.

Leadership Development