Monday, April 21, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 5 of 7

With adjusted priorities and fresh paradigms, it is essential that in the integration of personal spirituality with management technique, that the pastor monitors the pace of his life and scheduling of his time. He must slow down the pace of his life, the busyness of his schedule. Holiness is not found in busyness. Peterson explains, ‘how can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule consistently to make everything fit in place?’ Personal spirituality requires a slowing down of time, a concerted effort to relax and step into awareness of the great mystery. The reality is that fast paced contemplation is not a term one would often associate with spirituality. It is important that pastors have the ability to think quick on their feet but it is also essential that they slow down the pace of life in order to remain centered and connected to the Holy Spirit. One cannot be busy and pray at the same time. One cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted or dispersed. The reality is that pastors are as Hybels coined it, ‘too busy not to pray.’

Prayer is an essential discipline in personal spirituality; a discipline not outworked on the run but with patience and with quiet reflection. Jesus instructed us regarding prayer to, ‘go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.’ We are instructed to pray in an environment of privacy, stillness and quietness, an environment where unhurried leisure, a quality of spirit can be developed. Prayer has much to do with listening not just speaking. It is a discipline that lies at the very heart of the pastoral vocation. It is a discipline that demands the pastoral pace of life be intentionally slowed, a task not impossible as pastors take dominion over their diaries rather than allowing their diaries to take dominion over them.

Pastors must use their diary to create times for prayer, reflection, contemplation and stillness; they must create margins in their day. A pastor must use his diary, a book that nobody will argue with, to slot in times during the day and between meetings to connect with God and remain centered on the Holy Spirit throughout the day. As long as the pastor gets to his calendar before anyone else, time for prayer, reading, leisure, silence, solitude and creative work can be found, and the rest of life worked around spirituality that leads to a connectedness with God. A well used diary will allow for opportunity to connect with God throughout the day and refresh oneself in his presence.

To be continued…

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