Friday, April 25, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 6 of 7

Finally there must be a determined commitment as a pastor to integrating personal spirituality and management technique, a commitment outworked through a life style of personal discipline and a commitment to learn, understanding that ‘the moment you stop learning you stop leading.’ In any endeavour ‘an individual’s character is the principle determinant of personal effectiveness.’ Sadly though, in pastoral ministry character is often missing. Leaders can often be found impersonating a pastor without being a pastor, impersonating through the simple act of ceremonial attention to public prayer and exegesis. Pastors must be prepared to confront themselves, asking questions like how could I have done this better? Personal spirituality and management technique must be integrated by pastors disciplined enough to take up a life style of spiritual discipline. Pastors must be committed to creating new definitions of normality in lives. Daily prayer must be pursued until it becomes second nature, a habitual way of living life. While at first it creates feelings of unease and unrest, quiet contemplation, pauses for reflection, extra hours of biblical study and the like must be practiced until to not do so would be foreign. Unless there is a commitment to renewed personal spirituality, the pressures of pastoral work, old habits and common practice will drive pastors back to humanistic leadership, rather than a rest and purpose that can only be found in Christ. Pastors must seek the aid of the Holy Spirit as they integrate personal spirituality with management technique. As well as talking with the Holy Spirit though, open dialogue must also take place between a pastor and his elders, board and staff regarding the practice of a pastor.

As a pastor seeks to merge spirituality and management together in the context of Christian leadership it is essential that he has the support of his fellow staff, key team members, board and elders. A pastor’s support network needs to understand the heart of biblically based pastoral ministry, and see along with the pastor the need for personal spirituality to be coupled with effective management technique. Understanding must be established that in the best interests of the church, and in a pursuit of authentic pastoral ministry, not all working hours should be taken up with strategic meetings, planning processes and work that has a tangible outcome or result. As important as these are, the pastor must firstly be employed to pray, seek God, study scripture and thus offer sound, contemplative and revelatory spiritual guidance to his congregation, a major source being a pastors ‘intellectual energy and curiosity,’ A pastor with a team around him committed to his personal development and journey as a leader will have confidence in taking time out of his day to remain centred and connected with the Holy Spirit. Random walks around the church grounds, moments of quiet reflection in the church sanctuary, a late start at the office by a pastor who leads with integrity will be a source of encouragement to his team. Staff and team confidence will grow as the connectedness of the leader to the heart beat of God for the church becomes evident. Staff and team players will flourish in their respective rolls in the team finding significance in the ‘meaningfulness of the experience.’ In turn a pastor will be able to release his staff to take moments aside throughout the day to wash themselves in the reality of Christ and his mercy and grace, thus extending the integration of personal spirituality and management technique beyond the confines of one man.

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