I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with Ruth Haley Barton, author of Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. (See my August 08 blog for a review of her book.) She came to Texas to speak to a group of executive pastors for which I’m the facilitator.
We were challenged and blessed by Ruth’s time with us. She helped us look deep into our own souls to become more aware of the places where we had drawn away from God. I especially appreciated her observation that “when church leaders lose their souls, the church we lead may lose its soul too.” In my own journey and in the glimpses I have into the lives of many other church leaders, I see the pace of ministry and the pursuit of “success” taking a significant toll on leaders and churches. We may justify it as “just for a season” or “doing our best for the Lord,” but are we kidding ourselves? I’m pretty sure we’re not kidding God.
So what are we to do about this? This is an interesting time of the year for pastors. We give thanks for our blessings, gear up for all the extra activities of advent, try to catch our breaths with a few days off after Christmas, and then make bold plans for the new year. Perhaps the boldest thing we can do is say “no” to some activities so that we can say “yes” to the quietness in which God can begin to restore our souls.