Next week, I will be in Maryland at the first of two 8-day residencies that are part of the 18-month program, “Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership,” developed by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. I am able to be part of this program because of the money and time I receive from Good Shepherd for continuing education and a supplemental grant of $1000 from the North Carolina Synod office. Thank you for the time and money to learn in this way!
Why “Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership”?
One of the faculty recently began a conference call with this prayer: “Gracious God, may we be present to you as you are always present in us, and together, may we be present to all.” The practices of prayer and leadership I’ll be learning all have as their goal being more fully present to God and to other people.
The program is about prayer and leadership. It exists to help pastors of across denominations become a community of learners who explore the practices of Christian contemplative prayer. We seek to bring an openness to the- Spirit-in-the-moment into all aspects of our lives, including the way we lead in a congregational ministry.
How It Works
About fifteen clergy go through the program together. We read a common bibliography, and we are at a retreat center twice during the program for an 8-day residency each time. The first residency, July 11-18 this year, introduces us to each other and to different Christian ways of praying. The second residency focuses on exploring a way of leadership that grows out of a prayer-centered life.
In between the residencies, we
- Read, journal, pray and prepare short papers individually.
- Meet via Skype with our small group (three or four) of fellow program participants.
- Meet with a small group of fellow congregation members who gather as intercessors, listeners, and informal co-discerners of the Spirit’s life in the congregation.
How You Can Help
Please pray for me and the other participants in the “Going Deeper” class, that we may be attuned to what God is doing among us and through us.
Over the next year and a half, ask me how it’s going, what I’m reading, how I’m praying—anything you’re interested in knowing. Your questions, thoughts, and counsel will help me make connections between my own spiritual life and the way I am a leader, and our conversation will help all of us to be more receptive to God’s leading in our congregation.
Every day, I am grateful for our community in Christ and for the work I am called to do. The Good Shepherd staff have become beloved colleagues, and together we have fun at work and accomplish important things at the same time. Those who volunteer bring heart and wisdom—and often a welcome sense of humor!—to the work we do together. And for me, Sunday’s worship with all of you is the central opportunity of my week for offering prayer and receiving sustenance. Thank you, and thank God for your partnership in the gospel.