10 things I’m learning about life and pastoral leadership.

1. I must arrange my life so that I am experiencing deep contentment, joy and confidence in my everyday life with God (Dallas Willard).

Why? Because the call to discipleship of Jesus means that I must arrange my life around a life-giving friendship with Jesus. Failure to do this will result in a chasing after the wind. Quite honestly, it will all be meaningless.

2. I am not my brain. 

Why? 

My thoughts are not a reflection of reality. This is because the mind, unaided, will always tend towards chaos, anxiety, and anger. I don’t want to spend my life outsourcing my consciousness to a screen.

3. When I can’t control the outcome, I can still pursue meaning.

Why? 

Because in an uncertain world I have to be open-handed with plans and outcomes, while being thoughtful about what really matters and what the true meaning of some things might be.

4. Results make for great feedback in life, but terrible fuel for life (John Ortberg).

Why?

The results will NEVER be gratifying enough. It doesn’t matter what the result is, it will never satisfy me deeply enough. Therefore, I must live by a different metric, and with a different motivation.

5. As a pastor, I must invest my primary vocational time and energies into people who are interested in the things of God.

Why? 

All I have is my one and only life. I want to invest my life well. I don’t want to spend time on cultural consumers of Christianity. I want to invest into people who are deeply interested (or seeking, or questioning) the things of God.

6. Adversity is not the spiritual enemy. Apathy is. 

Why? 

Historically, anytime the church experienced difficulty, there was a renewed spiritual vitality. Hardship is not the worst thing in the world. The valley can teach us much more than the mountain-top.

7. The main thing God gets out of my life is the person I become (Dallas Willard).

Why? 

In a culture of doing, I want to focus on who I’m becoming.

8. The Spirit of God is always at work in the church of God.

Why? 

Because He is the instigating, enabling and empowering force of the church. It is only the Spirit of God that changes the human heart. I have to keep learning to trust that. Lean on that. Lean into that. Ask and allow Him to do what only He can do. 

9. Pray first. ALWAYS!

Why? 

Because prayer changes things. It can change EVERYTHING, but especially me.

10. Community is not only the way of Jesus, but a significant pathway to wellness and wholeness.

Why? 

In an ocean of loneliness and a tsunami of mental health challenges, never before have we seen the importance of belonging to a life-giving community.

The twelve steps programmes centred around community and accountability work because none of us can overcome our obstacles alone. We think we can. And perhaps, externally, we appear to. But internally, we cant. And we don’t. I don’t have enough of that community, and I want to pursue it more.

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