Monthly Archives: March 2011

Denominational Staff (4)

Denominational staff members who work for the larger church need to deliberately identify ways that they take care of their own spiritual life. That will usually include identifying a worshiping community to which they will belong. As frequently happens to pastors, so staff members can get so caught up in “running the church” that they can allow their spirits to be shaped by their successes and failures in their immediate ministry. They need to be part of a community of faith that reminds them that they are a part of something larger than their immediate tasks.

Because of the emotional price paid by their work, occasionally a staff person may need to participate in a worshiping community that is part of another tradition. When I first retired, I recognized that a detrimental factor in my being part of another worshiping community in my denomination was that after 23 years in the community, I knew too much about those communities. Sometimes for a Presbyterian to worship in an Episcopal or Quaker service might be enough different to awaken new aspects of feed their spiritual hunger.

A staff member would also do well to intentionally develop a spiritual discipline that they engage in during the week. For some people that may involve one or more prayer partners but in some cases it is better to engage in a personal discipline. A key factor to overworked staff is that it be scheduled to regularly interrupt their work-week tasks. In my ministry, I found it personally valuable to schedule my own silent meal at least once a week. I would go by myself to a fast food restaurant, order a simple meal, find a place in a corner, and enter in to a prayer time for 30 to 40 minutes. I found it a very centering experience.

Each person needs to find the practice that works for them, but it does need to be part of their weekly calendar or it will easily get lost in the rush of events.