Ironically one of the major areas that is often neglected in the pursuit of our calling to ministry, whether that of ordained clergy or CLPs, is our own spiritual nurture. The most sincere and spiritually led pastor can slip into meeting demands of others and neglecting the very spirit that led that person to respond to a call. It is not enough to read the Scripture in preparation for a sermon, although God can often speak to us in that process. We cannot assume that time spent in prayer for others and in public worship is adequate for our prayer life. Because, as a CLP, you came to this position with limited theological and spiritual training, it is easy to restrict your church reading to “How to” books and neglect the nurture of your own spirit. Let me offer you a series of questions for reflection on your own spiritual health.
1. Are you sensing a strong connection with God?
2. Do you have an active discipline of personal prayer?
3. Does Scripture still feed you?
4. Do you have a spiritual counselor?
5. Do you have a colleague with whom you can share spiritual concerns?
6. Have you taken a personal spiritual retreat lately?
7. Would a personal spiritual journal be of help to you?
8. Look back over your life for those moments when you felt God guiding you. How does such a review affect you?
9. Do you have a discipline for engaging doubts in a manner that might make them redemptive?
10. Consider reading a book that focuses on spirituality at least once a year.
11. At least every couple of years, write a personal statement of faith, Keep them and review them to see your own journey.
12. Take a hike with the express intention of noticing how different things you notice can speak to you spiritually.
13. Recall one of the moments in life when you felt spiritually healthy and notice what was helping you at that time.
14. How frequently do you have the opportunity to be a participant in worship?
This is only a beginning but being intentional about setting aside time to listen to the Spirit is vital as you pursue your ministry.