LEADERSHIP LIFESTYLE LESSON 2: PERSONAL DEVOTIONAL LIFE AND WORSHIP

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1 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership Study Guide LEADERSHIP LIFESTYLE LESSON 2: PERSONAL DEVOTIONAL LIFE AND WORSHIP INTRODUCTION This lessn is part f a Discipleship Essentials mdule titled. The lessns examine the practical and spiritual requirements fr thse in Christian leadership. Being a leader is s much mre than standing up in frnt f a grup f peple asking them t fllw yu! T be a great leader, ne must maintain high standards in bth public and private life. While every ne f us struggles in many ways, a leader faces unique challenges. This mdule identifies sme f these struggles and hw t cmbat them, with practical advice frm men and wmen wh have experienced the trials and jys f fllwing Gd s calling in leadership. Each lessn cncludes with a Leader t Leader page. It features qutes frm histrical Christians, current Christian leaders, and peple (nt in leadership) wh share their perspective n the tpic. The Study Guide is intended fr an individual t lk deeper int a specific lessn n their wn. The lessns can be used in cnjunctin with ther Discipleship Essentials materials, such as the vide and audi prductins fund n Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide 2014 Trans Wrld Radi Canada. Scripture qutatins are frm The Hly Bible, English Standard Versin (ESV ), cpyright 2001 by Crssway, a publishing ministry f Gd News Publishers. Used by permissin. All rights reserved. Unless therwise specified, yu may reprduce any lessn, in whle, in any frmat, withut charge r further permissin. Fr all ther purpses r uses, cntact Trans Wrld Radi Canada by visiting

2 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide LEADERSHIP LIFESTYLE LESSON 2: PERSONAL DEVOTIONAL LIFE AND WORSHIP JUST SO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IT ABOUT? This lessn cntinues the discussin abut spiritual disciplines fr the leader, specifically a cnsistent persnal devtinal life. All Christian leaders face specific risks. One f these is that their public spiritual duties leave little r n rm fr private devtin t Gd. They can be invlved in many spiritual activities and be admired by their fllwers, but inside they may feel empty as they neglect their wn spiritual health. This lessn is meant t be a warning and encuragement t leaders and pastrs; they must persevere in maintaining persnal time with Gd. Cnsider being accuntable t smene fr this particular discipline. If yu have struggled in this area, be assured that there is hpe and recvery and the answer lies in turning t Gd and finding cmfrt in Him rather than adding mre t yur schedule! GETTING STARTED 1. Hw d yu knw smene truly lves Gd? What d yu see them ding r nt ding? Can yu tell frm the utside? Can this be faked? 2. As a leader, have yu ever felt like yu were dried up spiritually, lacking lve, energy, patience, and knwledge? Have yu lst yur cnnectin t Gd and feel unable t cntinue in His wrk? What causes this? What can prevent it? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 2

3 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide STUDY A VERY CHALLENGING CALLING: Whether yu are a pastr, small grup leader, yuth mentr, missinary, children s pastr, r part f a pastral team at a large church, there are great challenges and even risks invlved in leading thers! We Are Held t a High Standard: We are held t a high standard by Gd and thse wh fllw us! If we lead peple with an attitude f superirity r with false mtives, we will be fund ut. If we neglect t serve with lve, peple will knw. We are accuntable nt nly fr what we d, but hw we live, and we need Gd s help every day. What d the fllwing verses tell yu abut the standard we are held t? 1 Timthy 4:12 Titus 1:5-9 James 3:1 We Are Respnsible fr Others: Any psitin f Christian leadership assumes sme level f respnsibility fr thers (what we teach them, hw we care fr them, the example we set, etc.). What d the fllwing verses tell yu abut ur respnsibility fr thers? Prverbs 27:23 Hebrews 13:17 1 Peter 5:2 Frm yur experience, what unique struggles d pastrs and ther leaders face? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 3

4 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide We face Unique Struggles: Christian leaders face unique challenges. We may struggle with any f these prblems: Pride: We may be tempted t think mre highly f urselves than we shuld. Lss f Identity: We cnfuse wh we are (a Christian) with what we d (ur wrk), and can neglect the duties f lving Gd first and devting urselves t Him. Stress: When dealing with the prblems f thers, we ften have n time t deal with ur wn struggles r share them with smene. We can get weighed dwn with the stresses f ther peple. Attack: Christian leaders are especially susceptible t attacks frm Satan. The enemy wants t destry the gd wrk we are ding, and may attack us, tempt us, r frustrate ur families. Cnflict: If we make decisins, we will find smene wh disagrees with us. Our wrk will be met with criticism and cnflict, which can be taken persnally. Bundaries and Pririties: We enjy the wrk we d but it can be difficult t set persnal bundaries, like setting aside time fr urselves and ur family. This can lead t burnut, depressin, and ministry fatigue. OUR FIRST LOVE: Smetimes in the business f serving Gd, we lse sight f ur first pririty (which is t lve Gd with all ur heart and sul and mind and strength). After all, that is the greatest cmmandment Jesus gave us! What tw cmmands des Matthew 22:36-40 give us? Which cmmand is the FIRST cmmand, and why d yu think it is first? The cmmandment t lve thers as urselves is imprtant, but it is secndary. If we dn t lve Gd FIRST, then the struggles mentined abve will nly cmpund. We must nt put the needs f thers befre ur relatinship with Gd. Frsaking ur First Lve: We serve Gd because we lve Him. And even thugh we lve Him deeply, it is ften easier t respnd t the never ending needs f thers than t set aside time alne with Him. Cnsider what Gd said t the Ephesian church in Revelatins 2:1-7. Read that passage. What gd deeds are listed? What was the prblem with this church? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 4

5 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide Gd said t this church that what they were ding was admirable, but it was useless withut lve! Des it startle yu that they culd d all the right things, even with the right mtives, but still nt please Gd? Read 1 Crinthians 13:1-3. Cnsider, if we dn t lve thers, what des this passage say abut us? What value t Gd are we if we dn t lve? Can a persn lk like an excellent leader n the utside but nt have genuine lve fr Gd and thers n the inside? ABIDING IN GOD: We have a high calling as leaders, and if we stumble in ur faithfulness t Gd we culd negatively affect thse wh fllw us. Letting anything r anyne cme between us and Gd (even if it is a day filled with serving thers with ur gd wrks), can lead us away frm Gd wh is ur surce f life. Remain in Me: Gd cmmands us t remain in Him, r t abide in Him (Jhn 15:4). We are given the picture f a vine that is attached t the stalk r rt. Alne, it cannt bear fruit and it has n life. We must remain in an intimate relatinship with Jesus ur Saviur at all times thrugh daily persnal devtins and wrship. Even thugh acts f lve r service, preaching sermns, teaching lessns, r managing a ministry are all imprtant, they will nt cultivate a clse relatinship with Gd. Cnsider what He tells us abut abiding in Him. Read Jhn 15:1-11 and answer the questins belw. Hw many times des Jesus say the wrd abide? What des this tell us abut Gd s desire fr us t abide? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 5

6 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide What des abiding mean? What is the fruit that is prduced thrugh abiding? What is the cnsequence f nt abiding? PERSONAL DEVOTIONAL LIFE: As a leader, yu might spend half yur day reading r teaching frm Gd s Wrd, praying with thers, planning ministry events, r serving peple all withut really abiding with Christ. When leaders make a pririty f spending time alne with Gd, they are lking t Him t fill their sul. They are saying that He is the surce f their life. They are giving Gd (rather than wrk fr Gd) first place in their life. Persnal Devtins: Setting aside a time t meet with Gd is smetimes called persnal devtins. Many leaders chse t d this first thing in the mrning befre being distracted by ther tasks. Usually this time includes sme f the fllwing activities: Prayer: Prayers f cnfessin, thanksgiving, supplicatin, intercessin, r cnversatin. Gd s Wrd: Reading a prtin f the Wrd and thinking abut it. Smetimes setting a gal, such as reading 4 r 10 chapters a day, r reading the whle Bible within a year. Meditatin: It is filling the mind with the very Wrds f Gd and cnsidering their applicatin t life. Jurnaling: It is writing dwn what is being learned frm and abut Gd, and what He is saying t yu in His Wrd. Reading: Smetimes peple will read the writings f ther Christians (fr example, devtinal bks) t get a better understanding f the Wrd. Reading Gd s Wrd shuld always take pririty ver reading what ther peple say abut it, regardless f hw well they write! Feeding Our Sul: If yu are respnsible fr teaching and feeding Gd s Wrd t thers, yu must be certain t lk after yur wn spiritual needs first. Are yu able t receive teaching f Gd s Wrd frm ther surces? Radi, cnferences, internet, bks, mentring, etc. are all means f ensuring that yu are receiving spiritual fd and being challenged in the way that yu live. Wrshiping Gd: On a Sunday, if yu are the ne verseeing a wrship service, it might be difficult fr yu t wrship freely. Yur cncerns are fr thers. Are yu able Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 6

7 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide t find anther place and time t wrship Gd with thers? Yu might be able t visit anther gathering f believers ccasinally, and participate in wrship rather than having t lead it. Daily Life f Wrship: We must maintain an attitude f wrship every day and thrughut the day. Prayer is vital t maintaining ur clse relatinship with Gd. Every task shuld be accmplished with a spirit f wrship. Hw have regular persnal devtins been beneficial in yur life as a leader up until nw? What wuld yu like t change, add r d differently? SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES IN THE LIFE OF A LEADER: Many f the spiritual disciplines discussed in the previus lessn are designed t help us abide with Gd, nt t fill ur day with hly rituals. Cnsider the particular benefit t spiritual leaders that the fllwing disciplines prvide: Sabbath and Rest: While Sunday might be a wrk day fr yu if yu are a leader in the Church, try t rest n a different day. Chse t d n wrk that day, but take quality time with Gd, wrk n persnal relatinships, be creative, and d things that refresh yu. Retreat: Taking sme time away frm yur regular respnsibilities may be very gd fr yur relatinship with Gd, as well as yur wrk as a leader! Meeting with ther leaders at a Pastrs retreat r leadership cnference can prvide stimulatin, spiritual fd and a well needed break. Silence: If yu have truble finding time t pray and meet with Gd thrughut the day, build shrt perids f silence int yur wrk schedule (even fr 5 minutes at a time). Set aside utward prductivity and abide with Gd. Hw d the spiritual disciplines discussed help us t fllw Gd s cmmands t lve Him first, and t abide in Him? Why des Gd give us these cmmands? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 7

8 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide CONCLUSIONS: It is a particular risk when Christian leaders fill their days with the wrk f Gd and neglect t be with Gd. We must be aware f the challenges. Simply ding spiritual wrk des nt necessarily please Gd if we neglect Him, ur first lve. Our ministries will suffer and lack the pwer f the Spirit. Press n t abide mre and mre with Jesus this week, and be the leader that Gd has called yu t be! SUMMARY The high calling f leader r pastr invlves great challenges and even risks! Leaders are held t a high standard, and face unique struggles. We serve Gd because we lve Him, and we are cmmanded t lve Him first fr ur wn gd! Nthing but Gd will satisfy us cmpletely. Jesus tell us t abide in Him, t stay with him and rder ur life with Him as the rt and the surce f everything. Setting aside time f persnal devtins and wrship is refreshing, and essential t exercising true spiritual leadership. Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 8

9 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. Have yu knw Christian leaders wh were fervent in their zeal fr Gd, wh later seemed t fall away frm the faith? What happened? 2. What fruit d yu desire t prduce in yur ministry life? Are yu relying n Gd t prduce this fruit thrugh yu, r are yu trying t prduce it in yur wn strength? 3. What unique struggles d leaders face in yur area? Wh are sme leaders yu can pray fr and encurage in their ministry? Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 9

10 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership: Study Guide LEADER TO LEADER QUOTATIONS FROM LEADERS PAST AND PRESENT ON THE TOPIC OF PERSONAL DEVOTIONS Pastrs, we are Christians first and ministry leaders nly secndarily. One f the biggest struggles f being a pastr is that yu spend a lt mre time giving ut than taking in. [Radi] and nline sermns can supplement, but it is a wnderful thing t sit in church and wrship Jesus and hear His Wrd as yur peple d weekly. Schedule regular intervals t be a church member, and yu will be a better leader the rest f the time. Yu can t teach what yu dn t knw, and yu can t lead where yu dn t g. - James MacDnald, Pastr I smetimes suggest t peple that when develping a spiritual habit, they may have t first bribe their bdy t participate willingly. I have a cmfy chair waiting fr me in the mrning with my Bible and my jurnal waiting beside it. I get ut f bed at 4:44, in rder t arrive at my meeting place with Gd by 5:00am. At the tp f my jurnal I write the date, then I read frm my Bible. Usually, I read ne page f the Old Testament, ne page frm the New Testament, and ne Psalm. I may write dwn wrds r phrases that seem particularly relevant r cnvicting that day, and what Gd is saying t me in His wrd. I smetimes read a shrt devtinal frm a writer like Charles Spurgen, and write dwn any qutes I want t remember. Then I leave my huse and g fr a walk as I pray abut the readings. I als pray fr myself, the day ahead, anything that is burdening and me, and fr thse I have cmmitted t regularly pray fr. I arrange my mental prayer list like this Mndays I pray fr members f my family, Tuesday I pray fr my Church and my fellw pastrs, Wednesdays I pray fr the elders f the Church, Thursday I pray fr members f the Bible study grup I am a part f. Friday I pray fr civil leaders. I spend time in prayer and studying the Wrd thrughut the day, but this time in the mrning is where I hear Gd speak just t me -Mike, Pastr My daily time f devtins is in the evening after wrk has ended and my children are in bed. I spend time in prayer and reading Scripture, but find I ften vary the methd f prayer r hw I engage with Scripture. Smetimes it is devtinal reading, memrizatin r study. I find that changing the methd f engagement with Scripture keeps things fresh and fits my persnality. In Ministry I must cnstantly decide when and where t invest my time, but my time with Gd is the mst valuable. It helps me in my decisin making, t be hnest with myself, and prvides nging mtivatin I need t serve Gd. - Matt Christian Ministry Wrker The man wh is wise, therefre, will see his life as mre like a reservir than a canal. The canal simultaneusly purs ut what it receives; the reservir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the verflw withut lss t itself... Tday there are many in the Church wh act like canals, the reservirs are far t rare... Yu t must learn t await this fullness befre puring ut yur gifts, d nt try t be mre generus than Gd. - Bernard f Clarivaux, AD Persnal Devtinal Life and Wrship Page 10

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