Recently I had one of my EM2 (Education for Ministers phase 2) training days, at the Moderator’s house in Manchester. This is a chance for ‘new’ and ‘nearly new’ ministers to touch bases, have lunch together, and generally iron out any teething troubles we may have. But, it’s not all chat and coffee – we do actually talk about serious theological stuff as well!
Our study session for this particular visit was entitled, ‘Refreshing our Spiritual Stream’, and we were asked to consider how we ourselves are ‘ministered to’ from day to day, and in the midst of what can often be a rather hectic lifestyle.
It is often the case that the clergy will ‘put off’ or ‘do when I’ve just finished this little job’, that which should give us the grace and strength to follow our calling in the first place – namely, prayer and reflection. How else are we able to keep our toes in the water of spirituality?
But it’s not only ministers who are in danger of becoming spiritually dehydrated! Do you set aside, each day, a time just to be alone with God? Whether you do or you don’t, it might be worthwhile trying what Richard called, ‘A Spiritual Audit’ (taken from an Article by Fred Smith), by asking yourself the following questions…
- Am I content with who I am becoming?
- Am I becoming less religious and more spiritual?
- Does my family recognise the authenticity of my spirituality?
- Do I have a ‘flow-through’ philosophy? (i.e. Am I like the Dead Sea, which is dead because the Jordan flows into it but nothing flows out of it – or am I like the Sea of Galilee, which is living because the Jordan flows in and out of it)
- Do I have a quiet centre to my life?
- Have I defined my unique ministry?
- Is my prayer life improving?
- Have I maintained a genuine awe of God (a sense of reverence)?
- Is my humility genuine?
- Is my spiritual feeding the right diet for me?
- Is obedience built into my reflexes?
- Do I have joy?
Contemplating our spirituality, as a Christian, is essentially looking at how we obtain a deeper life of prayer and communion with God – and that is, I believe, something we all must do from time to time. As a minister, how else can I hope to pastorally care for those I minister to, unless I have first taken care of my own rootedness in God?
Taking care of our physical needs is almost second nature to us – shouldn’t our spiritual needs become even more so? May you always keep your toes in the water!
Yours in Christ,
Doesn’t time fly !! The publication of this July – August edition of the Newsletter marks the beginning of Rev’d Helens’s third year as minister of the joint Christ Church, Longridge and Fulwood URC pastorate.
We pray God’s continued blessing on her ministry.