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4 spiritual disciplines leaders often neglect

| by Charles Stone

The terms spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation refer to what we do to build healthy souls. We all want that. They serve as a means to an end, to become more like Jesus, not as ends in themselves. 

The most common ones include Bible reading, fasting and prayer. While I believe that most pastors/leaders somewhat regularly practice the main ones, I have a hunch that we may often unintentionally miss these four. As you read each one, ask yourself when you last practiced it.

1. Not having to have the last word

Keith Meyer, pastor and author, tells a story about a student in one of Dallas Willard’s classes. At the end of one class, a student rudely challenged him with a question. With Dallas’s keen mind he could have crushed him with an answer. Yet, he gently responded with, “Well, that’s a great question and a good time to end class.” 

After the class, several angry and supportive students came up to him asked why he didn’t answer. He said, “I was practicing the discipline of not having to have the last word.”

2. Solitude for the extrovert and community for the introvert

Introverts usually practice solitude easily yet may find it difficult to intentionally break their alone time to be with others. The opposite holds true for the extrovert. Silence and solitude can feel excruciating for an extrovert. 

Often we need to do the opposite of what comes easy for the greatest impact on our souls.

3. Submission for a Type-A, high-D personality

Both those descriptions reflect my personality. I like to be in charge and lead the way. It’s hard for me to take a back seat. Yet when I do so with a right heart, it counters the temptation to become prideful.

4. Confession

No one likes to be wrong. Yet, when we do wrong, when we sin, Scripture tells us to confess it. It is easier to confess it to God in private. It’s hard to confess it to others against whom we’ve sinned. Yet when we appropriately confess our sin to others, God gives us a deep sense of cleansing and peace in our souls.

Photo source: istock 


Charles Stone

Dr. Charles Stone is Lead Pastor at West Park Church (London, Ontario) and founder of StoneWell Ministries. He has authored four books including, People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership (IVP 2014), and Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry (Abingdon, May 2015). He is passionate about intersecting insight about the brain with Biblical insight. He posts regularly at www.charlesstone.com.



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