How are you being formed spiritually as a leader? This formation does not take place in a vacuum; it occurs within a certain environment and context. There are, at least, four primary ones today:
- Active leadership. The emphasis is on learning skills, cutting edge ideas, and creative means to preach Christ and be a more effective leader. Most conferences and para-church ministries in North America focus here.
- Intellectual leadership. The emphasis is on theological formation, Scripture, orthodoxy. Evangelical seminaries and a few denominations and conferences focus here.
- “Revival” leadership. The emphasis is on growing a heart with passion for Jesus. Awesome worship gatherings, power encounter conferences, and growing hearts on fire for Jesus are prized. Much of my charismatic, prophetic formation occurred here.
- Contemplative leadership. The emphasis here is on developing a contemplative, prayerful life that is rooted in Scripture and results in loving union with God in Christ. Out of this we are all called to offer the fruit of our “remaining in Jesus” to the world (John 15:1-5).
(I suspect Anglicans, Orthodox and Roman Catholics would add “Liturgical leadership” to our list as a primary means of spiritual formation.) We need all four but without creating contexts to develop contemplative leaders in our active churches, we don’t have much to give the world – long-term. Thomas Keating says it well: “It is not so much what we do but who we are that enables Christ to live in the world. When the presence of Christ emerges from our inmost being, whether we walk down the street or drink a cup of soup, God’s life is pouring in to the world.”