Two weeks ago, I reviewed with our New Life Fellowship pastoral staff team our “Rule of Life.” First drawn up in 2007, it has been the abiding document to order our life together for over five years. I read through the document paragraph by paragraph, giving history, context, and theology around important sections. Our new staff asked many very good questions. I walked away convinced, more than ever, of how important, and powerful, this tool is for each church leadership team.
How can we lead others to transformation in Christ if we are not experiencing transformation ourselves?
I share this document with you with the hope and prayer you will consider thinking through some of these issues for yourself and your leadership team.
I invite you to read the entire Pastoral Staff Rule of Life on our website. I am including here a few paragraphs that are particularly significant.
NLF Pastoral Staff Rule of Life: Excerpts
Yet we recognize that leadership brings out the best and worst in us. In many ways, the crucible of pastoral ministry “introduces us to ourselves.” We affirm, as Parker Palmer has written that “a leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there…A good leader is intensely aware of the interplay of inner shadow and light, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.” (Let Your Life Speak, pp. 78-9)…
We are essentially called to seek Him above all else (Ps. 27:4), that is, to be contemplatives, out of which we carry out our active ministry. At the same time, we recognize God has called us to a level of intensity to bring Jesus Christ to our city and world through serving in different roles as a pastoral staff at New Life Fellowship Church.
1. Scripture – Our lives are built on the Word of God. It is our food and primary means of revelation from Him. We spend time each day in Scripture, seeking God’s face, dwelling in His presence and praying out of His Word.
2. Silence and Solitude –We spend at least one full day a month in silence with God. (Note: We eventually moved to choosing the third Wednesday of each month for this. Each person goes to a place outside their home, whether it is a beach, a local retreat center, or a park, to be alone with God for the day. The one requirement is not to do the work of church on that day, but to be with God.)
3. Daily Office – We pause to be with God two to three times a day to remember Him, spending time in communion with Him, preferably with Scripture, silence, meditation and prayer.
4. Study – We are consistently growing and taking steps to keep learning.
5. Sabbath – Each week, we set aside a 24 hour period to keep Sabbath to the Lord, structuring our time around the following four characteristics of biblical Sabbaths – Stop, Rest, Delight and Contemplate.
6. Simplicity – We model percentage giving (using the tithe as a minimal guideline) in giving to God’s work here at NLF.
7. Play and Recreation – We have a life outside of New Life Fellowship for balance and health.
8. Service and Mission – Another critical issue for healthy service is having clear and realistic expectations. Together with our supervisors and the elder board, we regularly update our job descriptions and goals in order to meet these challenges.
9. Care for the Physical Body – We seek to regularly care for our physical temples through healthy eating habits, consistent exercise, and sufficient amounts of sleep, respecting our God-given limits.
10. Emotional Health – We embrace emotionally healthy skills and behaviors that put feet on our theology to love well (1 Cor. 13).
11. Family – We believe in the equal value of God’s call to both singleness and marriage. We affirm with Scripture the gift of singleness for leadership (1 Cor.7:25-40). We desire high-quality marriages, out of which we are able to minister to others.
12. Community – We encourage all staff members to be in relationships with mature people outside NLF; these relationships might be with a spiritual director, a mentor, a counselor or a mature friend, depending on each person’s unique needs and season in God.
How else have you seen leadership teams model integrity and transformation for their churches?