Today I’ve got an excerpt of an interview I did with Kenda Reimer on the Disciple Making podcast. Kenda is a spiritual director in Squamish, British Columbia and the excerpt I’m playing here is one that is tied to spiritual direction and Christian leadership. I think you’ll find it interesting and might get you digging into this topic a little bit further.
If you want to know more about Kenda you can find her at explorewatersedge.ca and also soulformation.org will tell you more about spiritual direction. So we’re going to jump into the middle of the conversation with Kenda Riemer on spiritual direction.
The part that I find spiritual direction probably the most beneficial for, though, are people that have walked with God for a long time and there is nothing new, but now they’re bored. Church doesn’t cut it anymore. They have heard every sermon on every passage they could think of, or they have preached every sermon on every passage they could think of. So like there’s this thing of God, “Really? I am this age. I think I’ve got a lot of life left, but I feel like there’s nothing new spiritually and where do I find you?”
So everything just seems to go into routine and what spiritual direction helps is particularly for those people, because they already have a hunger and a longing, but they want to grow more and they just can’t find it in their local church anymore because there’s only so much a church can offer. They can’t do everything, and so this is one piece where meeting with a spiritual director and taking time for themselves to intentionally look at what God is doing in them in that moment causes growth. Then they get excited and then suddenly their faith takes on life again. They’re not just riding out their however many years or just putting in time. I guess God’s here.
Well you’re already bumping into where I wanted to go there and that was a question about how this relates to Christian leadership. It might be some of those people you talk about who are maybe either bored with their faith or they’ve heard it all and seen it all may well be pastors or Christian leaders of some kind, so talk a little bit about maybe just expanding what you said there on how spiritual direction could help Christian leaders. I want to ask be more effective, but maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe I need to go broader and say, how could spiritual direction help Christian leaders if you want to respond to that?
Yeah, so one of the things that I think we notice in particularly the evangelical tradition is how as spiritual leaders we care about people’s souls. We care about their emotional, spiritual, physical well being, and so we do a lot of caring and making sure that other people are healthy. The problem is that there isn’t a lot for us. There isn’t a lot pouring into us and so we have to intentionally look elsewhere for those things.
So what ends up happening is we find that a lot of pastors being more like doctors who smoke. The idea of, “I know this is really good and everybody needs to be doing this, but it’s not working for me.” So where spiritual direction helps with pastors and where I have found it helpful it that place where I am caring for my soul and I am making sure that I am staying healthy.
I’m making sure that as I work with my spiritual director, a spiritual director is also looking for not just discernment, but also where’s the enemy trying to trip you up right now. So any lies that you’re listening to. It doesn’t have to be super deep. It can be just like, “Oh man, it was a rough day and what was the lie of the enemy today that you grabbed onto?”
It’s protection for our hearts and souls, but it’s also giving us a reservoir to work from, rather than we’ve got this reservoir of that we minister out of and overtime, it just depletes and depletes until we’ve got nothing left. I think the enemy would much prefer us working for five, 10 years and giving it all and then be completely burnt out and never talk to anybody else ever again, rather than instilling some healthy rhythms in our lives that keep us in a sense effective, growing and maturing for a lifetime.
So that’s kind of where spiritual direction helps in that, and it’s not saying your’re a pastor forever necessarily, but it’s that ministry has a way of jadiing us and pulling us out of community. So many pastors and families are so lonely. They have no one to talk to and then you start going through a difficult time and you question your faith. Well you’re not calling your DS and saying, “By the way, I’m thinking of checking my faith, but I can’t lose my job,” so where is that safe place where they can process and find God in the midst and grow out of it and experience, rather than figure this out because you ‘ve got to preach on Sunday.
That’s the challenge, right? Sunday’s always coming. There’s always a demand. There’s always a call for output. The one job that the pastor can’t delegate really is, regardless of their pastoral role, is self-care. It’s our responsibility and it sounds like spiritual direction fits partly under the umbrella of self care and personal spiritual growth. It sounds like it has implications for longevity and even moral failure, things that trip people up, and burnout. So that, that sounds like a fairly significant interface in Christian leadership.
I hope you found that as interesting as I did. And if you want to hear the full meal interview, you can find it at the Disciple Making podcast, which you can find on my website darenwride.com or disciplemaking.buzzsprout.com. You’ll find the full episode there.
All the best and wisdom to you as you seek to lead others, to follow Jesus, to be a disciple who makes disciples.