Spiritual formation occurs at the nexus of orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy. It is a lifelong pursuit of having our thoughts, behaviors and feelings come under the authority of God’s Word. In spiritual formation, the cohort will examine the relationship of corporate, family, and private worship, while focusing on all facets where growth is needed, as well as the relationship between intentional, directed spiritual growth and that which comes through everyday life, including suffering.
Throughout the program, the cohort will pay attention to the necessity of reflection, prayer, sabbath, and repentance, as well as personal and corporate worship.
Self-care (or soul-care) is “[t]he wisdom to ensure, as far as humanly possible, a wise and orderly work that conserves and lengthens a pastor’s ministry.”1 This ongoing development of the whole person includes the emotional, spiritual, relational, physical, and intellectual areas of life.
Pastoral soul care is the critical step in knowing one’s given personality, how his life story shapes him today, and where the gospel needs to be applied. This component will integrate lessons learned in spiritual formation to his daily life, and how he spends his time, thereby seeking a more holistic way of viewing life and ministry.
Critical to ministry is one’s ability to recognize and understand emotions in oneself and others. Personal and social competencies affect what one sees and does, and is played out in how one manages oneself. The struggle for many is to see how that combination of IQ and EQ affect their own responses to others.
To become more self-aware, cohorts will promote listening to understand, with a view toward heart issues through several exercises, and will become familiar with Relational Wisdom 3602 as a means of applying the gospel to life.
As the Gospel speaks to and challenges every culture, it is vital for the pastor to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.3 Cultural intelligence is needed to exegete the community in which one serves. It is vital to understand what expectations and interests one brings to the table as well as what other spoken or assumed constructs are part of a community.
In addition to making use of the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory)4 to learn where growth is needed, the cohort will examine issues surrounding racial reconciliation, generational distinctives, and how work and faith are expressed in one’s own community.
When a young pastor walks into a church, there are expectations of his leadership skills that often are beyond his experience. Learning skills in how to run a session meeting, time management, finances, etc. may appear mundane, but when not attended to, the work of the church can be hampered.
In addition to learning skills in self-motivation, familiarity with spreadsheets, budgeting processes, etc., cohorts will be exposed to the variety of ways in which churches are run. Through engaging with Ruling Elders and ministry leaders, the cohort will gain insights into church management.
The call to serve the Body of Christ is first a call to serve one’s own family. Unfortunately, the pastor’s family often suffers neglect, as the pastor’s call may leave the spouse floundering. It is vital to understand the stressors in marriage, both those common to all marriages as well as those specific to ministry.
The members of the cohort will discuss the joys and sorrows of ministry, define lines of demarcation for ministry families, and determine how best to engage the church in a healthy manner. Cohorts will be introduced to Parakaleo5 as an important tool for ongoing health of their spouses.