7 Core Commitments of a Spiritual Leader
Let’s take care of our own hearts before we try to fix the hearts of others
Several years ago, as I pondered the “watch your life” implications of 1 Timothy 4:16, I decided to write down seven phrases, two words each, that would capture the core commitments I needed to make in my own life on a daily basis. I later added to each phrase a diagnostic question to help keep my feet to the fire. Each person can develop his or her own core commitments and self-test questions, but here are mine:
- Know God: If ministry activities were taken away from me, would I still have a growing, intimate relationship with Jesus?
- Pursue Integrity: Are there areas of ongoing secrecy in my life that I’m intentionally hiding from those closest to me?
- Be Yourself: Am I living under the self-imposed pressure of always having to prove something to somebody?
- Own Responsibility: Do I acknowledge my mistakes, or do I project blame and use the pulpit to vent unresolved anger?
- Embrace Change: Is my attitude faith-filled and future-focused, or am I overly nostalgic of the past and fearful of taking risks in the future?
- Love Learning: Am I coasting intellectually, or am I applying myself to the disciplines of personal study and reflection?
- Live Joyfully: Do I love what I’m doing, or have I taken the pressures of ministry onto myself?
No matter what they are, the core personal commitments we make define the things that will shape who we become and how we lead. Let’s take care of our own hearts before we try to fix the hearts of others. Who we are will take us further than what we do.
See James T. Bradford's article, Leading People to the Spirit's Life, for more on living a life of mentorship. Adapted with permission from James T. Bradford, Lead So Others Can Follow: 12 Practices and Principles for Ministry (Springfield, MO: Salubris Resources, 2015).
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