If leaders are honest, they will say “My soul is the most neglected part of me.”
Dr. Steve Macchia is the founder and President of Leadership Transformations and has more than three decades of ministry experience working with pastors and churches. An author, former pastor and leader of a regional church network, Steve is passionate about the spiritual well being of church leaders. The following comments on soul care for leaders are from an earlier CCN Pastor’s Resource Call conversation.
“When I ask leaders about the state of their soul, the one thing I hear most is busyness. They can’t find space for God and can’t get the busyness to stop. The second thing I see and hear is the desire to be in control of our environment and even our relationship with God. We read the scriptures, check it off the list, pray and walk out the door. A third factor is that we exegete the wrong verbs…to do, to want and to have. We totally neglect the ‘to be’ verb because we want to teach well, preach well and minister well. Those verbs are pre-occupying our lives all the time. We are called to be soul care providers. If you are called to take care of the souls of others and you can’t take care of your own, what are you offering to others?”
“The stress and demands on pastors are growing and expanding. There are economic pressures, relational pressures, conflict and concerns about marriage, family and the people you are serving. You have stress on a program basis. Globally we have wars and depravity everywhere. As a result of technology, we are on computers and cell phones all the time. When you consider the 24/7 nature of our lives, how do I pray, how do I get in a quiet place with God?”
“The parable of the sower putting seed into the soil is about receptivity and this image has become my favorite parable of the soul. God is scattering his seed into the soil of our souls. There are times when we are hardened and rocky. There is quick growth but it is not sustained because there is no rootage. The thorny soil brings riches and pleasures. We find ourselves running from place to place, book to book, conference to conference, big idea to big idea. The goal is the good soil – to be in a place where we can be receptive of the seeds thrown into us and what emerges will be thrown everywhere. I want to be good soil to receive the word, the voice, the love, mercy and forgiveness of God.”
“The spiritual life of the leader begins with receptivity. I burned out on spiritual disciplines the reading and doing, praying through scripture, memorizing scripture, praying around the globe and I hit the wall. I could not do all that. This is how we get the wrong idea of soul care – by simply adding more. The number one discipline is finding space to be alone and quiet before God.”
“At LTI, we teach people to learn how to do nothing well. We create spacious places for people to practice that. That’s why I like what Cornerstone Network is doing – trying to help leaders get rooted and go deep.”
For more information about the work and resources of Leadership Transformations, click here.