Pastors often tell us that they feel called to their work. This calling is central to their identity, and it has a profound influence on every aspect of their lives, yielding both joys and intense pressure. Because of this, we have intentionally cast our program within a framework of Wesleyan theology and spirituality. We believe that unless Spirited Life – or any other effort aimed at developing health and wellness among pastors – is grounded in theology, it will feel incomplete.
We hope that the Spirited Life wellness program kindles in you a sense of spiritual renewal.
Tools and Opportunities
At the Workshops
Theology is infused into all three of the Spirited Life workshops through intentional worship experiences and discussion. At the introductory workshop (winter of year one), we explore a Wesleyan theology of health and well-being. During the second workshop (fall of year one), we introduce Spiritual practices such as centering prayer, mindfulness, and lectio divina and discuss the mystery of the Incarnation as it relates to caring for ourselves. At the final workshop (fall of year two), we prepare for the transition out of Spirited Life with discussions of how the pastoral vocation evolves over a lifetime in ministry.
With Wellness Advocates
During the workshops and in subsequent one-on-one conversations, your wellness advocate will help you develop an awareness of the current state of your vocation and the strengths that you bring to your ministry. They also will serve as a conversation partner, ready to listen or offer support on a variety of topics of your choosing, including your calling and vocational fit. And if you desire, they can refer you to an appropriate spiritual director.
Through Other Resources
Through our ongoing research, we have identified a variety of practical tools and ideas that may serve as inspiration for sermon/worship planning and spiritual growth. We share these at the workshops; on a regular basis through our blog, The Connection; and in ongoing conversation throughout Spirited Life.
We also have developed a video-based program called Pastor & Parish that is designed to help members of your Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committees better understand their service on the committee as being a ministry in support of the pastor and the church.
Focus on Incarnation
Incarnation is God's Word that humanity is good, and that the bodies given to us by the Creator are honorable and worthy of care. Too often understandings of Incarnation begin and end at the manger, neglecting the fullness of the great story of God's becoming flesh to dwell among us.
Incarnation, understood from a Wesleyan perspective, is first about grace, a gift from God. As always with grace, the gift is for service, not for personal privilege. Pastors have been graced in baptism, in their calls to ministry, and in the particular skills they bring to worship, preaching, and teaching among God's people. If pastors are not healthy in body, soul, and mind, they may struggle to share the grace they have received with those to whom they have been sent.
Spirited Life will provide means for pastors to be transformed like the water jars at the wedding in Cana—vessels filled with the Good News of the Gospel.