August is a time for the Four R’s – Rest, Relaxation, Rejuvenation and Reflection. With that in mind, I decided to take a vacation this month, so I have not written a blog. Instead, I read something very interesting that came from my Sunday newspaper the “Tennessean,” in which, Rev. Dr. Clay Stauffer, a guest columnist and senior minister of Woodmont Christian Church, suggests that there are questions that we should ask ourselves when determining the potential for spiritual leadership. These include:
How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong?
Do you think independently or just go along with the group?
How well do you handle criticim?
Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunities?
Do you collaborate and work well with others?
Are you a peacemaker?
Do people trust you with difficult matters?
Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense?
Are you tactful?
Can you forgive others?
Are you optimistic or cynical?
Do you live with passion?
Rev. Dr. Clay Stauffer says: Not all leaders fully understand spiritual leadership. Spiritual leadership requires ongoing, discipline, reflection, and growth. Spiritual leadership carves out time for self care and spiritual formation. After all, we cannot share with others what we do and not have in ourselves.
Spiritual leadership is grounded in exhibiting the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. It is never mastered…
When it’s all said and done, spiritual leaders exist to serve the needs of others and are not preoccupied with self. Spiritual leaders operate from a deep sense of humility and, as C.S. Lewis famously said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
Looking to the needs of others becomes a way of life. Mark Twain once said, “our goal in life is not to be superior to our fellow man, but only superior to our former self.”
In this age of increased materialism, competition, judgment, polarization and self-aggrandizement, spiritual leadership is more necessary than ever.
Thank you Rev. Dr. Clay Stauffer for your insiteful take on Spiritual Leadership and for letting me have some well-deserved vacation time!
~ Fran Cosentino, AFSI Bursar/Registrar