Beyond the Ordinary: Spirituality for Church Leaders

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001 - Religion - 168 pages
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Over the Past few decades mainline Protestant congregations have not easily embraced the notion of spirituality. As much as any aspect of church life, spirituality has been misunderstood, misused, and resisted by both clergy and laity. Yet times are changing. Today many people feel a deep spiritual hunger and are out looking for fulfillment in a wide variety of settings. In this new context, mainline congregations need to awaken to the presence of the Spirit in their midst and equip leaders to nurture both the personal and corporate spirituality of their congregations. Beyond the Ordinary is explicitly written to help church leaders who have had no formal training in spiritual formation. Drawing from years of experience teaching Christian spirituality, Ben Campbell Johnson and Andrew Dreitcer explore the spiritual dimensions of leadership, looking in depth at the meaning of spirituality as it relates to the tasks of ministry. This friendly, inspiring book will enable readers to erase the negative stereotypes of spirituality and develop vital models and practices for the church today. The book introduces a faithful understanding and practice of the spiritual life to those who have not yet dipped into the well that is Christian spirituality. For those who have already tasted this water and still thirst, it offers a way to dip even more deeply. Chapters discuss the issues surrounding a meaningful spirituality for our changing times, the importance of holding prayer and mission in tension, and the crucial role of Scripture in the formation of our lives. The authors also underscore the importance of vision, myth, and discernment in the spiritual life of the church. And they discuss the power of spiritual practices like discernment and visioning for enhancing the spirituality of congregations and helping them become agents of social transformation. Intended for personal and group use by pastors, elders, other church leaders, and those preparing for service in the church, the book includes questions for reflection and discussion as well as journaling exercises to encourage learning and growth.
 

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Contents

IN SEARCH OF A VITAL SPIRITUALITY
1
Chapter Two THE SPIRITUALITY OF MINISTRY
18
A SPIRITUALITY GROUNDED IN THE WORD
32
MYTH IN CONGREGATIONAL SPIRITUALITY
49
THE SPIRITUALITY OF VISION
63
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL COMPANIONSHIP
81
THE PRACTICE OF DISCERNMENT
99
REFRESHMENT FOR THE SOUL
118
RESTING IN GOD
134
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP ON THE CUTTING EDGE
150
BIBLIOGRAPHY
167
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About the author (2001)

Ben Campbell Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Christian Spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is the author of a number of books, including "Discerning God's Will" and "Speaking of God", both published by WJK.

Dreitcer is Associate Professor of Spirituality and Director of Spiritual Formation at Claremont School of Theology in California.

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