8 Essential Spiritual Development Methods for Faith-Based Leaders (Pt. 2)

Spiritual Development

Successful faith-based leaders know the importance of continual spiritual development. In part 1 we discussed these 4 essential methods of spiritual development: Prayer, worshiping, Bible reading, and tithing (Click here to read the first part). After reading the below 4 you should spend time to determine which methods you should implement into your life so you will be effective and successful in all areas of your life.

5. Fasting

This is a spiritual development method which is usually implemented once or several times throughout the year. You can fast a variety of things. The most common is to go without food for a period of time, either altogether or a certain type of food. When you fast eating you abstain from a vital source of nutrition or life source to focus on and rely more on the ultimate source. It can also be to obtain from a certain activity or normal daily activity like media, a hobby, or recreational activity. I suggest using this method when making a major leadership or life decision or during a given time each year, like the start of the year.

6. Solitude

Reading the Gospels shows Jesus taking a significant amount of time for solitude. He made it a point to wake up early or get away from the crowd for alone time with God and himself. Making time for solitude is essential for your leadership. In leadership solitude allows you to get away from the busyness and noise of your surrounding so you can connect with and clearly hear the voice of God. It also provides the opportunity for you to take time to reflect and think. Thomas Browne wisely said, “Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.” No mater your personality type or leadership style you need to take time for solitude.

7. Rest (Sabbath and sabbatical)

Leaders should have a weekly Sabbath day of rest and an annual sabbatical. Rest allows you to rejuvenate from the weight of leadership and refocus on your core values, priorities, beliefs, goals, and life purpose. This method can clear your mind and position you for lasting success.

When it comes to a weekly time of rest you should include actives that allow you to feel rested, energized, and nourished. In “Four Practical ways to Foster Well-Being and Avoid Burnout” I suggested these activities which you could consider during a weekly Sabbath: Spend time with friends and family, watch TV or a movie, start a hobby, or join an organized sporting team. While a Sabbath should be done weekly you typically will only implement a sabbatical once or twice a year. This should be an extended period where you completely disconnect from your work and/or leadership responsibilities.

8. Spiritual development content

Every faith-based leader should constantly be consuming spiritual development content whether it’s a book or audio content. Reading and listening to audio content (sermon or faith based teaching) will strengthen your faith and walk with God. This is a method you can implement into your everyday life. You can easily create a habit of reading a Christian book during a moment of down time or audio content while driving. Personally I listen to spiritual development audio books for part of my commute to work. Here are the books I’ve listen to the previous couple months: Praying Circles Around your Children by Mark Batterson, Life is… by Judah Smith, Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards, and Simplify by Bill Hybels. Discipline yourself to find the time, a place, and which content you will consume on a regular basis.

Questions: Which spiritual development method do you implement the most into your life? How has it impacted your life and leadership?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Out of this list, I tend to gravitate toward solitude and spiritual development content. As an introvert, I know I have to recharge by spending time alone. I generally hear God’s voice and receive the most creative ideas in these moments. In addition, I often listen to podcasts by John Eldredge or some of my favorite pastors while exercising or driving. I’m probably not the best at simply resting on the Sabbath, but I try to spend the Sundays in worship at church and doing recreational activities that bring me energy – hiking, going to the beach, etc.

    • Podcasts are great way method! Thank you for sharing about your ways to connect and stay close to God.

  • Love it Dan. I implement solitude daily. It is super important to me both as an introvert and as a believer to get this time in solitude.

  • I thinks Spiritual development is one of my strongest. I try to make sure I am always learning. I also try to read a good cross section from different Christian faith traditions.

    • It’s one of mine as well :) Thank you for sharing.

  • This is an important list. I think fasting is a very powerful thing for us to do in bringing us closer to God but the church in many ways has forgotten this.

    • I agree, it was great this past weekend my pastor talked about fasting. It was a good reminder of the how and why of fasting. Thank you for adding to the topic.

  • Hey Dan, agreed on solitiude. The world is too busy and too noisy. We need time to think, reflect and pray! We have to disconnect with the world daily to reconnect with ourselves. Enjoyed these last couple of posts on spiritual development – applicable to all of us on our spiritual journeys.

    • “We have to disconnect with the world daily to reconnect with ourselves.” What a powerful statement! Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

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