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‘Love yourself well’ is goal for spiritual strength webinar

Registration is open for four conversations featuring church leaders 

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Brian McLaren

LOUISVILLE — The first in a series of four webinars designed to help pastors and church leaders develop strength and resilience to perform ministry kicks off Wednesday, October 20.

The Rev. Dr. Brian McLaren, an author, activist and pastor will lead the first conversation, titled “The Way of Spiritual Fortitude.” To register, visit pcusa.info/spiritualfortitude.

McLaren, who has helped develop several new churches and been mentoring and networking with church planters and pastors for more than 30 years, has empathy for church leaders and their trials and tribulations but believes in the ways of spiritual fortitude.

“Anybody who’s done this, been a pastor or planted a church, knows there are a thousand things that can grind you down and sap you of your energy. When you’re first getting started, even empty seats can do that,” said McLaren. “The practices of spiritual fortitude have to do with ‘what are the things we can do so that we’re prepared for the problems that come, so that we’re able to withstand those problems and when we get knocked down, we don’t get knocked out.’”

The Way of Spiritual Fortitude webinars, presented by 1001 New Worshipping Communities, will help spiritual leaders develop their inner strength to perform the tasks of ministry. They run at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on successive Wednesdays beginning October 20 through November 10.

“In this work, a lot of people are not doing a good job of self-care and don’t know how to build the spaces of emotional and spiritual strength within themselves,” said the Rev. Jeff Eddings, spiritual formation & coaching associate with 1001 New Worshiping Communities. “It takes a lot of work to create those spaces and to build spiritual fortitude. I hope this series builds a sense of strength but also excitement and joy. Jesus invites us to the abundant life and building spiritual fortitude into us should compel us into ministry and provide joy and excitement as we engage in it.”

Because of the inevitable disappointments and setbacks that ultimately drain church leaders, McLaren is hopeful that all four of the upcoming conversations will help participants feel empowered to believe they have more control over their situation than they think. In his specific segment, he will encourage each to ask themselves a simple question: Would I put the kind of pressure on another person that I’m putting on myself?

“One of the things that happens to pastors is that if they have 100 parishioners, they feel like they have 100 bosses, but having three is too many,” said McLaren. “We all know we’re supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves, but sometimes we don’t love ourselves that well. I want people to come away from this experience with a sense that you’re not only an employee but also the first manager of yourself as an employer. What kind of boss do you want to be for yourself?”

In addition to McLaren’s spiritual fortitude overview, the other three conversation leaders will offer their perspective for obtaining spiritual health and strength by delving into topics that include contemplative spirituality, decolonizing your practice, and faith and doubt.  For more information on the series, including how to register, visit the webinar web page.


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