Practical Help for Church Leaders in Emotional and Spiritual Growth with Bill & Kristi Gaultiere
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Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. This week I’m excited to talk with Bill and Kristi Gaultiere from the organization Soul Shepherding. Bill and Kristi felt called to study psychology for the purpose of ministry, and serve as spiritual directors and pastors to pastors. Soul Shepherding offers resources and training for pastors and leaders and the people they influence in order to thrive with Jesus.
Over the last year the sacrifices of ministry have gone way up while the rewards have gone way down, and that’s a tough combination for pastors. It’s led to many pastors feeling tired and soul-weary, or burned out as they’ve had to postpone retreats, sabbaticals or even vacations. Listen in as Bill and Kristi share how to nurture your inflow as a church leader to make sure it matches all that you’re outflowing for sustainable ministry.
- Inflows and outflows. // With everything that’s happened over the last year, there seems to be an epidemic of tired and burned out leaders. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to want to pour ourselves out as a drink offering to God. Being called into ministry is exciting and great work and it’s worth giving our all and sacrificing for, but we have to do it in a way that’s sustainable. We can lose touch with our own needs because we focus so much on helping everyone else. Nourish that inner flow of the Spirit in you. This is where Bill and Kristi step in to help as they foster soul care and intimacy with Jesus for leaders through conversations and spiritual direction.
- Spiritual direction. // Spiritual direction is simply a context of meeting with someone who is really trained to listen closely to the Lord. The Holy Spirit is really the spiritual director, but Bill and Kristi listen with the pastors they serve to what God is saying and doing in pastors’ lives. Ultimately it can be something that helps people work through a healthier rhythm of life with spiritual disciplines to what is sustainable and life giving for them.
- The CHRIST model. // Jesus defines the journey of our lives so Bill and Kristi use the CHRIST model to identify six stages of faith. This model is about (1) Confidence in Christ, (2) Help in Discipleship, (3) Responsibilities in Ministry, (4) Inner Journey, (5) Spirit-Led Ministry, and (6) Transforming Union. Our churches are really good at helping people with the first three stages on this list as people come to Christ, and get involved at church. Because of the need for efficiency, consumerism, and so on, what’s harder in western church is the second half of these stages.
- Facing the wall in front of us. // It’s around stage 4, the Inner Journey, where people hit a wall in their lives. At the wall, the trial we experience becomes a place of stuck-ness, where our discipleship is stalling and we’re spiritually dry, or we have faith questions that aren’t being answered. In each stage, different spiritual disciplines and soul care practices are likely to be helpful. As Bill and Kristi work through these stages with people, they are able to personalize the discipleship process based on the stage someone is in and what they need.
- Receive God’s grace. // We develop a gap between what we know intellectually and have learned in our work versus how we are living and habits we have. Pastors can believe and teach about God’s grace, but not be living it out in terms of letting God care for them. We need to accept that we can’t just minister to others; sometimes we need to let others minister to us too. We can’t grow alone – our spiritual growth is intrinsically connected to other believers and we need the body of Christ no matter if we are a pastor or someone in the congregation.
- Help for your leaders. // Bill and Kristi wanted others to benefit from all God gave to them and so they wrote a book, “Journey of the Soul: A Practical Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Growth”. Bill and Kristi love to spend time with pastors and staff walking them through the “Journey of the Soul” and teaching them about the stages of the CHRIST model. Staff applies what they learn to their own lives first, and then come together to strengthen the community and the mission by teaching the model to small group leaders through resources provided at journeyofthesoul.org.
You can find out more about Bill and Kristi’s book, bulk orders, and other resources and training materials at journeyofthesoul.org, and you can learn more about Soul Shepherding at www.soulshepherding.org.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway
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