Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 10

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)

In this lesson, you explore handling inordinate sadness and grief in ministry. You learn to acknowledge suffering, support others compassionately, and avoid superficial positivity. The lesson covers dealing with difficult relationships, discerning when to stand firm or step away, and addressing unresolved anger constructively. Emphasizing humility, forgiveness, and spiritual strength, it provides practical advice for navigating these challenges with integrity.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 10
Watching Now
The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2)

I. Questions and Answers About Tristitia

A. When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing?

B. How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you?

C. What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • This lesson covers the involvement of Christians in societal issues, using historical examples and emphasizing the balance of Christ's work for and in believers, while critiquing modern church practices and advocating for active ministry participation by all members.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of balancing Christian service with receptivity to God's word, using the story of Martha and Mary to illustrate the need for prioritizing spiritual union with Christ over mere activity, emphasizing the consequences of a divided heart and the necessity of both justification and sanctification.
  • Learn to identify red flags in your ministry, distinguish between serving God and personal ambition, and address anxiety, self-pity, and control issues by trusting God and adopting humility.
  • Understand the theological concept that your essence is divinely created and precedes your existence, contrasting this with Sartre's existentialism, and learn the importance of receiving God's guidance over defining your life by accomplishments.
  • Learn to critically evaluate your motives, distinguish between self-serving and God-serving actions, understand the role of community in avoiding self-deception, recognize the significance of Christ's atonement, handle red flags, and balance people's expectations with God's calling.
  • The lesson teaches you to balance spiritual renewal and active ministry by self-reflecting on weekly activities, ensuring you receive God's grace and effectively respond to His directives, thus preventing burnout and sustaining a healthy ministry.
  • Learn to live like a reservoir, receiving spiritual replenishment before giving, through prioritizing key practices like prayer and scripture, and avoiding depletion by maintaining a constant spiritual reservoir and making essential practices an integral part of daily life.
  • This lesson teaches you to live by integrating core Christian principles daily, maintaining foundational practices like loving God, building relationships, serving vocally, and caring for your body, while emphasizing the importance of following Jesus closely and avoiding the pitfalls of church leadership.
  • Learn about the eight deadly sins, their historical and spiritual context, and the importance of overcoming them through spiritual disciplines, while illustrating the consequences of these sins through biblical examples, especially emphasizing the dangers of anger and depreciation of God's goodness.
  • Learn about dealing with inordinate sadness and grief in ministry, understanding the importance of acknowledging suffering, supporting others compassionately, handling difficult relationships with integrity, and addressing unresolved anger constructively.
  • You learn the importance of gratitude, the dangers of sadness and acedia, the need for internal well-being through a relationship with God, and the power of infused hope in overcoming ministry challenges.
  • Gain insights into the dangers of vainglory and pride, the importance of humility, prayer, and community support, and the significance of recognizing God's sovereignty in overcoming self-centeredness and narcissism.
  • Integrating sermon teachings into your heart is crucial, all sins are deadly, and you should submit worries to God, rejoice, and take every thought captive for Christ, using early church wisdom to overcome temptations like gluttony for spiritual growth.
  • This lesson teaches you how to identify and combat the eight deadly sins using virtues like temperance, chaste love, poverty of spirit, meekness, appreciation, infused faith, hope, love, and humility, relying on divine grace to transform these vices into a deeper spiritual life.
  • Understand that crises, whether personal or ministry-related, are opportunities for spiritual growth by seeking God's refuge, understanding forced detachment crises, maintaining healthy life rhythms, and recognizing divine purification amidst challenges.
  • This lesson teaches how crises reveal the light of Christ, illustrating the transformative power of faith through biblical examples and personal experiences, emphasizing reliance on God's resources and presence, and portraying ministry as a pressure cooker demanding quick maturity and resilience.
  • Explore Christian anthropology, understanding God's image in us, and the dimensions of human life, roles, and spiritual longings, emphasizing the balance between physical, functional, and spiritual aspects guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson continues the study of Christian anthropology through Adrian Von Comm's field theory, emphasizing Christ at the center of interconnected aspects of human existence—interior, relational, here and now, and global life—encouraging balance, cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and harmonious Christian living.
  • Learn that as a leader, worship is central to your role, involving a holistic response to God's love and guidance, emphasizing discipleship, biblical understanding, and aligning with God's purpose through praise and adoration, preventing apathy and enriching your leadership journey.
  • Understand that true worship according to the New Testament is about honoring and serving God alone, avoiding idolatry, and leading a life of genuine service and love toward Him, while recognizing and addressing the major obstacles to authentic worship within contemporary church practices.
  • Understand the importance of genuine worship leadership, personal worship alignment, the significance of historical church traditions, the dangers of overloaded worship services, and the mission to uphold true worship against global falsehoods.
  • Learn about the core aspects of worship in Revelation 4, emphasizing humility, submission, and the connection between future and present worship, encouraging heartfelt adoration and genuine worship practices in church leadership.
  • Learn how a leader's spiritual life impacts their ministry, the necessity of comprehensive discipleship, the integration of gospel content into daily life, and the importance of articulating and practicing core theological doctrines.
  • Explore the dynamic nature of spiritual life and leadership, emphasizing shifts from traditional to transformative ministry, clergy-centered to congregation-empowered roles, and solo to team leadership, advocating mature discipleship and active laity engagement.
  • Learn the importance of integrating sermons into discipleship, focusing on high commitment, contextualization, personal mentoring, and a family-like atmosphere, while emphasizing biblical and theological grounding for a solid foundation.
  • Biblical and theological grounding, genuine discipleship, and the formation of life-giving dispositions are crucial for spiritual growth and active participation in God's mission, leading to personal joy, communal fulfillment, and a global impact.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of a Leader
The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Okay. Welcome back. We're not we're not done with trusted studio with this inordinate sadness yet, but I want to stop and let people ask about this so we can get a little bit more clarification. One of the questions I had was when you were talking about, you know, the smoke and Yeah, and not seeing all the good and focus on the little. Yeah, yeah. And we're supposed to put that off and put on other stuff. The practical quote is lots of times when you're right in the middle of it, you can't just say, just stop it. Yeah, I know. And so the question is, I mean, is there do we allow ourselves a time frame for grieving. Yeah, well, at a practical level, you start. Yeah. Putting off and putting on. Yeah. Awesome question. You know, I think first of all, we do not deny the fact that we get broadsided, we get hit. We cannot deny that. In fact, we'll do a whole lecture on crises and how that impacts us and in how we, we, we move through that. You can also not deny that that when you know, the body's severely injured in some way or the soul is severely injured or your spirits really hurt, that that takes the whole horizon. You know, I've been at a point of physical injury where that how can you do anything else? So we don't want to deny reality. We don't we don't want to deny the fact that that when you're in a time of suffering, you don't want to be Pollyannish quick example about that. I had two really, really bright students, man and wife, and they were toward the end of their education in seminary, and they were working in a large congregation at the time and one of their parents died.


[00:02:16] They went to the funeral that week and only a few days later they came back to be in ministry. That day on Sunday in church, large church, influential church, their boss pastor came up to them and said, Now I'm going to count on you to put on the joy of the Lord. This morning they looked at me and they said, What do you see? And I looked at them with great love, and I said, I think you need to turn in your letter of resignation right now because you're working in a false system. When our brother is crying, when our brother or sister is hurting, it is our job not to tell them to shut up. That all that says is we can't handle you know, we can't handle it. So I don't want to be inhuman. And the question really helps validate this. What what, what what I'm attacking here and what the early church was attacking was when it turns into a way of living, You know, we're all I see is what's wrong. And so we'll do some ways out, you know, through the crises. Even today we're going to do some ways out. But part of the way is you go through the waters of suffering. You go through the valley of the shadow, and sometimes that takes several years. I mean, sometimes it may take. A lot of years. A lot. A lot. A lot of years. So. All right. Other questions on sadness we've got on. First of all, I think this is, to me, been deeply helpful. You had mentioned that sometimes in ministry there's people who maybe just don't like you and you can't figure it out. Something happened and you're not going to figure it out until you get glory.


[00:04:23] Jesus is going to have to figure that out. Yeah. You try to forgive each other, you move on. Yeah. It may be hard to believe, but there are some people who don't like me. Yeah, and. And some of them are still involved in in in ministry. Closely with me. Yeah. And I'm trying to figure out how to deal with that. Is there a time to disassociate? Do you just bear through it? I don't know if that's a fair question. It's a very, very fair question. It's a very, very difficult question. And so you just pray for me as I ask the Lord for help. There are times. In ministry. Where I have to dismiss people. I was never in a pastoral setting where I didn't have to dismiss people and oh my gosh, talk about one of those times. Literally put me in the hospital. Literally put me in the hospital. But. You simply cannot allow a dissident voice to bring the whole bus to a grinding stop. And there were times when I would bring people in and they were spitting nails at me now. Now. So I was talking about staff when I'm a lead pastor, when I'm the lead pastor. There were the times when congregants, people from the congregation would come in spitting nails. And I say, look, you know, I've got I've got a calling on my life and the leaders of this church or stand behind where we're going in this calling. And and you've got a different calling on your life. Maybe, maybe this is the time for you to seek another fold to unfold your calling. And sometimes people would even be honest with me, say, you know, we we respect your calling, but it's not our calling and we're going to leave.


[00:06:44] And at that point, you just blast people and let them go. You don't try and forcefully hold anybody. Now, you got to also raise the issue. What do you do when you've got a staff member and you're not the boss and you're spitting nails at the boss? I mean, that's a very real issue. Going to be a very real issue for people listening to to this video teaching time. What I will tell my students and then those who come come back is, you know, you're going to have to make decisions. Is there basic moral integrity in your boss? Is your boss under spiritual authority? Is your boss you know, is is your boss crossing lines? This should not be cross. If that's the case, then you need to get out. If it's not the case, then the general word of the church historically has been hold your ground. Would Paul say stand, you know, stand this. Let the Lord do his work. One of the counter reformers in the Roman Catholic Church is, Look, man, you've come to the monastery for everyone to be a part of your molding and Christ. And he said, you need to stand. You need to stay still and let the work go. So you see, there's not a lot of easy answers here, and you might need to come back. Go ahead with clarification. What if the person that's so angry with you is is a congregant and you're in leadership? Oh, I've had that. Oh, people. Oh, my gosh. And. Multiple times. I don't think I ever served a church. I was in no pastoral setting where someone didn't come unraveled with what I was doing. And there are even times in a teaching ministry where I'll have a student come completely unraveled with what I'm doing.


[00:09:09] All right, here's the deal. I've got to ask God for Grace in saying, first of all, is there any measure of truth in what this individual is saying, even if they're you know, it's like, you know, I grew up in an agricultural setting. And so, you know, if you ever heard the term mad as a wet hen, you know, chickens would come after you. And I actually have quite a number of stitches on top. I had here as a child, a rooster perched on my head and spurred me. And I still to this day, remember blood coming down I couldn't even see. And they all puff up their feathers. You know, they'll. So even when someone's all puffed up and they're exaggerating, I mean, what they're basically saying, you're the worst thing that's ever happened. You're destroying their life. And normally they'll say, and you are destroying this church. Oh, my gosh. How many times have I been told that you are destroying this church? Is there a grain of truth? Do I need to ask for forgiveness from them in some way? When that is, when that's followed through. And I've been truly humble before God. And if I do need to ask for forgiveness, I need to ask for forgiveness. But then they continue on. Then I've done all I can do. And there have been times when other parishioners actually would have to intervene for me and say, Leave him alone. Leave the pastor alone. You let others. You're going to have to let your elder board or others take care of it. These are real issues in a divided culture and in a divided society of the great, well, the greatest tools of Satan today. There's the book on this. And it will it will come to me.


[00:11:19] It's actually a charismatic book written by a charismatic author. It's talking about the greatest tool of Satan. Today is where someone just gets outraged. You know, they're there. They've been wounded in some way, and they ought to vent in every way that they can vent. Well, how do you stand against that and how do you do so without without being hurt and doing the same thing? So the minute you're hooked and then the minute you start throwing the grenades and the bombs back at them, well, Satan's got a perfect playhouse there. Then, you know, everybody loses their whole pastor. You stand, you stand. And part of what I had to learn is that I will stand even when my integrity is being trashed. Why? Jesus has got my back. I don't have to prove anything. I know I'm a sinner. I know I've made mistakes. But I know I've been God's man. And I know I can stand in that. And. And he's going to sort that out in the end. He's going to take care of all of that. But I can stand to say, the point is, sometimes I feel that to say to you, maybe you were called to worship elsewhere. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I have said to people, you know, maybe God is calling you to be in leadership in another place. But I'm going to do it the way Jesus would do it. You know, I'm going to be firm. I'm going to call a spade a spade. Just as he will. Just as he did. But I won't put Peter Sword back in its scabbard. You know, I'm not going to take that out. I'm going to. I'm going to stand.