Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 24

From To Movement for Clergy and Laity

This lesson explores dynamic spiritual life and leadership, emphasizing shifts from traditional to transformative ministry. It highlights the need for clergy to equip congregations, balancing preaching with personal discipleship, and moving from solo to team leadership. The church transitions from Christendom to a post-modern era, requiring active laity engagement. Influential thinkers like Lauren Mead and Dallas Willard advocate for mature discipleship and redefining success in ministry.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 24
Watching Now
From To Movement for Clergy and Laity

From – To Movement for Clergy and Laity

I. Clergy

A. From pastor as primary minister to every believer as full-time minister

B. From just preaching to also discipling

C. From priority of how many to quality of mature disciples

D. From solo leadership to team leadership

E. Discipleship should not be optional

F. Dallas Willard on the role of clergy

II. Laity

A. From going to church to being Church

B. From no effort to intent on being a disciple

C. From passive observer to full-time minister

III. Questions and Answers

A. In a large church, what is the role of a preaching pastor in discipleship?

B. Teaching and applying what you are learning are both important

C. Ministering to people you work with

D. Body of Christ functioning

  • 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
From To Movement for Clergy and Laity
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Welcome back. I want us now to look at these movements. The spiritual life is is not static. I mean, it's a movement. We're moving from whatever we're called out of, and we are moving in to the kingdom of God. And we are moving to that point where Christ will return and the new heaven and the new Earth will be established will be given new, glorious physical bodies. I mean, this is this is something to move toward. So let's look at the movement that I believe is going to be essential as we're working out spiritual leadership and as we are truly in our spiritual lives. This were truly listening, listening, listening to what the what the Lord is saying to the church today. All right, movement, let's let's deal first with clergy. And by clergy, I mean any upfront person, whether ordained or not, whoever is the head pastor, whatever you call those persons. So I think one of the first movements that's going to need to transpire is that it's a ministry world view that says that the pastor is the primary minister. In other words, pastor equals minister. And where we've got to go then is to equip our congregations to not just acknowledge, but to actually step into the fact that every Christian is called to be a full time what? A full time minister of the gospel. Nothing less. I mean, nothing less is adequate for a biblical understanding of the spiritual life. Then we've got to move pastors, clergy from an an up front understanding that preaching and teaching is the summit of their ministry. I tell you, sometimes I get so frustrated with some of my students at seminary, not all of them. And I think we ought to just change the name of this thing, move it from seminary to sermon ery because their own world view says that the height of their ministry is going to be standing up in front of people and teaching them, and that's their primary responsibility.


[00:03:15] Well, listen, we want people to be well equipped to preach and teach the gospel. We want them to be able to lead the sheep. We want phenomenal, outstanding messages for our Lord. But when you start looking at. Up front as primary. Then you're really only getting half of the truth of the gospel and you're only getting half of the truth of of Jesus example to us. We'll talk about it later. But remember, yeah, he taught it for any Sermon on the Mount. I mean, you got thousands of people. Thousands. He had a front ministry. But where did he invest the majority of his life? Not in upfront ministry, but the behind the scenes discipline of the few, the very, very few. And so what we want to see happening. Is we want our leaders in your own spiritual understanding of yourself to invest appropriate time. Of course, that's needed for up front. So you do an appropriate. Prep that's essential to do appropriate prep. We want that. And that takes hours. I mean, to do to to to speak well for our Lord. Cannot lapse into what I call Saturday night microwave specials. You know, God's people deserve better than a Saturday night microwave special. But we've also got to understand our lives as clergy. Now, this is this is the whole pastor realm and what the pastors got to do. We've also got to understand that, hey, there's two sides to this. And so I've got to also make priority time a priority for discipleship, for discipling people. That's just as much a part of my responsibilities. The up front then as the leader, the up front leader. To move my primary focus away from how many? Always been driven by how many show up for the service or how many are doing specific things or how many decisions are being made.


[00:06:14] All of those are important. We don't need to backtrack here. I'm not saying they're not, but my primary focus becomes staying. With a process. And underscore process that results in mature disciples. How do you spell success really is what this is talking about. What is what is biblical fidelity? What what what does it mean for God's church? And once again, the major the primary dashboard figure of how we spell success is going to rest over in that mature disciple side. Now here's a huge one for us, and particularly in our spiritual lives. The minute that we go solo is the very minute that we're going to negate the possibility of others seeing themselves as full time minister ministers of the gospel. So this movement is going to have to to truly touch our hearts in terms of really, really driving us away from solo leadership. Understanding which is going to deny people their rightful calling in the local body of Christ. No one is given all of the gifts and the grace. Grace is needed to do the work of ministry for the whole body. No one. That's why you have the whole body. Everyone is given gifts for ministry and service. That's what we are after and really what what we want. So we're going to move from solo leadership to team leadership. And this team leadership is going to be characterized by giving ministry away to others, by equipping them to go and do the work of ministry, both here in the same area and then the whole, you know, the ends of the of the globe were doing all of this in 1991. The man by the name of Lauren Mead, Lauren Mead, wrote a text called The Once and Future Church.


[00:09:23] And in this text, he really lines out the confusion both clergy and laity face today. It's it's it's a it's a it's an outstanding critique of the church. And in this text, he's saying that the paradigm of Christendom. Now you got to understand what he means by the paradigm of Christendom. Christendom is when the church was given official status in the state and where the church had really huge influence in the state. So Christendom is where the church held a prominent and influential place in the culture, which the church did for many, many centuries. However, that is no longer the case. We are long past that period of time and in to now what's called a post-modern period. And the church doesn't hold a lot of sway in this time period at all. So Mead contends that while we have experienced the disintegration and disruption of the old where that old Christendom model is breaking down, we still have confusion within the body of Christ today in terms of what model is emerging. What are we called to be? Who are we called to be? And what he's saying is we've got to get a hold of this issue that everyone is called into ministry. It's a good book. It will emerge. This this the church's new understanding, he writes, will emerge from a new sense of the church's mission. Which, of course, is a major purpose. We we're given the mission of entering into the work of God's kingdom. And that's what's going to give it clarity and focus. Dallas Willard once again was frank in his assessment of the role of clergy. He said Whenever clergy come to the practical conclusion that discipleship to Christ is optional to membership in the Christian church.


[00:11:49] Look, that's a Christendom model. Hear the critique now. Hear what Willard saying. That's an old Christendom model where, you know, all you do is be a member and you're in. Who cares whether you follow Christ or not? That's a model that eventually led to do a lot of heartache and a lot of heartbreak in the church. Hear it again Whenever clergy come to a practical conclusion that discipleship to Christ is optional to membership in the Christian church. Then we're going to eliminate the very types of lives that can bring transformation not only into that local church but into the culture. Who? Dallas Willard Press is us. Those of us who are pastors, spiritual leaders listen to. Dare I tell people as believers, he wrote without discipleship that they are at peace with God and God with them. Ouch. Where can I find justification for such a message? He asks. Perhaps most important, do I as a minister, have the faith to undertake the work of disciple making? Is my first aim to make disciples? Or am I just. Or do I just run an operation? See, this is the clarity or lack there of that a solid spiritual life is going to bring into your leadership. Are you just going to be an institutional chaplain? Now, please. There are places and locales where you really need and want a chaplain. For instance, in a hospital setting or a nursing home city, there's all sorts of places where you need a person there designated as a chaplain to care for the needs, basically to care for the needs of those people in there. Let me suggest to you that God's church, however, was never, never intended to run on a chaplaincy model. You say, well, how mean, how cruel are you saying we don't take care of the needs or are address real life human issues? No.


[00:14:28] Once again, we've already covered this, but I'm not saying that at all. But that that cannot be primary here. Here, Willard. So I'm not called just to run an organization. And within that organization, the organization itself is not set up only to meet the needs of those who are within here. Willard. Nothing less than life in the steps of Christ is adequate to meet. It's adequate to the human soul or the needs of the world. Nothing less than life in the steps of Christ is adequate to the human soul or the needs of our world. So what I'm saying is clergy, you leaders, you pastors, you head of local congregations, you leaders within whether you're lay or clergy, you're really facing one of the more critical decisions of your life here. Are you really going to be an institutional keeper who builds a ministry primarily for yourself? Or are you going to step into the high calling of facilitating mature disciples of Jesus, of fulfilling the mandate of the gospel, which is going to require some substantive movements for clergy to step away from these attitudes and these actions that will literally bring you to naught. Now, listen, the laity need are going to need to make these same kinds of movements. So let's go back in and and put laity up here. And let's let's recover this term of what lady means. You know, it's a beautiful term means people of God. It's an awesome thing. The people of God, which all of us fit in in that. So we those who are those the people of God have got to also make movements. And one of the huge movements that's going to have to be made in terms of self-understanding is this idea of going.


[00:17:02] To church. And for that matter, with less and less regularity. To understanding our lives. As what? As being. The church. 24 seven. We have reduced our mental image and our worldview and our understanding of church to buildings or to groupings of people. And it's it's hampered some. He's seriously, seriously hampered us. The church is a living reality of people connected to the head to Christ, not a building. Although New Testament actually does talk of the church in terms of the living stones in the building. But that's that's a spiritual reality of people coming under the headship of Christ. We're moving from expecting benefits of Christianity with no sustained effort to actually follow Jesus. So. So here it's merely about benefits without discipleship. So the whole thing of discipleship, we're really, really not interested in to where we're truly seeking to follow Jesus and implement his rule. In other words, we are intent on being disciples. And then this whole idea of being passive observers. Passive. Really consumers seeing a bit of the same thing there, but emphasizing here passive I go. Just there for for me. But in terms of my understanding of me having a very critical role within the living body of Christ, that's what's missing. To where then I understand we understand ourselves as full time ministers. And we ourselves are called to take. In other words, a full time. What does a full time minister do? We're part of the mission of salvation for the world. We're we're just as much a part as any ordained person. Full time ministers. And we enter in entering into God's mission. Now, since early on the early centuries, since the three hundreds, there's been substantive forces driving the laity into lifeless roles. I mean, you talk in a long time here talking nearly 1700 years of pressing laity to take diminished roles once again.


[00:21:08] Turning to another Lauren Mead text, his text called Five Challenges for the Once and Future Church. He wrote this in 1996. He frames the issue in terms of chronically over functioning clergy. The spiritual leaders need to hear this chronically over functioning clergy and equivalent, you know, in the equivalent of that is chronically under functioning laity. So this dangerous dependance of laity on clergy, dangerous dependance is hard to break, he saying. From a sociological standpoint, it's really, really hard to break. Listen to Lauren Mead. The relationship between clergy and lady over the years has built chronic over function into the role of the clergy and under functioning into the role of laity. The clergy has come to expect the laity to under function. And the prophecy is self-fulfilling. The ladies come to expect the clergy to over function, and this too, is self-fulfilling. Neither finds it easy to challenge the depressingly self-replicating pattern of dependance. I love Lauren. Me once again. Let's go back to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, where he's tracing it back to the early centuries of the church. Here's what he says. Here's what Bonhoeffer wrote. Quote, The church evolved the fatal conception of the double standard, a maximum and a minimum standard. A maximum and a minimum standard of Christian obedience, end quote. Now, what does he mean, maximum in minimum understanding? Well, basically what he's saying is the church let the laity off the hook. You don't have to have all of the standards and said, now, some of you professional guys, you've got to have the standards. Well, that's set up this whole issue of of, you know, one group the the main body failing to pursue costly grace to laity need to hear, you know, the actual claim of the call of God.


[00:23:44] The call of the word on your lives is is all in. Peter, what did Peter say? But you are a chosen race, the royal priesthood of the holy nation, God's own people. And first, Peter to nine. If you're chosen, if you're royal, if you're holy, that makes you very significant in the eyes of the Lord. So here we go. For lady to take up their calling to follow Christ and serve as ministers of the Gospel. Clergy are going to have to do what? Oh, yeah. You're going to have to go to Scripture, first of all. And this is why it ties in so critically to your spiritual life and how you're reading the word, how you're praying, how you're allowing the spirit to talk to you and how you how you if you're going to buy what Paul has to say about your job or if you're not going to buy what Paul has to say about your job. Our primary purpose, if I understand Ephesians four correctly, as a pastor, for me, even as a seminary professor, my primary purpose is to equip people. To take up the role of ministry. My primary purpose when I was a pastor took long years to get there, but my primary purpose was to equip the people of God to do the work of God. Lady, of course, are going to have to step out then and let go of a consumer mentality and move into, you know, letting go of a passive mentality and and moving into an active role of worshiping the Lord with all that is within them and committing the entirety of their lives to following the sun and serving in God's mission of redemption. Now, there's there's got to be questions on this, and we may even need to move to expand it out.


[00:25:53] So let's talk about it for a while and dialog with one another and see see where we are. I have a comment and just two questions. One is that we try to help our children understand the difference between, as you were saying, being and going and being is that we taught them the phrase you can't go to what you are. Oh, you can't go to what you are. You can't go to church. That's theologically impossible. Yes. Yeah. And that with that kind of for young kids that stuck in their head and helped them on their love. I've never heard that. You can go to what you are. Yeah. Yeah, it's awesome. But my. My questions have to do with what you were saying earlier about the relationship between the preacher and. Discipleship. Got it. And I'm thinking primarily of larger churches, multi staff churches. And let's assume it's a church that has a very gifted biblical expository preacher. Imagine that kind of scenario where he's going to be spending or she's going to be spending a lot more time in sermon prep than in discipling a bunch of people. And I heard from Gene gets the idea that the the pastor leads the elders. And so his primary discipleship group are the elders or perhaps the staff. Right. Is that a viable structure? I mean, should this gifted pastor in a church of a thousand people who likes to study, they shouldn't feel guilty about not having big groups, I assume. But but they should have something. Is that a fair way to say? Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, and I've I've served large congregations where we had, you know, we had to divide out. We had to we literally had to divide out roles. I think where where I have.


[00:28:01] My encouraging forward would be that whatever the size of your congregation and their congregations that are truly mega congregations, you know, as long as the pastoral team values, I mean, deeply, deeply values. The whole discipleship process is making sure it's going on. And we say, Thank you, Jesus. We say, thank you, Jesus. One of the the best models that I know of along this line is my friend Jorge Acevedo, and he's the pastor of a fairly large, very large congregational system in in Florida. And I'm going to have to summarize a lot here. But Jorge is the lead pastor, and basically Jorge is discipling the other pastor's own staff, and then they in turn disciple their staff. So anyway, you know, Jorge is is having to manage a very large organization. But I think we're well, I agree 100% with you as long as it's a value in the culture. And that's that's what you're saying. So we've got we got another with so yeah, I just wanted to make one other similar comment. Yeah. Yeah. Two, two bills when I was myself a professor, an engineering professor. Right. It was important that everybody who was a teacher did research and everybody who was a researcher did teaching good that they work together. You learn how to teach better when you're in the research and likewise. And so I think that's similar to a lead pastor. Yeah, Yeah. You you have to keep your feet on the ground through regular discipleship people, whether it's the elders or somebody. Yes. And at the same time, people who are doing that need to keep themselves firmly grounded in the word. That is a comment. Yeah, absolutely. It's got a course I've been thankful for the idea of being a.


[00:30:35] Of being the church. 24 seven Because in the job that I do, I work closely with a group of people and we need to communicate well and on a consistent basis and be able to trust each other. Right? Which leads you to be able to have conversations on a net in a natural way. Sure. Just not only about work related types of things, but also about personal things. And so in a way that a pastor or somebody that doesn't know those people would never be able to have. Yeah. And so I find myself and I've tried to do this purposefully to not only before I go to work to pray that I'll do a good job and that I'll be professional and what I do and be excellent what I do, but also that I'll be present in the moment and be aware of those opportunities to have conversations with people that are going to make a difference in their personal lives, in their spiritual lives. And I've been really blessed to see that over the years. The the fruit of that has been I've been really thankful for that, too, to see those types of things that are really significant and have eternal value. Good. There's you're you're just saying you're being the church. Yeah. I feel like the company that I work for pays me to be a pastor to their employees. I love it. Well, that's a Christian. At least part of the least. That's part of my job. That's a Christian standpoint. I mean, I love that. I absolutely love that. While we're fielding other questions, let me say that one way this works out in terms of pastors letting go is is I have great memories of rejoicing over an event where one of our key people who was going through a real high bar discipleship process ended up with a very fairly serious emergency surgery for an aneurysm.


[00:32:54] And it was touch and go for a while. And so the first person that the family are, the first people that the family called when when the individual went into the hospital early in the morning was not anyone on the pastoral staff, but they called the people in their covenant group to come and be with them during that time. And then I think several hours later into it, they were all there and and the lady had made it through surgery. It was going to be fine. But several hours later, like by midday, someone thought, well, has anybody called any of the pastors? No, we didn't call the pastor. Somebody better call Steve. And they called me and they were apologizing. And, you know, I didn't say anything, but my heart was rejoicing. Why? Because the body of Christ was being the body of Christ. The laity were ministering to one another, and they did not have to have a professional pastor there. Now, I went to see her, of course, but it's like you're you're being the body of Christ where you were. They were being the body of Christ. Other questions. All right. We're we're good. So we're going to take a break now and then we're going to continue this because we've done a from two movement. But where we've got to go now is this whole middle section, the middle section of the through. What's it going to take? What is the process that it's going to take to get us over here?