I’ve Worked My Spirit To Death Religiously. Now What?

lutherseminary.orgI had the good pleasure of presenting a workshop during the 2015 Mid-Winter Convocation at Luther Seminary. The theme “Religious But Not Spiritual?” was designed to help Christian leaders reclaim the vibrancy and authenticity of the distinctly spiritual and religious way of Jesus. My session, entitled “I’ve Worked My Spirit to Death Religiously. Now What?,” focused on the continuing discipline of moving back toward wellness in ministry.

Faithful women and men demonstrate a mighty commitment to serve the Church. Yet what does it say about the enduring quality of our ministries when these same Christian leaders so often arrive at retreat centers feeling weary, disillusioned and spiritually empty? Drawing on first-hand experiences with these challenges and conversations, we explored some ancient wisdom, fresh perspectives and practical guidance that help revitalize our spiritual lives for the sake of our callings. Download Presentation: I’ve Worked My Spirit to Death Religiously. Now What?

Holy Pails

“We are holy pails submerged in living waters…”


  • Lean on the Rabbi’s heart as God’s beloved (see the Reader’s Poem: Abba’s Child).
  • You are not alone if you are feeling fragmented, stretched thin, or overcome by the demands of ministry (reflect further with the Ministerial Resilience Inventory).
  • The answer is not willpower, although there are some strategies that can make it easier for us to sustain positive change (e.g. Crucial Moments, Vital Behaviors, Rebound Strategies).
  • Ancient wisdom might suggest that Christian leaders can suffer from vainglory (doing the right things for the wrong reasons).
  • Modern wisdom might suggest that Christian leaders can suffer from woundedness (the encounter with our powerlessness and disappointment).
  • Symptoms of burn-out that become visible are invitations to healing and growth.
  • Now what? Solitude with God. Attend to crucial moments and vital behaviors. Reconnect with those who inspire your calling.
  • See the Poem: Living Waters.

Further Resources…

Coming soon…Enduring Ministry: Toward A Lifetime of Christian Leadership. Contact Sam to Stay Informed.

Request a Free Initial Conversation about Spiritual Direction.

Feb. 26 Fostering the Contemplative Life (with Fr. Hugh Feiss OSB at the Benedictine Center)


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