Soul Care for Leaders

I am aware of some things today that are essential to functioning as a leader who tends to his soul. And I think every leader would do well to attend to them. However imperfectly I engage these, I am committed to working at them.

1  Face Reality About Your Sin and Weakness: Always the first job of a leader, naming reality — about self and the organization — is of prime importance. I do not like this part, but it means honest reflection, humble confession, and then a commitment to “let it go” and move ahead.

2  Declare Your Personal Dignity: Almost in contrast to the above, remind yourself that you are gifted, called, blessed, loved, forgiven, protected, significant, and loved (did I say that already??!!) in the eyes of God. This is your true identity in your relationship with Christ. Declare this daily!

3  Live a Shared Life in Community: Relational integrity stems directly from authentic communal engagement. You are, at some level, the product of your community. Living with others, as Jean Vanier says, reveals our pride and ego, and yet gives opportunities to be “for” others and share their lives. This practice keeps every leader from thinking to highly of himself/herself and from self-absorption

4  Take Responsibility for Your Own Growth: It is up to me and you to read the book, have the conversation with a mentor, reflect on the Bible, expose the mind to new ideas, network with fresh thinkers, and engage in serious debate and discussion. It is job one!

5  Pursue a Life of Simplicity: Rid yourself of the things that tangle up your leadership — unnecessary meetings, committees and teams, stuff that clamors for attention, people who are draining and never desire to change, varying from your core mission. You must ruthlessly shed these distractions so that you can give maximum energy to “this one thing I do” in the moments when such focus is required.  

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Bill Donahue
Bill served at the Willow Creek Church & Association where he developed leadership strategies and training events for over 2500 volunteer leaders. In addition, Bill launched and led the Group Life initiative, creating tools and resources for leaders in 13,000 churches on six continents, representing over 95 denominations in over 30 countries.

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