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Publication Date

Spring 3-20-2018


The purpose of this doctoral project is to foster spiritual authenticity in the personal lives of pastors by seeking God through discipleship to Jesus using spiritual practices over an eight-week experience, which will lead to fruitful ministry within the local church. Pastoral ministry can easily be reduced to the accomplishing of tasks. Since pastors are often evaluated on these tasks, the danger within pastoral ministry is focusing entirely on what pastors do without any concern for who pastors are. As leaders of faith communities, pastors should be personally pursuing a deep relationship with God through disciplined use of spiritual practices. The hope is to stir desire within pastors to pursue this authentic relationship and present these spiritual practices as the avenue through which this relationship is cultivated. The temptation is that what is presented here is received as simply another thing to do. The intent is not to make pastors feel guilty or present these practices as mandates that would reduce them to law and legalism. The intent is to provide an invitation into a way of being with God that is fruitful and vibrant. Ministry then naturally flows from this relationship.

Part One will present a local church as one example of many where authentic spiritual leadership is needed. Part Two will establish the need for authenticity in pastoral leadership, an understanding of spiritual practices, how these practices have been used within the Reformed tradition and throughout history of the Church. Lessons from Jesus and Paul will point toward the purpose of this project in establishing a healthy balance between a contemplative life and active engagement in ministry. Part Three will propose an eight-week spiritually formative experience for pastors using a variety of spiritual practices. Desired outcomes and evaluative tools will be discussed.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Schwanda, Tom

Document Type





authenticity, discipleship, spiritual practices, pastors, relationship




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November 2018

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Christianity Commons