Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: A Definition of Spiritual Leaders

9/8/2014

Dear Friends,
 
My last two blogs have focused on our vision and mission. “Spiritual leaders” are central to both. 
 
Someone asked me to define a Christian spiritual leader. Let me describe some spiritual leaders who have influenced me. 

Meet Will and Fran. Most people would think of them as a rather ordinary duo. But when you hear about how they live their lives, you will understand why I consider them to be extraordinary spiritual leaders.
 
They are both faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Though they would be the first to acknowledge that they are miles from perfection, they would also say that they are on the way to becoming more like Christ as each year passes. Their relationship with Jesus Christ greatly affects the decisions they make about ethics, time, talent and money. Jesus Christ leads their lives.
 
They both spend a significant portion of each day nurturing their relationship with God. They find their own unique ways and times to do so. The point is not the specifics of how they spend time with God, but the regularity and intentionality with which they do it. 
 
They are two of the most generous persons I know. They tithe faithfully to the local church they attend. In addition, they frequently give a little here and a lot there to individuals and Christian organizations in need. Whether their finances are lean or plentiful, they always find a way to share what they have with others.
 
They communicate their faith by the lives that they live as well as the words that they say. When you ask them some of the hard questions of life, words of faith and hope bubble forth as naturally as water from a bountiful spring. The grace with which they respond to their personal rough patches in life shows that they believe their own words.
 
They are trusted by others in the community. In fact, those who know them best would trust them with their very lives. Some describe them as salt of the earth people who say what they mean and mean what they say. They are trusted because they are trustworthy.
 
They make a difference in their church and community. They work for a more just world, especially for those who struggle economically . . . children who live in difficult life situations . . . and those on the fringes of society. They pray and strive for a transformed world.
 
Finally, they have given their lives to Christian service and ideals. They are humble servant leaders, committed to serving God and others. Christian living is more than a part of their lives; Christian living is their life. They are fully committed to Christian discipleship.  
 
How do you define a spiritual leader? Though this blog does not include a complete definition of a spiritual leader, it is what I mean when I use the phrase. I invite you to think of a spiritual leader who has influenced your life significantly. Feel free to describe in the comments section below the qualities he/she embodies.
 
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
 
Blessings,
 
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference


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