Mingo sits down with Bill and Kristi to get clarity on what’s really below the surface when we feel like we’ve hit a wall. How we manage that moment impacts our relationships, our goals, and our momentum in more ways than we know. Bill and Kristi introduce us to their own journey as they’ve navigated their own walls in marriage, life, and ministry.
Soul Shepherding features a unique model of training leaders and churches to flourish spiritually and psychologically in their apprenticeship to Jesus and ministry to others. In this episode, we get into a discussion on how to create resources to help folks better discover their emotional and spiritual growth.
What are the early foreseen observations for people to navigate the unforeseen tensions and experiences? How are they helpful to people?
The journey of the Soul
[04:55] The pandemic, social unrest, racism and divisiveness, losses, and health problems are some stressors and challenges. Learning to do church differently has been difficult. The toll on pastors’ souls has been extreme.
[05:33] Understanding, getting language for what’s happening, knowing what’s God doing, and what’s the movement of the spirit in this season of life is a huge part of our ministry and in the journey of the soul.
[05:52] We’ve found that understanding the stages of emotional-spiritual growth have been so helpful because it not only gives us an understanding and empathy from the Lord for where we are, and why we’re struggling with a wall or roadblocks or temptations but how we can get through these walls and get a vision for where God’s calling us next.
[06:30] We learn along the journey. One of the things that have been so helpful to us in this understanding of development, is that God redeems these trials, these sufferings, these difficulties. Our hope increases, as well as our character, as we continue on the journey.
[06:48] This information about the journey of the soul comes out of our ministry. We’ve found, that this is so helpful to the pastors and the people we teach in our Soul Shepherding Institute.
What are the key language pieces about the stages of emotional-spiritual growth?
[08:32] From the experiences of being burned out from ministry and compassion, I’ve learned that there is a need to work through all these in the context of talking with a counselor, a spiritual director, and discovering this language.
[08:44] We all experienced different trials, conflicts. Each of the stages of faith has different temptations and trials, but the big one is when we hit the wall that usually happens in the middle.
[10:19] One of those things that we do when we hit the wall is repressing our emotions and sometimes go to shame. Sometimes, we blame ourselves or get angry. We blame God. We start to have doubt in Him and start to feel abandoned by God.
[10:38] Sometimes, we’ll have to hit a wall several times before we are finally willing to do the work of going through. For each of our stages of development, the work of going through is identified with a symbol which is a shovel. What you need to do is to join Jesus and let him dig down those thorns, that He didn’t plant, that has taken root in your soul to make space for what he wants to do.
[11:13] As we open up and get emotionally honest with God, and with ambassadors of Christ, we get a renewed strength, passionate energy, and vision for what He has for us. As we’re willing to open up those vulnerable places, hurts, and pains, He does deeper healing work.
[11:40] After the inner journey and Spirit-led ministry, we can be more yielded to Him. More vessels of His glory will follow through because our energy isn’t going towards trying to manage our reputation, or feed our ego. We don’t get caught up in responsibilities in ministry, we get caught up in doing things for God, and we’re doing it with him.
What are the challenges that people find in making their way through?
[13:24] The new life of God comes into you. In this early stage of trusting in Jesus, we have a conflict between being torn between two worlds. We’re back and forth a lot with sinful temptations and the old life and then wanting to love God and serve God.
[13:44] The Christian community in the church has a lot of misinterpretation of Scripture that is being misguided instead of discovering the truth of God’s Word and community.
[14:10] One of the problems that we can fall prey to is getting black and white. Our judgmental thinking and our stage of cognitive development and we are less able to understand and integrate some of the abstract things.
What are some of the tools that come in partnership with the book journey of the soul?
[15:39] Each chapter has Pathfinder questions to identify what stage you’re in or the people that you’re working with. As you lead them, it’ll help you to understand, empathize with them and their experience, and identify what their next steps are. We have a packing list for what your next step is for that next stage or the person that you’re working with within the stage there. We have Scriptures for each of the stages as well, we have an experience in each chapter that you can interact with God that will help you grow, and your emotional honesty, longing, and intimacy for God.
[16:20] Moving from the different stages – Confidence in Christ, Helping and Discipleship, Responsibilities in Ministry, doing the Inner Journey work if we’re willing. That’s where the spirits leading us deepens us into a whole new life with God. It’s a great spiritual renewal of self-awareness and intimacy with God if we open to the Spirit.
[16:46] The Spirit-led ministry stage is an anointing of the Holy Spirit on us. We’re engaging in a lot of work with peace, God’s power, and not so much just working hard for God is doing it with God.
[17:09] We talked about that as being in the easy oak of Jesus, which is all about pulling the power across the field. We’re doing the work of the church, the work of God’s community to share the gospel and feed the hungry, and go out to all places, ministering Christ’s love. It’s a sweet stage of rekindled activity, but with new peace and joy.
[17:31] The stage of Transforming Union is this culmination of intimacy with God and working through the challenges of keeping Christ Central, even in our maturity. As we mature in the Lord, our contemplative spirituality takes us in a place away from being grounded in Scripture, and the church. We very much keep things in God’s word, the church, and this model, celebrating the goodness of each of those stages.
[18:03] In this combination of stages, we’re learning to practice God’s presence, integrate our work and our relationship with God, and having a universal love and grace for all people, even within being grounded in Scripture.
[18:18] By God’s grace, and the work of the Spirit in us, we bless those who curse us and love our enemies, because we’ve been increasingly and more deeply formed by God’s grace. Anything that helps people draw closer to Jesus, we’re all in for that.
[18:39] We’ve got this source of God’s presence, peace, and joy, even when we’re not feeling it, we know it, and we’re able to stay all in with Jesus.