Let's go for a walk... A very long walk. A journey down pilgrim's path. Traipsing through the forest of life. Climbing over the mountains of adversity. Enduring the climate of challenge. Over the course of countless miles and numerous days, we will mine the golden wisdom hidden within our pilgrimage experience.
When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet: Reflections and Stories for Congregational Life is about the moments when listening and silence, the work of spiritual direction, become the agencies for congregational leadership. Over the past thirty years, I’ve been on a leadership pilgrimage. I was a college baseball coach, a university president, and now a parish priest. In every circumstance, I was handed a book written by the latest business guru. I was promised the CEO model would bring success. The business training, planned giving seminars, and leadership workshops forced me into believing as a leader, I had to have the all the answers. Unfortunately, the questions I have asked have nothing to do with running a business. The real questions were about what matters most, unemployment, children, divorce, terminal illness, life and death stuff. I couldn’t relate to the CEO Jesus. It was the servant leader Jesus nailed to a cross that I knew something about. Jesus was the emblematic quintessential spiritual director leader. I decided the demands and burdens of being the business priest weren’t solving the real problems of the people in the pew. I set the CEO model aside and began wrestling with another way of leading. Like listening to my sister, it’s the way of partnering with the people in the spiritual work of becoming a discerning community who lead together solving life problems.