Practicing Mind-in-Heart Spiritual Leadership

By Rev. Stuart Higginbotham

Register now for the next Mind-in-Heart Spiritual Leadership workshop, Feb. 25–28 in Sewanee, Tenn.

What do you get when you enter into holy conversations? What do you experience when you seek to listen from the spiritual heart rather than the ego-centered place of ambition, competition, and demand? What do you get when nearly thirty people–both lay and ordained–from seven states come together to share their experiences of ministry? You get the incredible space that was initiated in the first Practicing Mind-in-Heart Spiritual Leadership workshop, held at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle, Tenn.

Tilden Edwards in SewaneeRev. Dr. Tilden Edwards

The October 2014 retreat, with the first cool breezes of autumn rustling outside, was the beginning of an ongoing, intentional conversation that began to nurture the development of a network of colleagues in contemplative ministry. With Tilden Edwards’ guiding meditations, we created a space together where we recognized that each one of us embodies a vocation within our own context, a space in which people shared deeply of their selves, reflecting on the joys and frustrations of seeking a deeper ministry rooted in spiritual practices.

We shared honestly with one another, from our different viewpoints, as to what dreams we have for our ministries and our communities. Many questions were asked of ourselves and of the group. What do we yearn for? What language do we resonate with, or resist, or question, or seek to expand? What images for our vocations do we carry with us, and how do we hear the Spirit calling us into even riskier spaces of embodiment and spiritual leadership? What does spiritual leadership even mean for us?

Mind-in-Heart Spiritual Leadership Practitioners, SewaneeRev. Stuart Higginbotham and some mind-in-heart practitioners

We recognized that each one of us brings gifts and strengths to share with the larger community, and that each of us has had experiences of feeling dry, of bumping into resistances, of wondering how to delve into the deeper, contemplative spaces around ministry and leadership without the distraction of maintaining corporate-style programs. We named out loud our deep yearnings for something more within the reality of every-day ministry demands.

We recognized that we live and minister in a complex world with many distractions. Together, we shared our desire for silence, for that space of openness out of which we can live and share God’s love with those entrusted to our care. Together, we affirmed the call of Christ upon our lives: our invitation to live fully and mindfully in the world around us.

Now, we keep the conversation going, adding in new voices to the richness we shared before. We invite you to join in this circle of community, this space of mutual ministry and reflection as we continue to wonder what it might mean to “Practice Mind-in-Heart Spiritual Leadership.” Join our next workshop, Feb. 25–28, 2015 at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle, Tenn. Register here.

Photography by Boyd Evans