Let your loneliness lead you to God. Acknowledge the loneliness you may feel as a leader – loneliness that comes from criticism and sabotage, being alienated and estranged from meaningful human connection, feeling disconnected or abandoned by God, or carrying too much of a burden alone. Ask God to meet you in the middle of your loneliness. Let your loneliness motivate you to keep you seeking God.

Create a healthy leadership community. Work with your fellow leaders t find ways to open each other up to the presence of Christ in your midst, attend to your relationships, rest and retreat, live within your limits, and move forward in your work on the basis of discernment.

Find God’s will together. Discern God’s will as a leadership team by: clarifying the question of discernment, involving the right people, establishing guiding values and principles, pray often, ask God to make you all indifferent to everything but His will, consider what needs to die in each of you in order for God’s will to come forth in and among you, and pray for wisdom. Then listen carefully to sources like: your experiences, the Holy Spirit’s inner promptings, Scripture, pertinent information, and people who will be affected the most by your decisions. Next, select an option that seems consistent with what God is doing among your leadership team, seek confirmation, and agree together to take action to do God’s will as you’ve come to understand it.

Get a fresh view of your “promised land.” What is your “promised land” – the place where you’d like to end up as a leader? Embrace a new perspective on your goals, focusing on who you want to be instead of on what you want to do.  Break free of your attachment to your former goals. Aim simply to become a person who loves and trusts God deeply enough to follow wherever He leads you.

Adapted from Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, copyright 2008 by Ruth Haley Barton.  Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com
Ruth Haley Barton is a spiritual director, teacher, author and retreat leader trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington, D.C.). She is cofounder and president of The Transforming Center, a ministry to pastors and Christian leaders. Educated at Wheaton College and Northern Seminary, Barton has served at several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Her books include
Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Sacred Rhythms, Longing for More, An Ordinary Day with Jesus: Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life (with John Ortberg), Ruth: Relationships That Bring Life and a series of articles called The Transforming Leader in Christian Management Report.