In chapters 8 and 9 of Pettit’s book on spiritual formation, the focus shifts to the practical implications of spiritual formation in the context of one’s call to ministry. Pettit explores the idea that spiritual formation is not solely an individual pursuit but also has an impact on one’s ministry and calling. In this discussion, we will unpack some of the key insights and lessons from these chapters and discuss how they relate to our own understanding of ministry and calling.
One of the central ideas in chapter 8 is the notion of the “inner life” and its connection to ministry. Pettit argues that the condition of our inner life, our spiritual well-being, directly affects the quality and effectiveness of our ministry. He emphasizes the importance of cultivating a deep and authentic relationship with God, as this forms the foundation of our ministry. Without a strong inner life, our ministry can become shallow, ineffective, and lacking in spiritual power.
Pettit also highlights the role of spiritual practices in nurturing our inner life and supporting our ministry. He suggests that disciplines such as prayer, meditation, study, and solitude are not merely optional add-ons to our ministry but essential means of connecting with God and sustaining our spiritual vitality. These practices help us to develop the necessary spiritual muscles and habits that enable us to effectively serve and minister to others.
In chapter 9, Pettit delves into the concept of “spiritual authority” and its relationship to our call to ministry. He argues that spiritual authority flows from a deep and intimate relationship with God and is not dependent on positional authority or titles. True spiritual authority is rooted in the character and integrity of the individual and is characterized by humility, love, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
According to Pettit, spiritual authority is not something that can be self-generated or manufactured. It is a byproduct of a surrendered life, where we allow God to work in and through us. In this sense, our call to ministry is not about achieving power or recognition but about being faithful stewards of the gifts and calling that God has entrusted to us.
These chapters raise important questions for us to consider in relation to our own understanding of ministry and calling. How does our inner life affect our ministry? Are we intentional about cultivating a deep and authentic relationship with God, or do we rely on external strategies and techniques? Do we prioritize spiritual practices that nourish and sustain our spiritual vitality?
Furthermore, how do we understand and exercise spiritual authority in our ministry? Are we more concerned with asserting our own authority or with embodying the character and love of Christ? Are we willing to surrender our own agendas and desires for the sake of serving others and advancing God’s kingdom?
These questions invite us to reflect on the motivations and intentions behind our ministry and to assess the health and vitality of our spiritual life. They challenge us to examine our own hearts and to seek a deeper alignment with God’s purposes and ways.
In conclusion, Pettit’s book on spiritual formation provides valuable insights into the practical implications of spiritual formation for our ministry and calling. Chapters 8 and 9 highlight the importance of cultivating a strong inner life, of engaging in spiritual practices that nurture our spiritual vitality, and of exercising spiritual authority rooted in humility and love. As we reflect on these ideas, may we be inspired to pursue a deeper and more authentic relationship with God, that we may be faithful stewards of our calling and effectively serve others in the name of Christ.