I (David) recently returned from a 28-day trip visiting churches to share about our mission and ministry as the Global Coordinators for Spiritual Care. I traveled through West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Even after being on the road for nearly a month, I was not able to visit all of our partners in ministry in these three states! I wish there were enough opportunities to spend significant time with each of you!
In both West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I was invited to offer a workshop on soul care for pastors and ministry leaders. It was a challenge! Soul is not something we tend to intentionally think about or define. Soul is often much more of an idea than something we recognize and care for as part of us. So, as I prepared, I was asking questions like these: What exactly is soul care? What is the difference between soul care and self-care? How does the soul “know” when it’s cared for?
In the middle of the first workshop session, I began to sense a powerful whispering of God’s Spirit. It was an emerging awareness that the past 24 years of ministry had prepared me to be where I was, in this moment. God had brought me there. It was like seeing myself as God sees me. Not just in what I was doing, but as an authentic expression of my truest self. After each workshop, I had significant and meaningful conversations that expressed deep longings and stirring curiosity to know soulful connections with self, mission, ministry, and God. These soul-full conversations felt like what the Psalmist in Psalm 42 was naming when he said, “Deep calls to deep.” Our souls long for the deep places of authenticity.
Paul begins Philippians by saying, “Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.” None of us get anywhere without each other & I believe without each other we cannot get to soul-authenticity. None of us have a 360-degree view of who we are and the impact of our actions. We all have blind spots. Thus, the need for trusted companions who journey with us.
Paul reminds us that gratitude and prayer go hand-in-hand. Therefore, thank you for being part of God’s soul work in me and Joyce, and in God’s mission through us! May you continue to discover the truest authentic expression of yourself as God knows you – as an individual and in community.