Training Leaders To Care For Their Own Spiritual Formation

Danielle Pathak, Spiritual Formation Pastor of Mile High Vineyard in CO, talks about how their church encourages leaders to own their process of spiritual growth.

Danielle Pathak

Spiritual Formation & Staff Pastor, Mile High Vineyard

As I think about the formation of a leader, I am aware that there are three ideas around which I constantly revolve in everything I do (and our church does) as we train and build leaders.

Helping Leaders Own Their Spiritual Development

To help our leaders own their own spiritual growth process, we need to know a few things are happening in their lives along the journey of leadership with us.

As our leaders develop, we seek to nurture and challenge our leaders to maintain the following qualities in their own lives.

1. The leader knows who they are, and has growing awareness of how they effect and influence other people.

I should be able, at all times, to ask a leader how God has made them and how they are growing through their weaknesses. We use every tool available to us, from the Enneagram to Myers Briggs, to nurture this self-awareness.

I keep a document with everyone’s results, and often the topic of self-awareness comes up in personal conversation or in staff meetings as we work together.

2. The leader has a clear and measurable plan for how they connect with Jesus and how they are growing.

This builds on the last point. Knowing how one is made and designed by God helps a staff member identify spiritual practices that bring life to them. As well, they can see where they can continue to push themselves in areas of their life that are a little less tested than others.

Part of my role at our church is to sit down with all of our pastors several times a year to talk about how they are doing. We cover everything from money, marriage, intimacy, life with Jesus, to burn out.

These are pretty informal conversations, but one time a year (for everyone) I do a formal “Spiritual Check-in.” The pastor/leader fills out a worksheet ahead of time, and gives it to me so I can pray over it and lead our time together. We make a spiritual plan for the next year (looking at a wholistic view of the person – body, mind, heart, relationships).

I will bring these goals up throughout the year, to see where they may be succeeding or are getting stuck.

3. The leader knows and is working through their own personal story of formation (from their family of origin onward) to be “reformed” to be more like Jesus.

While I won’t go into this step too deeply, I would note that we have a whole process called “Faithwalking.” Faithwalking is a combination of spiritual formation/Family Systems work that involves retreats and a six month coaching process on the back end.

It is the most effective discipleship process we have ever done in our church because it allows people to own their life to date, and to get perspective on who they have become, and are becoming, in a whole new way.


Visit the website of the Mile High Vineyard in CO here.