No one prepared you for this.

There is no larger gap than that between the training for and actual requirements of Christian ministry. Biblical Studies, theological certifications, and ministry degrees (especially the coveted Masters of Divinity) simply do not prepare one for the daily challenges of church leadership. Ministerial students receive no instruction on recruiting volunteers, managing teams, launching missional initiatives, or understanding cultural trends; yet these are basic requirements for any pastor, from youth ministry to women’s league.

As a result, pastors feel discouraged, ill-equipped, criticized, and betrayed, all of which contribute to their early departure. 

Is there a magic bullet for ministerial effectiveness? Yes.

Chapter Houses, like retreat centers, provide space for pastors to receive guidance and spiritual development. Pastors need a haven where they can escape the rigors of ministry, where they don’t have to play at being perfect, and where they can discuss issues before their responses are fully formed. The Fossores Chapter House is a space where preachers, leaders, and innovators from all over the world come not only for solace and development, but also to incubate the future of the church.

Too many of us have cracked our lives into component parts—the family part, the work part, the spiritual part, etc—and we suffer as a result.

 

I began Fossores Global Ministry Development, my coaching and training network, to help pastors unite art, work and faith.

A “fossores” is species of sand wasp, and was used in reference to clergymen during the Roman persecution of the church much like we might crudely refer to someone as a cockroach.

Because Christianity was an outlaw religion, pastors were often forced to take inconspicuous day jobs. Many became gravediggers. By day, fossorians (as I’ve come to call them) would suffer the scorn of the public while working backbreaking labor for low pay. But at night, they would use the newly excavated gravesites as houses for worship, smuggling in their brothers and sisters for church in the catacombs.

After the services ended, the fossorians would stay up and pray, decorating the tombs with symbols and scriptures, prayers and pleas. Then they would sleep in the presence of sacralized death, dreaming of God’s plans to heal the world. They practiced the undifferentiated wholeness between their art, their work, and their faith.

From them we learn that our vocation and calling and identity are inextricably mixed. We don’t have “prayer lives” and “spiritual lives.” No. We are spiritual people, and every thought or word or hope we utter is saturated by the presence of the Spirit.