Spiritual leaders are joyfully and sacrificially devoting their lives to aid Christians in their spiritual growth, equipping them to fulfill their purpose in life of evangelizing the spiritually lost, building up other Christians spiritually and becoming Christ-like in their character. While doing this, spiritual leaders are required to constantly care for themselves – spiritually, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Maturing spiritual leaders face the constant challenge of growing in their relationships with God while supporting and encouraging the health and growth of their fellowship (both qualitatively and quantitatively).
But spiritual leaders have unique and often overlooked needs of their own. Who cares for these spiritual shepherds in the midst of their shepherding? Are you even aware of the needs of your spiritual leader, discipler, or trainer? What are the needs of spiritual leaders, and how can you help?
Mk. 15:40-41; Matt. 27:55-56 What did these women, who used to follow Jesus do to Him?
Are you ministering to (serving, helping out with, or doing the mundane things for) your spiritual leader(s)?
Have you ever helped him with or done for him any of the following: gone some place for him that he needed to go; fixed something he needed fixed; bought something at the store he needed to buy; typed something he needed typed; planned, organized, and/or supervised something for him; cleaned, washed, cooked, set up, stapled, phoned, and/or written something he needed done?
How often, and why?
Lk. 8:1-3 What need did these women meet?
Have you ever helped meet this need in your spiritual leader(s)?
Why, or why not?
Matt. 26:17 What did Jesus’ disciples do that was an expression of their ministering to Him?
Do you ask your spiritual leader how you can help him out?
Do you take the initiative in this, or do you wait for him to tell or ask you to do something first?
Acts 9:23-25 How did Saul’s disciples meet a need that he had?
Would you help your spiritual teacher-trainer escape a dangerous situation if the occasion arose?
Acts 9:29-30 What did the brethren do for Saul, and why?
Have you ever protected or watched out for your spiritual leader’s safety or well-being in any way?
If so, how, and why?
Acts 19:21-22 What had Timothy and Erastus done to Paul?
In what ways are you ministering to (serving in general) your spiritual teacher-trainer, and why?
Rom. 1:11-12 What did Paul desire for himself and the Christians at Rome while among them?
Have you ever encouraged your spiritual leader by your faith in God (trusting Him for something specific or believing a specific promise of His)?
1 Cor. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 11:9 Why did Paul rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus, and Achaicus?
What was the effect of their supply of Paul’s need (for fellowship)?
Have you ever refreshed your spiritual leader’s spirit by visiting/fellowshipping with him and encouraging him?
If so, how did you do so?
2 Cor. 1:10-11 How did the Christians in Corinth help Paul and Timothy?
Have you ever helped your spiritual leaders in this way?
Why would this be considered a help?
2 Cor. 7:6-7 What affect did Titus’ coming have on Paul and Timothy?
Why else was Paul comforted and rejoicing all the more?
Have you ever felt this way toward any of your spiritual leaders?
That is: Is your relationship to your spiritual leader such that you “long for” him when he’s gone for a period of time?
Do you regret and have “sorrow” when your spiritual leader confronts you for wrongs you do or condone in others or for causing him grief?
And do you have “enthusiasm” for the things your spiritual leader recommends for you?
2 Cor. 12:15 What questions does Paul ask these Christians?
Do you think that your spiritual leader questions your love and loyalty toward him?
What can you do to make sure that he never questions whether you love him (seeks his best interest and are loyal)?
Phil. 2:2 How could the Christians in Philippi make Paul’s joy complete?
Do you bring joy to your spiritual leader’s life by doing all of the above?
Loving all the Christians in your group regardless of their race, personality, looks, education, financial status, abilities, etc.?
And seeking to preserve the unity of your Christian group?
And that you are intent on evangelizing the lost and living a holy life for the rest of your life (Phil. 1:27), and not just when you’re young and single?
Phil. 2:18 What did Paul want these Christians to share with him?
Are you sharing your joy with your spiritual leader by radiating before him a positive and enthusiastic attitude regarding: your being taught and trained by him, your relationship to and service for Christ, your being a part of this ministry, and your desire to evangelize and build up other believers for the rest of your life?
Phil. 2:22 How did Timothy serve his spiritual teacher-trainer, discipler, Paul?
What are some of the characteristics of or ways that a child serves his/her father?
Are you serving your spiritual leader respectfully, enthusiastically, humbly, wholeheartedly, willingly, and obediently?
Phil. 2:25, 30 What was Epaphroditus to Paul?
Are you a messenger and minister to your spiritual leader(s) or discipler’s needs?
Do you make yourself available to him in whatever way he might need you?
When he’s drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually because of ministering to others so much, how can you emotionally recharge or restrengthen him?
Gal. 6:6 What should the person who is taught the word (the Bible) do?
Are you doing this?
If so, how?
Col. 4:10-11 What had Aristarchus, Barnabus, and Justus proved to be to Paul?
In what ways do you encourage your spiritual leader?
And how often?
Have you ever asked your spiritual leader what encourages him?
2 Tim. 1:16-18 What had Onesiphorus done for Paul?
Would you do this for your spiritual leader if he was in prison for his faith?
In what ways can you refresh your spiritual leader?
How often are you?
Philemon 1:7, 20 What did Paul come to have in Philemon’s love?
Can your discipler or spiritual leader say this about you?
What did Paul want Philemon to do (Philemon 1:20)?
Are you refreshing your spiritual leader’s heart in Christ by loving and being generous to other believers?
Philemon 1:12-13 Why did Paul want to keep Onesimus?
Does your spiritual leader feel that you are his very heart because you really minister to (serve, help) him, and why?
If not, how could you?
1 Thes. 5:12-13 What were the Christians at Thessalonica requested to do?
How can you show your appreciation to your spiritual leader and esteem him very highly in love?
Are you doing this?
Heb. 13:17 What are Christians told to do?
How should you let your spiritual leader do this, and why?
In what ways would it be unprofitable for you?
2 Cor. 2:1-3 Why didn’t Paul want to cause these Christians sorrow?
Are you making your spiritual leader rejoice?
If so, how?
Mk. 1:13 What were the angels doing to Jesus?
What do you think that they were doing?