Nurturing spiritual health in apprentices

What are the skills a ministry apprentice needs to learn to be prepared for ministry? 

Our minds often go to very visible and practical things. This might be how to write and give a talk, or to feel confident leading the youth ministry team. However, other more personal life skills are equally as important for apprentices to learn. One of these is how to be spiritually healthy.

At the MTS G8 Conference (Stanwell Tops, NSW, January 15-18,2024), St James Berala Assistant Minister Ros Ghazal gave a workshop on nurturing spiritual health in apprentices which is an important topic for trainers to be thinking through as they train their apprentices!

We spoke to two trainers who attended this workshop to understand how they’ve been thinking about the topic.

“Perspective to prioritise God’s glory”

MTS Trainer Dave Doran is the Senior Pastor at Holy Trinity Kingsford Anglican Church. He shared his perspective on this important topic after attending the G8 workshop. 

Dave says, “When we are personally growing in our knowledge of God, we will also better understand ourselves and our place in God’s plans. We will have perspective to prioritise God’s glory, trust to regularly rest and joy even when we hit ministry setbacks.”

This idea of viewing ourselves within God’s plan isn’t just a mental shift according to Dave, but it is an active practice of spiritual disciplines. 

“Before we learn pragmatic lessons we must keep growing in the ‘wisdom that comes from above’, which is really fostered by the fundamentals of Bible reading, prayer and mutually generous Christian fellowship.” Dave shares. 

Not going it alone is also an extremely important part of spiritual health!

Dave explains, “Sharing honestly with fellow gospel workers about personal prayer habits demystifies things and helps us remember ‘we’re all works in progress’, and progress can be made! Having a healthy understanding of the love of our heavenly Father and how much He wants us to approach His throne of grace is even better!”

“Nurturing spiritual health is a skill for life!”

Susan Playstead, MTS Trainer at Southern Cross Presbyterian Church, says that “Nurturing spiritual health is a skill for life!” 

Susan explains, “If you are in love with your King Jesus you’ll want to devote and develop healthy daily practices that invest in who you are as a follower of Jesus not just skills for doing ministry well. Full-time paid ministry is a dangerous journey particularly if you are only reliant on yourself.”

To be caring for and building your spiritual health Susan recommends five practices. 

➡️ Rhythm and time to set aside for prayer, so you pray until you pray!

➡️ Word-to-life and life-to-word reflection which prayer can then flow out of.

➡️ Prayer journaling to go deeper and be able to look back.

➡️ Someone to be accountable to and to pray with.

➡️ A ‘Quiet Day’, which comes from well-known theologian John Stott, where you set a whole day aside to stop and do all of the above each month without daily life interruption.

Whether you’re a ministry apprentice, a full-time ministry worker or a follower of Jesus working or studying in secular places – spiritual health matters! This advice from wise MTS Trainers can serve us all wherever we are.