Everything in the pastor's life flows from and is dependent upon the spiritual condition of the heart. It is vital to maintain and grow in the love of God and others at the core of one's being. Nurturing a vibrant spiritual life comes through practicing a variety of means of grace such as a life of prayer, reflection on Scripture, fasting, personal retreats, confession, spiritual direction, and Sabbath practice to name a few. All of this occurs within the context of God's enabling grace.


Sola Sancta Caritas: By: Joe Dongell. (2014) Dr. Joe Donnell (Asbury Theological Seminary) conducted an extensive study of John Wesley's writings and identified "holy love" as the center of John Wesley's theology. (article)

Living God's Love: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

Gary Holloway

Helps orient us to a relationship with God that starts and flows from God's unconditional love for us.

Surrender to love: Discovering the heart of Christian Spirituality

David Benner

This little book pulls us back to the central reality that many of us have either forgotten or never fully realized: God loves us. Everything else emerges and flows from that truth.


Dallas Willard's Center for Spiritual Formation: Click Here for Resources (website)

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Richard Foster

What has now become a "classic" introduction to the various spiritual disciplines.

Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation

Ruth Haley Barton

An engaging writer who helps focus on developing intimacy with God through classic disciplines. Practical reflective questions and a guide to developing a daily office tailored to the individual.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us

Adele Calhoun

An overview of many spiritual practices and great ways to implement them into our lives. It is indeed a "handbook."

Eat this Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

Eugene Peterson

Peterson presents a very thoughtful book on slowing down our reading to reflect better and to listen for the voice of God.

Sacred Pathways

Gary Thomas

An effective guide to finding your own individual path to experiencing spiritual practices.

Ruth Haley Barton - The Need for Intimacy with God
Dallas Willard - How Is God with Us?
Ruth Haley Barton - How Bad Do You Want It?
Dallas Willard - Personal Spiritual Practices


Larry Wilson has been compiling retreat locations for pastors for many years. Here is a link to his webpage and state-by-state listing of retreat sites for pastors, along with a guide to general costs (some are free!). Larry's website also offers his Blog and other resources that pastors will find both helpful and thought-provoking.

Linda Gist is the director of Rhythms of Grace an encounter where pastors receive a taste of deeper intimacy with God through vision casting, hands-on experiences and Christian community. Second, facilitating on-going spiritual formation small groups with local pastors. Check out the Encounter information on the Events page.


"Sabbath Living": Blessed Earth Website: This Matthew and Nancy Sleeth's website devoted to slowing down and reclaiming Sabbath practices. Lots of good resources here. (website)

24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life

Matthew Sleeth

Sleeth presents a strong case and guide for reclaiming God's design for sabbath practice.


The Circle Maker

Mark Batterson

One of the best contemporary books on prayer.

Power of Prayer

E. M. Bounds

An inspirational classic. A book that inspires you to pray and realize how God uses your prayers to change the world.

Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

Richard Foster

One of the best modern treatments of prayer. Foster identifies many types of prayer approaches and writes in an engaging style.

Too Busy not to Pray

Bill Hybels

A time-tested book that teaches us the necessity of slowing down to engage in God's way of changing the world.

Hearing God: Developing a conversational relationship with God

Dallas Willard

A thoughtful book that identifies ways to cultivate a deeper life of conversation with God grounded in Scripture.

How to Pray When You Just Don't Feel Like It


"Soul Shepherding": is a website that helps cultivate intimacy with Jesus for pastors, pastors' spouses, ministry leaders, and counselors. Bill and Kristi Gaultiere are the host. (website)

A Pastor Trusts the Wonderful Counselor in His Dark Knight: Bill Gaultiere, (an article on Henri Nouwen's experience with the dark night of the soul)

Seven Things I Hate About Spiritual Formation: John Ortberg. A brief, clear article that identifies the central concern of spiritual formation. (article)

Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence

Ruth Haley Barton

Reframing Your Ministry: Balancing Professional Responsibilities and Personal Needs

Anthony J. Headley

Headley offers a model for ministry that takes into account the humanity of the pastor.

Rest in the Storm: Self-care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers

Kirk Byron Jones

In a personal way, Jones identifies factors that can lead to pastoral burnout and effective measures for pastors to care for themselves.

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