Spiritual Formation

(It is a great privilege to introduce you to Ray Wheeler’s guest post. He was one of my MA professors at Azusa Pacific, and I was encouraged and challenged by his wisdom and warmth. I know you will appreciate those characteristics in this post. Terry Morgan)

Engaging your task as a leader fully requires that you draw on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The premise is that managing energy helps leaders renew, detoxify, and refocus their efforts. This refocusing helps leaders avoid the symptoms of burnout by sustaining and enlarging their capacity to lead.

Spirituality is critical to enlarging capacity in part because it engages a transcendent perspective to life.
It is more than just acknowledging the need for purpose or meaning in life. It has to do with knowing God personally. Knowing God is a mental assent to God’s reality. Knowing God is an emotional or affective connection to God. It is a phenomenological experience with God and a commitment to God around others.

Knowing and relating to God includes awareness of God’s presence; an intuitive and explicit attention to God’s presence; attention to God’s communication (verbal, nonverbal, written); growth in understanding God’s interests, concerns, preferences, and values; shared experience with God; and a growing trust that yields confidence, assurance, openness, transparency, and hope that indicates growing intimacy.

Those who know God are not bashful about dialogue with others’ questions about their relationship with God.
They are open to challenges of their assumptions about God and God’s character toward others, recognizing that addressing such challenges is part of the process of validating the relationship. Knowing God includes communication with God that encompasses discovery, expressions of love or affection, requests, thankfulness, disappointment, and news (sharing experience).

When you think about managing energy, keep in mind that spirituality, i.e., knowing God, is not a passive action but a deliberate response to a God who has demonstrated love for us by becoming a human in Jesus Christ to give us a handle on how to approach the infinite. Spirituality isn’t disconnected from your leadership – it is central.


Ray is an executive coach and leadership development consultant. He is a certified Birkman Method® consultant, certified iOpener provider (a human asset management assessment), and certified leadership coach. In addition to his professional experience in operations, administration, and sales, he has served as a denominational executive, international training director, radio personality, and lead pastor. Ray also serves as an adjunct lecturer in ministry, research methods, leadership, and leadership ethics for LIFE Pacific College in San Dimas, Bethesda Christian University in Anaheim, California, and Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California. Ray and Janice (his wife of 42 years) have three adult children and three grandchildren. He holds a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in Administration and Leadership from Claremont School of Theology.

Ray serves on the board for Hospitality International Services, People’s Republic of China and SVM2 a Global Student Movement dedicated to mobilizing Great Commission teams. Ray is a member of the Association of Religious Leadership, the Society of Human Resource Management, and the OD Network.

Ray Wheeler

Ray may be reached via e-mail at: ray @
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