Creating and sustaining positive energy is described by futurist Bob Johansen in his book The New Leadership Literacies as an aspect of leadership that will be essential in the next 10 years.
Creating and sustaining positive energy, I believe, has always been the work of spiritual leaders. We create and sustain positive energy through our engagement with texts of scripture and prayer which translate into a deeply meaningful interactions with the people we serve. We create and sustain positive energy through our own prayer lives and through praying in community. We create and sustain positive energy through serving others. We create and sustain positive energy through making a difference in the world. Spiritual Leaders nurture themselves through their work and spiritual leaders drain themselves when scripture, prayer, community, service, and changing the world are not valued by those with whom we interact each day.
A recent article by Amy Frykholm in The Christian Century reports on a recent study that found “many aspects of clergy work are conducive to positive emotions.” Clergy regularly engage in spiritual activity, learning, social interactions, and helping. These are four of the five activities that contribute to a healthy outlook. (The fifth the article states is play and clergy were found to be no better at this activity than the general population.)
Clergy leaders as well with other leaders who engage in scripture, prayer, community, and service generate a positive energy that is seen, felt and heard in their voices, their decisions, their physical bearing, their households, and all work places. This positive energy is dwelling in the life of Christ at the Center of being so that this life-giving love shows inside and out. Life giving, positive energy, never shows perfectly through any of us and it does show powerfully when it is present.
Bob Johnasen describes “those who are fluent in the new literacy of creating and sustaining positive energy will say:
When I walk into a room, I radiate positive energy.
i have a disciplined approach to my own physical, mental, and spiritual … fitness in the face of my daily work pressures, my private life, and the external world.
I balance my personal energy throughout my working day and I am resilient under pressure.
I create space for the people I lead to balance their own physical, mental and spiritual energy.” (Page 117)
Spiritual Leaders call the positive energy we share with others by some familiar names: gift of being in community, life in Christ, or, fruits of our spiritual practice. Each name has a particular dimension of that life giving, abundant energy we receive and generate from God. For now it is enough to say that , positive energy – God’s life energy – is an essential part of our spiritual leadership.