After spending 25 years with Young Life, Fil Anderson discovered he was too busy working for God to spend time with God. In his book, Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers, Anderson describes his situation as an airplane that from the ground looks fine as it flies across the sky, but is running out of fuel. At a conference, Anderson met Brennan Manning, who asked Anderson about the condition of his soul. Anderson realized he needed spend more time taking care of his spiritual life and less time running his ministry.
Anderson is now executive director of Journey Resources in Greensboro, NC. He offers spiritual direction and directs retreats and workshops around the country. Anderson is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Graduate Program in Spiritual Guidance at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland.
What were you doing and what was happening that you didn't nourish your soul as you were trying to nourish the souls of others.
There's an old expression that perhaps you've heard, "You can't take someone to places you haven't been." I think it suggests that to be effective in ministry, to take people to God, you've got to be maintaining your own relationship. I believe there's a bit of truth in that, but I think it betrays the whole truth. I had known God, I'd had some kind of relationship with God, but there had never been a real deep intimacy. There certainly had not been an ongoing sense of connection with God. I prayed, I read the scriptures, I spent time with other believers, but those spiritual disciplines, as we call them, had become for me more a way of maintaining my ministry than my own soul's relationship with God. When I prayed it was usually ministry-related. ...1
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