I have been thinking and writing about the qualities of emotionally healthy leadership since 1996. Each book (e.g. The Emotionally Healthy Leader) and theme in The EH Discipleship Courses touches a different facet of emotionally healthy leadership. Yet, as I continue on my own growth journey and interact with leaders, my nuancing of these challenges continues to sharpen. The following are the first 5 of my 10 challenges to being an emotionally healthy leader: Deep Loving Union and Surrender. Behind the pressure and demands that seek to cut us off from abiding in Jesus are powers and principalities of evil. To follow Jesus’ voice and will, regardless of where He leads, requires a deep trust developed through a long, slow history of being with Him in secret. This kind of depth cannot be learned in a class or book. Antidote: Faithfulness to spiritual practices. Obedience in the small things. Initiative to position yourself in. Read more.
According to a Pew Research study, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. Millennials, whom we now define as those ages 20-36, number over 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 53-71). Businesses such as Goldman Sachs are studying this trend, recognizing they will “change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.” I too have been thinking about this new culture of Millennials as they increasingly become the dominant culture in many of our churches. What are the critical issues we must address to make mature disciples, build sustainable communities, and reach the world effectively? The following are my top 5: Practice Presence in a Digitally Connected World. Millennials are the first generation where social media and smart phones are the air they breathe. But screens can’t teach empathy or face-to-face conversation. We have an amazing opportunity. Read more.
We often see elephants in the room as interruptions when, in reality, they are gifts and opportunities. Elephants, as I explained in last week’s blog, are those inappropriate or immature behaviors that remain unacknowledged and unaddressed on our teams. Dealing with elephants is a central part of what it means to be a leader. Of course, elephants show up on our teams. The higher up, or deeper in, people progress as leaders, the more their immaturities and gaps reveal themselves. Simply think of Jesus and his team of disciples. These are God’s gifts for us to invest in our team members and shape the culture of the ministry or organization we lead. I have 30 years of wrestling with elephants and have made innumerable mistakes, many of which are recounted in The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Nonetheless, out of these failures, and some successes, 5 elements on how to deal with elephants have emerged for. Read more.
Geri and I were in Alexandria, Virginia a couple of years ago when I walked past the memorial statue below that read: “Erected to the Memory of the Confederate Dead of Alexandria, VA by their surviving comrades. May 24, 1889.” All I could think of was how bad leadership, going back decades, led to a Civil War (1861-1865) that killed 529,000 men in a country of 32 million. Bad leadership continues to kill people today. Bad leadership kills individuals. When sheep enter our churches, they come with a variety of motivations. They need mature shepherds to offer clear direction on how to connect with Jesus and reach their God-given potential in Christ. What happens when they don’t? Many shipwreck, and a few even die, in the difficult journey we call life. Bad leadership kills singles and marrieds. Offering discipleship in churches for our singles and marrieds is difficult. It is time-consuming and messy. The. Read more.
Human beings have always been in a hurry. God has never been in a hurry. God waited a very, very, very long time, after Adam and Eve, before He called Abraham. God waited almost two thousand more years before entering human history in the person of Jesus. God (in the person of Jesus) waited almost 30 years before beginning his public ministry. God waited to gather and disciple the Twelve. God waited through his arrest and crucifixion rather than call on the legions of angels at his disposal. From the beginning to the end of Scripture, we discover stories of God teaching his people patience. Abraham had to wait 25 years. Joseph waited between 15 and 25 years. Moses waited until he was 80 years old to begin his ministry. Israel waited 40 years in the wilderness. It was Tertullian (204 AD from North Africa) who wrote that, when the Holy Spirit descends, patience. Read more.
I received a phone call to turn on the news as a story was breaking about a local supermarket burning to the ground. Images of fire trucks, destruction, and towering flames filled my computer screen. A New Life Fellowship Church member had invested 25 years of his life to build that business. His life work was now in ashes. We met over dinner a few weeks after the tragedy, and Geri and I listened to the story. What surprised me most was not his response but mine. His grief and disorientation were so great that my first thought was that he speak with a good Christian counselor. It was only when Geri and I were in the car returning home that I realized how I had failed to ask a far more important question – that of discernment. Where was God in the fire? This is what I failed to remember: Death and resurrection. Read more.