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The 4 Questions of Emotionally Healthy Supervision

Posted on September 21st, 2016

Every year at our Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference I am asked: “How is supervision in an emotionally healthy church different? What makes it distinct?”

In emotionally healthy teams, role expectations are openly talked about and agreed upon. We evaluate how we are doing.

But that is not enough.

How people care for their inner lives is also important. The question is, “How important?” The answer is: “Very important.”

Minimally transformed leaders will always result in minimally transformed teams doing minimally transforming ministry. How could we expect it to be any other way?

As a result, there are four areas that we ask about on a regular basis:

1. How is your walk with Jesus? In other words, tell me about your rhythms of being with God and doing for God. How are you living out of your Rule of Life in this season? How has God been coming to you? I was so blessed recently when our New Life Treasurer told me how excited she was to meet with her new assistant about her job description and her Rule of Life. (Yes, the treasurer.)

2. How is your singleness or marriage? We are called to be a living sign and wonder of God’s love for the world in our marriages or singleness. So we might ask a single staff person: “How are you creating delight in your life and setting healthy boundaries with the ministry? How are you cultivating your close relationships? We ask marrieds: “How is your spouse? Your marriage? What are you doing to proactively invest in and lead out of your marriage?”

3. Tell me about your top 1-3 goals and the challenges you are facing? Like other churches, we have job descriptions, agree on goals and, do semi-annual reviews with people. These are sometimes difficult conversations. A unique part of EHS is our ability to do these well. Our commitment to emotionally healthy skills gives us a shared language (e.g. I’m puzzled, I notice… and I prefer), an ability to negotiate understandings of power and boundaries, skills to clarify expectations, and tools to speak clearly and respectfully. This has served us well and transformed our staff culture.

4. What is your next step for your development and growth – both personally and in your area? The expectation is that staff will take initiative in looking for opportunities to grow both personally and in their area of ministry. The word initiative is key. While we as supervisors do think about team members next steps for growth, and often make suggestions, we want a culture of intentionality. As a rule of thumb, we encourage people to engage in at least one activity for development per year outside of New Life Fellowship.

Let me encourage to read the chapter entitled, “Culture and Team Building” in The Emotionally Healthy Leader. This blog expands on the broad framework laid out there. I will also touch on the important topic of supervision in next week’s webinar, “Limits in Planning and Decision Making.”


september-27-2016-embracing-limitsSeptember 27 – 2 PM EST. Click here to register today.

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