When Geri and I became committed followers of Christ, we learned about spiritual disciplines – Bible Study, worship, giving, community, prayer, spiritual gifts, etc. We immersed ourselves in the best of Christian training and discipleship for years.
It was always confusing, however, that people in the church were supposedly growing in love for God, but they clearly weren’t growing into greater love for people. We couldn’t figure out why people with “great passion” for Christ and Scripture were often defensive, judgmental, critical, unapproachable and unsafe to be around. (Sadly, this was often true for us as well.)
We gradually acknowledged a painful truth – the quality of love inside the church was not really that different from the quality of love among people outside the church.
How could this be, especially when Jesus repeatedly linked love for God with love for others as the essence of true spirituality? The answer lies, I believe, in our approach to discipleship that overemphasizes growing in love for God and underemphasizes growing in love for people. We tell people to love others without showing them how to actually do it.
Consider the chart below:
We are all broken relationally. This is one of the harsh consequences of the Fall. Defensiveness, low self-awareness, blaming, fear, and self-absorption, for example, characterize our relationships. The great news of the gospel, however, is that Jesus came to save us from our sins and transform us, particularly in the way we love others. In other words, He shows us how to become people who are approachable, non-reactive, keenly self-aware, courageous, and honest.
We have spent the last 21 years developing 8 practical skills to help people grow into greater wholeness in Jesus. These skills will be released in August as The Emotionally Healthy (EH) Relationships Course (Zondervan, 2017). We believe this is a very significant moment because it provides the indispensable bookend to The Emotionally Healthy (EH) Spirituality Course in equipping the church in a discipleship that deeply changes lives.
So let me invite you to our first 3 hour Live Stream training on How to Lead The EH Relationships Course in your church or ministry on June 29th from 1 pm – 4 pm EST. You will experience one of the Sessions with me and be equipped in how to bring the Course to others.