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Tag Archives: commitment

Our Marriages are meant to be…

Our marriages are meant to be our first ambition in life.  When we marry we make a vow to love our spouse exclusively until we die. That vow informs every decision we will make the rest of our lives. When a man or woman take a monastic vow, they take years to move through a process that typically takes 6-8 years. First, they are observers, then postulants, and eventually novices. After that they take temporary vows, usually for two to three years, until they finally make permanent vows. At that point, they change their name, divest themselves of all their wealth, and commit to be part of a particular community the rest of their lives.  Every decision they make from that point forward is informed by that vow.  In the same way, if we are married, we have made a vow. That vow informs every decision we make. The pace of the church, and. Read more.

Emotional Health Trumps IQ, Personality, and Gifts

Emotionally healthy spirituality (EHS) invites us to supervise and lead others, volunteer or paid, differently. Studies indicate that EQ (emotional quotient) is so critical that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs (Emotional Intelligence 2.0).  EHS, with a much deeper commitment to transformation, accounts for a much higher percentage. In fact, emotional health trumps IQ, personality, education, experience, and gifts for church leaders. For example: John is a gifted, productive church planter, but the chaotic nature of his family of origin in his early history drives him to dominate and control every environment where he leads. Joan is so cautious and fearful of change as an executive assistant (coming out of her abuse growing up) that it colors the events she administers. Ron’s anxiety to grow the church and launch new initiatives comes partially out of a family script that says, “You are worthless unless you do something great.” We. Read more.

Perfectionism: The Great Killer of Joy

Last Saturday was the wedding of one of my four daughters on a farm in upstate New York. The music, the dancing, the great celebration with family and friends left me breathless. It was one of the most fabulous days of my life. The wedding was also flawed.  Despite 10 months of planning, a great deal of money, and lots of work, the wedding was not perfect. Think about it: All vacations are imperfect. The best church is very imperfect. Every one of our children is imperfect. Our parenting is imperfect. The best employee is imperfect. The best leader whom we idealize is imperfect. The most perfect physical body is imperfect. The most wonderful spouse is imperfect. The greatest love making is imperfect. Do the best you can and let it go. If the whole world were given you, you would still say, “It is too little.” Why? You were made for a perfect. Read more.

Circles of Trust Insights for Church Small Groups

Geri and I have been deeply influenced  in how we lead teams and small groups by Circles of Trust developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage to Renewal http://www.couragerenewal.org/ . The insights from Circles of Trust form the backdrop and foundation of our efforts to create healthy community at New Life. In fact just last month we launched our small group of 22 people! The following are a few sample guidelines we shared with our small group at our first meeting: Speak for Yourself – Use “I” statements as much as possible. No Fixing, Saving, or Advising – Jesus alone is the Savior Turn to Wonder – If you feel judgemental or defensive when someone is sharing, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought him/her to this belief?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about me?” Silence – It is okay to have silence between responses as the group shares, giving members opportunity to reflect. Share for Yourself,. Read more.

Leadership and Unconscious Violence

Without an unswerving commitment to our own inner journey as leaders, it is inevitable that we will inflict unconscious violence on others. “If we skimp on our inner work, our outer work will suffer as well” (Parker Palmer). When I take the necessary time to do my own inner work, I am much more patient. I am able to wait for people to grow in their own way according to God’s timetable. I am able to wait for insights to germinate and blossom before teaching them to others.  I am able to wait before making decisions or setting goals prematurely (even if it does frustrate those around me).  I am able to resist the temptation to save or fix people, to want to coerce them into meeting my own needs. Leadership is a dangerous place if we are not reflective. In our busyness and overscheduled lives, we can inflict a subtle violence on others. Read more.

The Components of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

I am often asked, “Pete, what exactly is emotionally healthy spirituality?”  The above chart describes her five different components.  1. Contemplative Spirituality (Slow Down to Be With God).   EHS is a commitment to slow down our lives in order to create a rhythm to be with Jesus. It is about creating space through contemplative practices (e.g. Daily Offices, Sabbath-Keeping, silence, solitude and Scripture) so that we remain in Jesus’ love.  We draw deeply from the radical movement of the desert fathers as well as Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist  in order that we might love others out of the love we have first received from Jesus Himself. 2. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – EHS recovers a number of lost biblical themes often ignored in evangelical discipleship. These include  a theology of grieving (e.g. Psalms, Lamentations) and limits,  of breaking the sinful patterns of our family of origin and cultures, loving well and brokenness as the basis by which we. Read more.