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Church History Matters: Discover How Our Past Has the Power to Shape Our Future

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Tag Archives: contemplative spirituality

Why Church History Matters for Discipleship Today

I love our evangelical stream in Christian history and would not be here writing or leading without it. Yet our emphasis on activity, now joined by the speed of change around us, has resulted in Christ-followers and churches without much depth. We need to learn about slowing down for loving union with Christ in a way that is powerful enough to transform us – and the people we serve. This requires we travel into different territory outside our tradition as evangelicals/Protestants and learn from church history and other Christians very different than ourselves. Let me invite you to download this free e-book on why church history matters for a discipleship that deeply changes lives in our churches today. It represents the fruit of over twenty years of study and thought. And I pray that the powerful truths on these pages will profoundly change your life and leadership as they have changed mine. Warmly, Pete. Read more.

Emotionally Healthy Vacations

Vacations offer a unique opportunity to integrate and apply our theology. But like all areas of discipleship (e.g. relationships, sexuality, work, singleness, marriage, retirement, money), this requires intentionality. Otherwise, we fall into the pattern of doing vacations like our family of origin or the wider culture. Each of us comes into vacations differently. Some of us, for example, have small children, aging parents, a special needs child, or severe financial constraints. Moreover, each of us has a specific temperament, personality, and set of passions. Last year, I wrote a blog entitled Turning Your Vacations into Sabbaticals, applying the principles of weekly Sabbaths to our vacations. Here I want to offer you five words, or principles, that have helped Geri and I structure our “vacations” each year: Prayer. This is so obvious that we easily miss it! Take time to be still before the Lord and listen (Ps 37:7). You may be surprised. Thoughtfulness. Wise. Read more.

Turning Vacations into Sabbaticals

Each of us takes a vacation every year, for one, two, three, or more weeks. The problem, however, is that we take on the culture’s view of “vacations,” treating them simply as days off away from work. Let me suggest a larger biblical perspective, one that sees them as Sabbatical gifts from the Lord our God. Once Geri and I began to do so 12 years ago, it completely transformed the way we prepared and planned. We began to receive our vacations as annual gifts from God that resembled the ancient Jew’s participation in the festivals of their day (the three national feasts of Pentecost, Booths, and Passover). We simply applied the four characteristics that defined our weekly twenty-four-hour Sabbaths – stopping work, enjoying rest, practicing delight, and contemplating God – to our vacations. Remember, the purpose of all earthly life and matter is to lead us to communion with God. The entire cosmos. Read more.

Success

Success is first and foremost doing what God has asked us to do, doing it his way, and in his timing. Years ago, when I was first wrestling with redefining success, I imagined what it might be like to come before God’s throne at the end of my earthly life and say, “Here, God, is what I have done for you. New Life now has 10,000 people.” Then he would respond, “Pete, I love you, but that was not what I gave you to do. That task was for a pastor in another part of New York.” Have you ever considered that your ministry, organization, or team may be growing and yet actually failing? Think with me for a moment about some of God’s faithful and, hence, most successful leaders: Jesus said of John the Baptist, “Among those born of women none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28). Yet, if we were to create. Read more.

Why Transformation Takes So Long!

Last week at our two-day EHS Consultant Training, Wendy Seidman shared Bloom’s taxonomy of how people learn to help us understand why it takes so long for individuals and church/ministry cultures to “get” EHS. The following is her adaptation of Bloom’s classic work on the process people need to move through to really “get” something like EHS: 1- Aware. People hear about EHS for the first time (e.g. Sabbath, slowing down, past’s impact on the present, grieving, learning to feel). 2- Ponder. People think about it, trying to understand or sort through issues as they gather more information. At this point they don’t have a clear inclination for or against it. (e.g. They continue reading, listen to messages, go through the EHS Course, learn a few EHS Skills, talk about Sabbath with others). 3- Value. People think it’s important, find value in it, and commit to it, saying, “I really believe in this EHS. Read more.

An Interview I did with Bill Hybels

Hey everyone, here’s a Defining Moments interview I did recently with Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. I had a great time with him.  They’re a fantastic ministry whose partnership I am thoroughly enjoying with the Willow Creek Association. Click on this link for the interview: Emotionally Healthy Leadership (MP3) Bill Hybels and Peter Scazzero This recording is from Defining Moments, Willow Creek Association’s monthly audio journal for church leaders. Description: Your leadership is affected more than you may imagine by the your emotional health. Listen to Bill Hybels and Pete Scazzero, Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NY and author of The Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality discuss ways to assess your own emotional health, the affects of your emotional health on the teams you lead, and steps you can take to improve.