One of the high points of our EH Leadership Conference this past week was Geri’s opening message around Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. The following is an excerpt. “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Nicodemus, one of the top spiritual leaders of all Israel, seems clueless to the deep transformational spirituality that Jesus is talking about. Jesus looks at him with a bit of shock and says: “How can it be that you’re a leader in God’s Kingdom and… You have little or no emotional connection with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, or congregation You have not had emotional or physical intimacy with your spouse for weeks, months, years You intimidate others with your anger You are defensive, critical, and judgmental You avoid. Read more.
We make plans and decisions every day as leaders. Three great dangers, however, often torpedo our best intentions and efforts: We Define Success Too Narrowly In churches, we tend to define success by such things as attendance, finances (giving, meeting or exceeding budget, etc.), decisions for Christ, baptisms, numbers participating in small groups or other ministry programs, etc. If we work for a non-profit or in the marketplace, we might measure increased market share, program expansion, or numbers of people served. When the numbers are up, we’re successful; when the numbers are down, we’re not. Numbers can be valid as a measure of fruitfulness for God, but using numbers to define success is not without its dangers. The problem is when the portion of our time and energy devoted to thinking about external issues far exceeds the amount of time and energy we devote to internal measures of transformation such as the depth of. Read more.
The Holy Spirit has created, I believe, a holy discontent with our contemporary spiritual formation models that are not changing lives deeply. Without genuine, authentic testimonies of people profoundly transformed by Jesus Christ, our mission, strategies and plans will ultimately fall short. Let me begin by affirming: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim.1:15). This being said, I remain passionate as you might be, that the church be transformed into all Jesus Christ has called her to be. In the past few years, a growing number of pastors, leaders and others have reached out to us in their efforts to live out a radical discipleship paradigm that remains solidly evangelical and missional, while at the same time, integrates the riches of contemplative spirituality and emotional health. I seek to do this in my context at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NYC with people from. Read more.
As I was reading Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, by Peter Steinke (an excellent read), I began to wonder. Are we being honest about the depth nor extent of the fundamental illness afflicting our leadership of the church in the 21st century? Maybe better said, am I being honest with myself? As we work with denominations and pastors, many of whom are now doing the church-wide initiative in emotionally healthy spirituality, it is becoming increasingly clear that the call to slow down our lives so we have integrity, is much more comprehensive and far-reaching than we initially realized. Our faulty training and models for church leadership have so negatively shaped us that, to sustain long-term change, we need an enormous inward passion from within and external support for a new direction. Steinke cites an illustration out of the medical field. For thousands of years, women were dying of fever at childbirth. This. Read more.
This past weekend Geri and I led another weekend for our small group around sexuality and spiritual formation. Once again, it confirmed to us that our sexuality lies at the heart of our spirituality and walk with Christ. We began this journey in early 1996 when we launched into emotionally healthy spirituality and remain convinced, that “as goes the leader’s sex life, so goes the church.” It is a startling conclusion, especially when we consider the state of discipleship aruond our sexuality in the church today (it is virtually non-existent for married couples). When I read a few months ago, for example, that spouses were encouraged to have sex for 30 days straight in order to improve their marriages, I was aghast. That is very long way from the biblical view of our sexuality, our humanity and God’s purposes. The following are a few thoughts we considered this past weekend: Our sexuality is all. Read more.