I hate conflicts and difficult meetings – like 99% of the other leaders I know. My first reaction is to ignore, distract, rationalize, or blame someone – anything to avoid investing the necessary time and energy required to remove this “roadblock.” Over the years, however, I have discovered deep gifts hidden in conflicts – provided we allow Jesus into the inner closets of old hurts, sealed-off infections, fear, and shame this new relational tension may touch inside us. Consider Jacob. As a young man, he uses deceit to steal the birthright and blessing that rightfully belonged to his older brother, Esau. After 25 years with no contact between them, Jacob begins a journey back home. He decides to face the conflict head on and reconcile with Esau – if he can. In the midst of his fears about what might happen, a man, probably the pre-incarnate Jesus, wrestles with Jacob and strikes his hip. Read more.
We have to acknowledge we are confronting a growing number of “American Dream” believers in our churches. They are believers in Jesus but not necessarily disciples. They’ve accepted Him as their Savior. They attend church faithfully. They contribute financially and occasionally serve. But they are not disciples (in the biblical sense of the word) who orient their entire lives to follow Jesus, surrendering to His will and love, allowing Him to change him/her for the sake of the world. Their decisions, priorities, and commitments are shaped by their pursuit of the American Dream for them and their family. A typical “Rule of Life” for a father of two may look something like the chart below: Os Guiness has written that, due to the combination of capitalism, technology, and modern communications, the most powerful civilization ever—a global culture—has been formed. This global culture is the beast (as described in the Book of Revelation) that threatens. Read more.
Christian marriage (in contrast to secular marriage) is a paradigm shift so radical that it transforms our leadership, our relationships, our parenting, our decision-making, our team building, our missional strategies, etc. Virtually nothing remains the same once we “get” this shift. The chart below lays out the contrast between the two: May God give us grace to develop marriages that are a sign and wonder that point to Jesus and offer a visible picture of the depth of God’s love for the world. –Pete Twitter @petescazzero
The wide disconnect between our spirituality and emotional health remains one of the greatest challenges in the church today, especially among us as leaders. The following is a modified, slimmed down version of the widely used EHS Personal Assessment found on our website. (We will be using this with our small group on Thursday night). It is also found in The Emotionally Healthy Relationships Course. The following list of statements offer a brief assessment of where you are on the continuum of being an emotionally mature Christian. Next to each statement, write down the number that best describes your response. Use the following scale: 5 = Always true of me 4 = Frequently true of me 3 = Occasionally true of me 2 = Rarely true of me 1 = Never true of me _____ 1. I am deeply convinced I am loved by Christ, and do not inappropriately borrow that love from others.. Read more.
Creating healthy cultures and teams are among the most important tasks for every leader, especially Christian leaders. Why? The kind of cultures God has called us to create and develop is radically different than that of the world. Next week on Tuesday, March 8th, I will be offering a free Webinar on this theme. Click HERE to register. While building culture is more an art than a science, a few characteristics are indispensable to emotionally healthy culture and team building. Work Performance and Personal Spiritual Formation are Inseparable The Elephants in the Room are Acknowledged and Confronted Time and Energy are Invested in the Team’s Personal Spiritual Development The Quality of People’s Marriages and Singleness is Foundational What I love most about these live Webinars is the time dedicated to real life case studies and Q & A. It takes beyond the main points written into the crucible of nuanced. Read more.
We want deep churches where people are transformed. We also want wide churches that grow rapidly in numbers. The problem is that these two values are often incompatible. Think about it. Let’s say you are committed to bridging racial barriers in the church. That requires you slow down enough to listen to people’s stories, to ponder the complexity of structural and personal racism, to wrestle with issues of power and privilege, to read history and perspectives different than your own. Let’s take sexuality, singleness, and marriage. You can offer a class for 300 people at a time, touching broad theological issues at the 10,000-foot level. The problem, however, is that the issues are highly complex and nuanced. Each person and marriage has personal questions and struggles that require one-on-one conversations. The very preparation for this kind of formation slows you down. Think about the breadth of what is involved in a person’s formation in. Read more.