The fruit of a mature spirituality is to be an incarnational presence to another person. It was for Jesus. It is, I believe, for all his followers, especially for those of us in leadership. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus’ interactions with individuals — Matthew, Nathaniel, a prostitute, Nicodemus, a blind man, a Samaritan woman, and many others. When the rich young ruler came up to him, Jesus “looked at him and loved him.” He listened. He was present, never in a rush or distracted. He took the time to explore stories. When is the last time someone said to you, “Let me tell you about those Christians — they are fantastic listeners! I have never seen a group of ¬people more sincerely interested to know my world, who are curious, who ask questions — who actually listen to me!” Listening is not simply a key discipleship issue. It is a core. Read more.
One reason to regularly meditate on the life of Jesus is his modeling of mature, Spirit-filled leadership. We see this, for example, in his response to the massive defection of his followers after his bread of life sermon: “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went with him” (John 6:66). Jesus’ brothers panicked. He had lost thousands of followers and the movement appeared to be on the verge of extinction. They urged him to get to Jerusalem as soon as possible and regain momentum, to make an impression. “Do something. You’re losing everyone – leaders, crowds, disciples. Even we have our doubts!” Jesus, however, remained relaxed. This passage powerfully speaks to me because of how many times I have led out of anxiety and fear, especially in situations where it appeared momentum was waning. Jesus offers us 5 keys to becoming a relaxed leader: 1. Remember the sovereignty of. Read more.
The most painful lessons I’ve learned in thirty-five years of Christian leadership have involved the exercise of power and having wise boundaries. The minefields surrounding the use of power are rarely acknowledged, much less openly discussed, in Christian circles. How do I handle dual relationships (e.g. when I am both pastor, friend and employer)? What are the boundaries I need to set with people whom I serve? How do I respond when inappropriate people, at inappropriate times, exert power? These are only a few of the many issues around this critically important topic. In fact this was the impetus for me to write The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Take some time with the chart below. It will give a quick overview of the core issues around applying EHS to power and wise boundaries.PS Send me your comments and thoughts on Twitter @petescazzero.
We are now in our 20th year of cultivating emotionally healthy spirituality (EHS) into the soil of our local church here at New Life Fellowship in Queens, NYC. It has deepened and enriched every aspect of our life together. In the last two years, however, we have begun to intentionally and carefully bring EHS to the global church. God has brought churches from different languages, cultures, streams, movements, and countries to us looking to integrate EHS into their context. So we are early in our learning process. What do we know to be true? EHS must begin with leadership. When leaders teach EHS without living it, there is little fruit. EHS involves the transformation of an entire church culture; it is not a program. EHS equips the church in a deep, beneath the surface spirituality for the sake of long-term mission. This is a major shift for leaders. The EHS Pathway answers the long-standing. Read more.
A fundamental kingdom of God principle is that God’s ways are little and small. This smallness has been a scandal since Jesus’ day. Next to Herod’s massive Temple, the intellectuals of Athens, and Artemis’ temple in Ephesus, Jesus didn’t look like much. I can understand why Judas quit. I am learning this principle in a new and deeper way these past 12-24 months as the EHS movement has expanded remarkably around the world. I write from Asia where Geri and I are conducting 3 different EHS conferences for very large audiences in Singapore and Malaysia with participants from 19 countries. Last month we were in South Korea partnering with Onnuri church, an amazing global ministry with 75,000 members. And just a couple of months before that we were in Brazil with an outstanding Willow Creek Brazil team who are conducting EHS seminars around their country. Add to this the release of The Emotionally Healthy. Read more.
Why are endings and transitions so poorly handled in our ministries, organizations, and teams? Why do we often miss God’s new beginnings, the new work he is doing? In part because we fail to apply a central theological truth—that death is a necessary prelude to resurrection. To bear long-term fruit for Christ, we need to recognize that some things must die so something new can grow. If we do not embrace this reality, we will tend to dread endings in the same way our wider culture does, as signs of failure rather than opportunities for something new. You Know You’re Not Doing Endings and New Beginnings Well When . . . • You can’t stop ruminating about something from the past. • You use busyness as an excuse to avoid taking time to grieve endings and losses. • You have a hard time identifying your difficult feelings (sadness, fear, anger). • You often find. Read more.