Anxious. Frustrated. Annoyed. Angry. Resentful. These are emotional states that describe our leadership more often than we care to admit. Relaxed is not an adjective I hear often to describe us as Christian leaders. Consider this important case study of Moses. Moses worked and waited for almost forty years to enter the Promised Land. Having started with 603,550 men to manage — not to mention all the women and children — Moses’ and Aaron’s patience was repeatedly tested to the limit by a seemingly endless barrage of complaints. When the people cry about their lack of food and water and accuse Moses of bringing them out into the desert to die, Moses is livid. At this point, he is also exhausted and has little capacity to manage his anger and resentment. Imagine the scene as he loses his cool: The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather. Read more.
Rich Villodas, who is now Lead Pastor of New Life Fellowship, led one of the workshops at our recent Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference on “Emotionally Healthy Preaching.” Once again, it made a large impact on all who attended. One of Rich’s greatest gifts to the larger body of Christ is, I believe, in the art of preaching. The following is the core of what he shared: Preaching is foremost not about preaching. It’s about a life with God; a life of integrity, out of which we speak. This is the core of emotionally healthy preaching. Like many pastors and preachers, I love the art and science of preaching. I work hard for stories and illustrations that make biblical content accessible to our congregation. I work hard to understand the text exegetically. I think critically about how a passage of Scripture applies in our NYC context. All of these things are important. In addition to. Read more.
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.
On Good Friday we remember that at the cross Jesus wipes away our sins, becoming a global magnet that draws the whole world to Himself. Good Friday also reminds me that embracing endings (deaths) and new beginnings (resurrections) is the pattern of life for every Christian. Nothing new takes place without an ending. A real ending—a final death—often feels like disintegration, falling apart, a coming undone. It feels that way because that is what death is. It is an ending that requires walking through a completely dark tunnel, not knowing when or if any light will come again. If we embrace these losses for the severe mercies they are, God does a profound work in us and through us in ways that are similar to what the apostle Paul describes as “death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor. 4:12). As a person who tends to resist. 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.