For the first 17 years of my Christian life, my emotional life was completely divorced from my spiritual life. Or so I thought.
When sadness, anger, or disappointment surfaced from my soul, I did not see them as gifts. As a leader, I saw my emotions as interruptions to "my real work" – moving the church forward and reaching the lost!
As a result, I was not present with myself, with God, or with others. I saw my sadness as something to be overcome through prayer and Scripture. I would declare, "the joy of the Lord is my strength!" while ignoring the deep cries of my heart.
The truth is that emotions never die. They are only buried alive. They always resurface, leaking into other parts of our lives and relationships.
It took a work of God for this to change in my life and marriage. When my wife Geri and I discovered the permission to explore our emotional life, it was like opening up a dam. The world went from black and white to color almost overnight.
Emotionally healthy leaders see their emotions as invitations, not obstacles to the mission of God.
The fruit of this journey leads to less anxiety and more freedom in our lives, leadership, and relationships.
In today's podcast episode, my wife Geri and I share more about the skill of emotional discovery we call "Explore the Iceberg" in Emotionally Healthy Relationships.
Bottom line, your emotional life is a matter of life and death!
Leaders, by definition, are captivated by the future – moving forward, making progress, and changing the world.
But what many leaders fail to appreciate is that we are all anchored in our past. In other words, none of us are "blank slates". We each bring the blessings and curses of our families of origin (Exodus 20:5) into our relationships, churches, organizations, and businesses.
Emotionally healthy leaders understand that you cannot go forward without first going backward.
That is why the GENOGRAM is one of the core tools in both parts of the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship Course.
When I became a Christian, I believed I was a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17) and that I no longer needed to deal with my past. However, when I discovered the genogram tool, I found a new way to bring all of the baggage of my family of origin to Jesus to be changed.
The truth is – you cannot change what you are unaware of.
In today's podcast episode, Geri and I share our history with this powerful tool and how it helped us name the reality of our past to catalyze the transforming work of Jesus in our lives and leadership. Don't miss this one!
In over four decades of leadership, I've come to the conclusion that one of the biggest gaps in our leadership training comes down to one essential skill...
Creating safety where everyone around you feels empowered to communicate clearly and honestly.
Without this skill, church teams remain silenced - unable to speak truth and creating the conditions for an environment of frustration, resentment, and judgement.
On today's podcast, I'm joined by my wife Geri, as we explore the first of 8 essential relationship skills that every leader must adopt in order to unleash the God-given voice of our people.
We'll model a powerful skill called "Community Temperature Reading" and talk about how it applies to real life leadership scenarios.
Imagine leading a church where every staff, leader, and volunteer knows how to communicate clearly. Imagine a culture, where everyone feels safe to tell the truth and has the skills needed to do so. Imagine the unity that is possible when every voice is heard.
Take a listen to today's podcast.
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the fastest growing stream of the church is the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. In terms of overall numbers, it represents 644 million Christians world wide. This is 8.3% of the world population. By 2050, it will reach over 1 billion people. Unbelievable!
We need the power of God, gifts of the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders for the global mission of the church. Much of my personal spiritual and leadership journey was formed in the charismatic movement. We regularly experienced the outpouring of God's power in our church. It was electric.
And yet I was still proud, defensive, distant, not present, unable to connect relationally, conflict avoidant, unaware internally, and unloving. This disconnect is what led to the birth of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship.
In today's episode, I unpack 5 key contributions of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship that allow us to walk in the healthy, long-term release of God’s power.
For leaders, one of the most frustrating parts of decision-making is this...
Sure, sometimes quick decisions are necessary. But most consequential decisions (that shape the future of your life, church, and ministry) require the ability to slow down and wait. Usually for longer than is comfortable for you.
In order to let your judgments (discernments) come from deep within, you cannot in any way be pressed or hurried. You must wait.
To be clear, waiting does not mean you are doing nothing. You are doing the most important something there is. In today's podcast, I share more about what God is actually developing in you in times of waiting. Then I take time to address several questions listeners have submitted.
Decision-making is primarily about discernment. It's the ability to make decisions that align with God's will for your life and ministry.
The truth is - discernment is an art. It takes practice, attention, and a lifetime to develop.
But if there is one core practice that is the foundation of discernment, it is learning to pay attention to the movement of God in your own soul through consolations and desolations.
"Consolations and desolations" are terms offered by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits over 500 years ago to describe the inner feelings that move you toward God and the ones that take you away from God.
Leaders who are able to slow down and pay attention to the inner work of God will not only be effective, they will be able to lead from joy, rest, and freedom.
One of the primary tasks of spiritual leadership is the ability to make prayerful, wise decisions.
Yet many leaders find it difficult to invest the time and space necessary for sharp discernment. The result is that our decisions become dull, lacking precision and power. Over time, flippant decision-making inflicts tremendous consequences on us and those we lead.
In the first episode of this new podcast series, we discuss the importance of boundaries to keep us surrendered to God’s purposes. Why? Because any time God calls us to a specific work, the devil tempts us to live beyond our boundaries. This happens in every season of our life!
When we discern and yield to the gravity of God's purpose, life flourishes. This is the first step to becoming leaders who make sharp decisions.
Years ago, we were doing some strategic planning at the church I had founded in Queens, NY. We were reflecting on what contributed to our growth over a 26 year period.
A single word kept reappearing on the whiteboard - "BASEMENT"
How did we disciple so many quality leaders, many of whom are still leading today?
Hint: it wasn't what happened on the stage. It was what happened in the basement.
Matthew 28 tells us to "make disciples of all nations". But many leaders today feel a pressure to make their discipleship strategies big and public rather than small and hidden.
Jesus modeled a different way of making disciples. In fact, he flipped the entire thing upside down. In today's podcast, I share with you why real discipleship starts in the basement.
Affliction. It's a topic that nobody wants to talk about (including me).
But as it relates to TRUE LEADERSHIP, it is a costly mistake to avoid our afflictions. Why? Because this is how God matures us into spiritual mothers and fathers of the faith.
By "affliction," I'm referring to any kind of hurt, loss, betrayal, broken relationship, abandonment, or disorienting circumstance. While these are obviously things we don't want, they are also unavoidable.
Many of us run from our afflictions, seeing them as obstacles to our life and leadership. We distract, jump over, sidestep, and ignore. But Jesus called us to take up our cross and follow him. And when you're on the cross, you can't just jump off!
The good news is that God doesn't abandon us in our hardships. In fact – if we're willing to PAY ATTENTION, God uses our afflictions to develop us into the type of leaders worth following.
Take a listen to today's podcast episode.
One of the greatest threats to leading with joy is giving into the temptation of overcommitment.
When our lives are crowded, cluttered, and cramped, it is difficult to hear God and live in loving union with Him. The irony is, we can "fit in" regular practices of Sabbath and silence while still being driven by an overscheduled life.
But how do we resist this temptation?
Silence, solitude, and sabbath must become our practices.
AND spaciousness must become our mindset.
In order to live spacious lives, we must avoid the critical traps that keep us settling for an overcommitted life.
On today's podcast, I identify several traps that keep you from the gift of spaciousness and offer wisdom that will help you live with a renewed sense of joy.
Many leaders today "know" the importance of a slowed-down spirituality.
So why do so many continue to feel overloaded and over scheduled, often working 3 jobs, taking on new side hustles, and remain driven by the fear of missing out? Why can't we stop overcommitting?
Listen, I know this struggle firsthand. And I've found that it goes deeper than knowing intellectually and theologically the right thing to do.
Recently we crossed an unbelievable threshold with the Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast with over 10 million lifetime podcast downloads. I couldn't be more surprised, humbled, and thankful for this milestone moment.
I say "surprised" because back in 1996, when we first started, the term "emotional health" was considered heretical in much of the church!
Now 25 years later, we can see that the cultural landscape has changed dramatically. Not only is emotional health received, but in many ways, it is now considered a promotional buzzword.
In today's podcast, I share my observations of what I consider 3 counterfeit versions of emotional health that we settle for, but then cast a vision for an authentic life with God.
I was recently asked by someone...
"Pete, if you could go back and give yourself advice in the different seasons of life and ministry, what would you say?"
The truth is – every decade has its own unique invitations. As I reflected, I realized that I would say something slightly different to myself at 25, 35, 45, and even 55.
Today on the podcast, I share with you some fresh insights as I look back on my own journey and development. While my journey is different than yours, I'm hoping you'll be able to learn from my lessons - both the good and the bad!
I was 19 when I came to Christ and started my training as a Christian leader.
As a young leader, I was taught many valuable things. But nobody told me about the most powerful gift leaders can bring to those they lead.
But I've learned (through my own failures) that the greatest gift leaders can actually give is becoming an "incarnational presence" – being DEEPLY PRESENT with people like Jesus.
In today's podcast episode, we look at the norm for most churches and leaders, but then we'll explore the beauty of what can happen in our church cultures when we learn to lead in this way.
I encourage you to watch our full training video online in our Leader's Training Vault. It's completely free and only takes one minute to register.
For now, you can listen to today's episode here...
As a pastor or leader, your primary role is to develop and disciple others.