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The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast

Many pastors and church leaders today feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated that their churches don’t seem to be making mature disciples. The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast explores the paradigms and practices leaders need to transform their church culture and multiply deeply changed disciples.
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The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast
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May 14, 2024

🎯 FREE TEAM TRAINING: Grow a healthy team culture with our team transformation videos
https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/team

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One of the most difficult and nuanced callings is serving as a board member of a church or ministry. This role is both legal and spiritual, affecting the entire church culture. Very few are trained to do it well.

Sadly, often it is only after a crisis or scandal that people realize the "Board" was not really functioning, trained, or doing what they were entrusted to do.

But the truth is – that healthy, thriving, flourishing churches have healthy, thriving, flourishing boards.

In today's podcast episode, I outline the 7 must-have qualities for building an emotionally healthy board. When your board gets these 7 things right, everyone in your church wins for the long haul.

Apr 30, 2024


📺 FREE WEBINAR: Develop High-Impact Leaders in Your Church
Get a roadmap to disciple the next generation of leaders. Register for the next webinar:
https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/highimpact/

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Pastors and leaders want to make an exponential impact for Jesus.

We often spend our energy on what will affect the most amount of people. So we prepare cutting-edge weekend services, craft sermons for large groups, publish social posts that we hope will have a viral reach, all while squeezing in time for people when we can.

But when we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he focused his time on a few. In fact, he turned the world upside-down by concentrating his ministry on 12 men!

In today's podcast, I answer common questions like "How do I choose just 3 or 12 disciples?", "Who should I be looking for? (and, who should I avoid?), and "What do I actually do with them?"

This is not easy and fast work, but when we get this right, the church will be transformed.

Apr 16, 2024

✅ How Healthy is Your Leadership? Take this short and free quiz to find out. // https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/leadership-assessment/

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The quality of the people who surround you will determine the success of your leadership. Because there is undeniable loneliness in leadership, it is ever more important that we evaluate our relationships on a regular basis.

Sadly, far too many pastors and leaders choose to go it alone, or surround themselves with foolish counsel (in the form of wrong relationships)

That's why in today's podcast, I explore the five types of relationships you need in your life in order to flourish as a leader or pastor.

Honestly, I wish I had this list 30 years ago. It would have saved me from confusion, foolish decision-making, and unnecessary isolation!
Apr 2, 2024

✅ FREE EMOTIONAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT: In 15 Minutes, Discover How Emotionally Mature You Are 
https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/mature

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In this episode, we explore a topic that's as old as leadership itself: the loneliness that often accompanies the role of leadership.

From the slowness of change to the weight of difficult decisions, from the sting of criticism to the ache of betrayal, leadership can often feel like a solitary journey. But we can take heart because all throughout the Scriptures leaders have grappled with this very same loneliness.
 
And yet, loneliness can become destructive when it turns into isolation. 
 
In today's episode, I share 4 critical steps that leaders must take to navigate loneliness while remaining healthy and whole.
 
Mar 19, 2024


📣 FREE E-BOOK: 8 Practices of Emotionally Healthy Preaching & Teaching 🌟
Learn the essential practices to deliver sermons with depth and power.
https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/preaching

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Leadership is a crucible through which God is changing YOU into a new kind of person. Throughout your leadership journey you will be taken through a series of fires or tests from God that exists to purify you from the inside out.
 
In today's podcast, I share about the many tests you WILL encounter if you haven't already. If you are not prepared for these tests, you will stumble and drown in discouragement. If you are prepared for these tests, you will be transformed into the image of Christ.

Mar 5, 2024

A course won't change your church.
Neither will a book, a podcast, or a sermon series.

So the question is, how do people truly change?

This is a question every pastor and leader needs to answer. Over the years of my pastoral ministry, and even today, one thing I've noticed is how often we UNDERESTIMATE the personal time, presence, and intentionality it takes to disciple people into transformation in Jesus.

True change is slow because it is relational. Change does not happen on an assembly line.

Over the past several weeks on the podcast, I've shared with you the importance of reclaiming a spacious life - one that is not rushed, crammed, or overscheduled. Many leaders are coming to understand this as it relates to their PERSONAL life and walk with God.

But today I want to share with you about creating spaciousness for OTHERS. I believe it's the secret ingredient our churches need to experience deep communal fruitfulness.

Feb 20, 2024

As leaders, we know that PRAYER is the heartbeat of life in Christ. But often, our vision of prayer can become lop-sided, leading to a heavy weight on our shoulders.

For my first 17 years as a Christian, I had a one-dimensional view of prayer. I thought prayer was a tool I was supposed to use to make God's kingdom come. So I would devote 6-8 hours a week in prayer meetings, interceding for revival and believing that unless I prayed, God wouldn't come. I thought that was what Jesus called us to.

But over time I learned to see something different in the prayer life of Jesus. The gospel of Luke highlights a way of being with God that is less about striving and more about attunement.  It is true that prayer DOES require perseverance and devotion, but for reasons different than we think.

In today's podcast we explore the prayer life of Jesus and what that means for us today.

Feb 6, 2024
Leaders in a digital age face a unique pressure to always be in front.
Our social media platforms entice us to be seen, to be recognized, and to be liked.

Underneath this is a lie that to be hidden is to be forgotten, and to be unknown is to be unloved. This is why one of the greatest temptations leaders face is self-promotion. 

Even Jesus faced this very temptation in the wilderness, yet rightly perceived it as a deadly trap from the evil one. Like Jesus, we must resist the many ways we are tempted to elevate our name and ministries into prominence.

  • Is all self-promotion really sinful? 
  • Aren't we called to reach people?
  • How do we live and lead publicly without being robbed of joy and contentment?

I address these questions and more on today's podcast episode.
Jan 23, 2024

In 2024, church leaders will be sifted left and right.

Mature from immature.
Wise from foolish.
Substantial from surface level.

This I know – the most effective leaders (and the ones worth following) will draw a line in the sand and put a full stop to accepting a rushed, cluttered, and constricted life.

They will reject speed, crowds, and noise in favor of a graceful, unrushed way of life. I call this lifestyle "spaciousness". It's one of the secret weapons of true spiritual mothers and fathers of the faith.

On today's podcast, I explore the theme of spaciousness, making applications for how leaders can resist the way of the world, and decisively shift into a new way of life with Jesus.

Jan 9, 2024

Leaders in 2024 are facing pressures and challenges greater than any other in my lifetime.

Elections, wars, rumors of wars, economic pressure, global instability, scandals, artificial intelligence, etc.

This may seem overwhelming, but there is a unique opportunity before us. As leaders, this will require the decision to radically re-align ourselves to God's purposes and plans in the world today.

On today's podcast, I share some personal reflections on what I believe "radical realignment" looks like and then offer 3 specific invitations from God in this season.

Dec 26, 2023
As we approach 2024, there couldn't be a better time to revisit your discipleship strategy. Here's why...

In North America, we are ramping up towards another election year. For most Americans, this has become a time of increased anxiety, stress, and relational volatility. As a culture, we lack the tools to have difficult conversations (especially political ones) without resorting to blaming, name-calling, avoiding, and "dirty fighting."

Sadly, we do this in the church as well.

For the first 17 years of my Christian walk, this was all I ever knew. I simply mirrored what I learned from my family of origin. My mother yelled and screamed. My father was an appeaser who later exploded in anger. I learned to become an appeaser, which cost me dearly in my marriage, leadership, and church.

For both Geri and I, we had to completely re-learn what it looks like to fight (and negotiate differences) in the new family of Jesus. We now call this skill "Clean Fighting Vs. Dirty Fighting".

I'm convinced every pastor, leader, and church needs this one skill to flourish in 2024.  
 
In today's podcast episode, my wife Geri and I share more about the ins and outs of "Clean Fighting", the final and most important skill of Emotionally Healthy Relationships
Dec 12, 2023
We're in the thick of the holiday season – a time full of joy, yet jam-packed with people, parties, and productions.

This season has a dizzying effect on everyone - but especially leaders. One temptation is to put a smile on our face while skimming over the frustrations, disappointments, and other inner workings of our souls.

We have people and situations that are bothering us at a core level, but rather than leaning into difficult and heartfelt conversations, we choose instead to avoid them. When we do this, we step out of integrity.

This was how I operated for years as a pastor. I had people that were getting under my skin, but no tools to communicate what I was feeling in a healthy way. I chose instead to pretend I was feeling one way when secretly I was angry.

Take a moment to reflect. Is there a situation that is bothering you? 
  • A staff member is chronically late to team meetings
  • Your children are texting during a family meal
  • A volunteer is saying they are doing their role, but they clearly are not
  • A church elder or board member is living a non-exemplary life
  • Someone dropped the ball on getting out promotions for your Christmas Eve service.
Chances are, you have plenty of other examples.

To live and lead with integrity, we must be able to disentangle our emotions and values so we communicate them to others in a healthy way.

This is why my wife Geri and I developed a tool called the "Ladder of Integrity". It's a series of questions that we use to identify our emotions, values, and hopes. This allows us to communicate to others with clarity and kindness.
 
In today's podcast episode, my wife Geri and I share more about climbing the Ladder of Integrity, an essential skill of Emotionally Healthy Relationships
Nov 28, 2023
To be an emotionally healthy leader requires many skills, practices, and rhythms. Over the last several weeks, we've explored many relationship skills that are non-negotiable for leaders.

But if there is just ONE skill I'm convinced every leader must master, it's "Incarnational Listening."

David Augsberger wrote, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”

When you master this relationship skill,
  • Your spouse and friends will feel seen and heard.
  • Your staff and volunteers will feel like you get them.
  • Your church will experience you as compassionate and present.
  • Your love for others will grow exponentially.
In today's podcast episode, my wife Geri and I share more about the skill of "Incarnational Listening" that is a part of Emotionally Healthy Relationships

I want to encourage you. This is one of the toughest skills to do well, but when you stick with it, I guarantee you it will change everything.
Nov 14, 2023

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!

Oct 31, 2023

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!

Oct 17, 2023
When was the last time someone let you down?
Or can you think of a recent moment where YOU let someone else down?
I'll bet the catalyst of these disappointments comes down to one thing -  unmet expectations.

The truth is – unclear and unmet expectations have the power to rip apart relationships, divide staff teams, blow up families, and sink entire churches. That's why expectations are a matter of life and death!

There are 4 primary ways expectations go wrong:
  • Your expectation is unconscious. You didn't even know you had an expectation until it was violated.
  • Your expectation is unrealistic. It is not reasonable given the person or circumstance.
  • Your expectation is unspoken. You did not clearly articulate your expectation to another person.
  • Your expectation is un-agreed upon. The other person never agreed to follow-through with your expectation.
The good news is – this can all be remedied by learning the life-saving skill of Clarifying Expectations.

On today's podcast, I'm joined by my wife Geri, as we explore the third of 8 essential relationship skills that every leader must adopt in order to love and lead like Jesus.

Take a listen to today's podcast.
Oct 3, 2023
Leadership can be a painful journey - especially in a church or ministry that depends on the depth and quality of the relationships within.

Yet, in over 4 decades of leadership, I've found that so much of this pain is completely UNNECESSARY.

Why? Because much of the pain we experience is the fruit of wrong assumptions.

Assumptions are like a dragon that seeks to destroy our well-being.

·      People quit their jobs over wrong assumptions
·      Churches split over wrong assumptions
·      Couples divorce over wrong assumptions
·      Families stop talking to one another over wrong assumptions.

When you and I make assumptions about others without checking them out, it’s easy to start telling ourselves stories about them in our heads that are not true. We are bearing false witness in our own thoughts, resulting in damaged relationships. 

The principle is simple: NEVER assume you know what a person is thinking or feeling.   
 
On today's podcast, I'm joined by my wife Geri, as we explore the second of 8 essential relationship skills that every leader must adopt in order to unleash the God-given voice of our people.

This skill is called "STOP MIND READING", and once you learn this, it could very well save your life and ministry.

Take a listen to today's podcast.
Sep 19, 2023

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.

Sep 5, 2023
Could you forgive someone if you knew they murdered your entire family?

It sounds far-fetched. But this is the question posed in As We Forgive - a documentary about the tragedies of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the stories of two women as they came face to face with the men who killed their families.

It provoked the question - Would I be capable of forgiving my enemies like this?

This is the center point of Jesus' most shocking, counterintuitive teaching - "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

In saying this, Jesus set a new benchmark for love. He turned the new world order upside down. For Christians, the key distinguishing mark of spiritual maturity is the way we love our enemies.

In today's podcast, I walk through the 3 reasons our love often stops short of this measurement, and what we can do to deepen the way we love others.

(Hint, this is all a precursor for where we'll be headed over the next several weeks of the podcast!) 
 
Aug 22, 2023
Language builds culture.

Recently on the podcast, I shared 5 timeless leadership axioms - portable and powerful phrases that have become adopted by emotionally healthy leaders all around the world.

For example..."Jesus may be in your heart, but grandpa is in your bones".

It's an easier (and more playful) way of getting at the truth that everyone is deeply affected by their family of origin, going back hundreds of years.

Today on the podcast, I continue this series by sharing 5 new axioms that I believe you will find helpful. These leadership sayings are extremely useful to adopt as you build a healthy team and church culture.

I pray you will memorize them, ponder them, and make space to allow the biblical truth to penetrate you.
Aug 8, 2023
Movements with longevity are sustained through shared, easily understood language.

This most often comes through the development of axioms - short, memorable phrases that capture the essence of truth in simple ways.

Reflecting on the last two decades of leading Emotionally Healthy Discipleship, I've been able to identify at least 10 core axioms (probably more like 25!) that have stood the test of time. In many ways, they are a "cliff-notes" introduction to an emotionally healthy church culture.

In today's podcast, I share the first 5 timeless axioms that have shaped the culture of what we call Emotionally Healthy Leadership. (ie. "Jesus may be in your heart, but grandpa is in your bones."

If you are a leader, these axioms are extremely helpful to use with your teams as simple ways to build a healthy team and church culture.

I pray you will memorize them, ponder them, and make space to allow the biblical truth to penetrate you.
 
Jul 25, 2023

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 unlovingThis 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. 

Jul 11, 2023

For leaders, one of the most frustrating parts of decision-making is this...

It....takes....time.

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.

Jun 27, 2023

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.

Jun 13, 2023

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.

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