Recently I've been reading a book called The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. In his book, Peter proposes a new paradigm for leadership and discipleship that zeroes in on the vital link between emotional health, relational depth, and spiritual maturity. Peter asserts that leaders have always been encouraged to maintain their spiritual vitality through Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship. But less emphasis has been placed on emotional growth and well-being. Based on his own painful personal journey, he offers some valuable tools to help you and others look beneath the surface of problems, break the power of past wounds and failures, live a life of brokenness and vulnerability, recognize personal limitations and boundaries, and make Christ's incarnation your model to love others.
Addressing pastors and leaders, he gives this important word of exhortation:
The overall health of any church or ministry depends primarily on the emotional and spiritual health of its leadership. In fact, the key to successful leadership has much more to do with the leader's internal life than with the leader's expertise, gifts or experience.
Peter speaks of the personal breakthrough in his marriage and ministry when he was willing to strip off the heavy spiritual veneer of "being good enough" and gave himself the "permission to feel" and look beneath the surface of his imbalanced life. This is a needed word for pastors today. People are looking for authenticity, and it must start with us leaders. Leaders who are willing to be brutally honest and vulnerable in their journey towards emotional and spiritual maturity.
One Christian leader said, "I wish I had read this book when I was starting out as a pastor many years ago. It might have saved me many nights of tears." So, do yourself (and your church) a favor and read this book!
DISCLAIMER: As I've read a litte more of this book I've noted how the author leaves out the primary means of growing in emotional and spiritual maturity--the gospel. Instead of looking inward to draw out all of our unexplored and unacceptable sins, we must first and foremost look to the cross. Too much introspection can draw a person to look to themselves as the main agent for change instead of Christ and His Spirit living in us.
- Take The Spiritual and Emotional Maturity Inventory to get a sense of whether your discipleship has touched the emotional components of your life.
- Register for the Pastor's Conference: Emotional Healthy Spirituality in You, Your Marriage, and Your Church
- Read the 9 Marks Review of this book
- Check out more resources at The Emotionally Healthy website