True Discipleship Integrates Emotional and Spiritual Health. New Life Fellowship in Queens, New York, had it all: powerful teaching, dynamic ministries, an impressive growth rate, and a vision to do great works for God. Things looked good-but beneath the surface, circumstances were more than just brewing. They were about to boil over, forcing Peter Scazzero to confront needs in his church and himself that went deeper than he'd ever imagined. What he learned about the vital link between emotional health, relational depth, and spiritual maturity can shed new light on painful problems in your own church. Here are refreshing new insights, and a different and challenging slant on what it takes to lead your congregation to wholeness and maturity in Christ. Our churches are in trouble, says Scazzero. They are filled with people who are ·unsure how to biblically integrate anger, sadness, and other emotions ·defensive, incapable of revealing their weaknesses ·threatened by or intolerant of different viewpoints ·zealous about ministering at church but blind to their spouses' loneliness at home ·so involved in "serving" that they fail to take care of themselves ·prone to withdraw from conflict rather than resolve it Sharing from New Life Fellowship's painful but liberating journey, Scazzero reveals exactly how the truth can and does make people free-not just superficially, but deep down. After offering a new vision of discipleship and a revealing, guided self-assessment of your own spiritual and emotional maturity, The Emotionally Healthy Church takes you through six principles that can make a profound difference in your church. You'll acquire knowledge and tools that can help you and others · look beneath the surface of problems · break the power of past wounds, failures, sins, and circumstances · live a life of brokenness and vulnerability · recognize and honor personal limitations and boundaries · embrace grief and loss · make incarnation your model to love others. Written in a personal and passionate style, The Emotionally Healthy Church includes hands-on tools, discussion questions, spotlights on key points, and story after story of people at New Life whose lives have been changed by the concepts in this book. Open these pages, and find out how your church can turn a new corner on the road to spiritual maturity.
- This needs to catch on ...
The Emotionally Healthy Church is clearly written from a Pastor who is learning from the mistakes that he has made and contain three areas that I found particularly helpful: an honest admission that something is wrong, the comparison of two types of churches, and the reminder to slow down and lead with integrity.
Peter Scazzero opens the book with his own personal account of physical burn out that finally woke him from the stupor of trying to be everything. I found this penetrating because this is often how I tend to run. I find my own self pushing so hard right from work into work/vacations with my family that drive me to the brink of physical and emotional well-being. Perhaps to date only age has spared me the result Scazzero experienced, yet his account was enough to shake me. In fact as I read this portion I had just returned from assignment in the jungle where I had picked up an infection that manifested itself into three days of fever, swelling, nauseousness, head and body aches, which I am oddly counting as a blessing to slow down enough to get some reading done! This opening account may prove a helpful connecting point and warning to many leaders. I do hope that more leaders, including myself, would be more honest with themselves, their families, those they lead, and God about the reality of their situation. The inclusion of the example of Bob Pierce of World Vision even more effectively seals this call in the book.
The second area that I found particularly helpful in this book was the comparison of two types of churches. The seventh chapter of the book deals with a 3rd principle of living in brokenness and vulnerability. Here the author calls the readers to develop a theology of weakness that realizes the broken world because of sin and responds by being driven to our knees to seek God. This understanding I readily accept, but Peter Scazzero includes an eighteen row chart comparing two types people in churches. One is individuals in a church that are proud and defensive. The other is individuals in a church that are broken and vulnerable. I found this to be a challenging evaluation tool for my own life, revealing areas that remained proud and defensive.
The third area that I found beneficial in this book was the concluding chapter and its call to slow down to lead with integrity. So often I am caught in the belief that I need to do more. Even when trying to slow down or meditate on God, I will add to the disciplines or activities I am engaged in rather than really slowing down. I was struck by the several illustrations that the author used from Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and the warning of “being engaged in activity for God before the time is ripe” (page 206). As a younger man seemingly always anxious to get started, this is a very appropriate word for me. Also the temptation to allow the constant needs and pulls of ministry to pull one from Jesus, wife, children or life itself is painfully real. Having the courage to admit who, me, is really giving into this temptation and confess it and seek God's help was prompted by this book.
There is a world of ministry leaders and servants, including myself, who often resist, the penetrating look into ourselves that this book purposes to do. I hope that more are willing to act with the bravery needed to not just read, but apply and become mutually accountable to one another in changing a cultural that denies the Church of being emotionally healthy.
- Leadership Must
If you have any influence in a local church, community group or social gathering, this book is a must. In a world filled with broken and hurting people, the church must be a healthy environment for maturity to flourish. This book helps us take a critical, but necessary look at the dysfunctional, emotionally needy church and gives a healthy approach to spiritual and emotional maturity.