Arte Davis recently shared this post on his blog. Have you taken inventory lately on your emotional health? – STEVE

Posted on December 20th, by ARTIE DAVIS

After getting hit in the head with a bat…

it seems you would learn not walk in front of the person swinging one at you. Well, I guess I’m not that bright!

After many years of trying to be the most Kingdom building, productive, caring, loving and reproducing leader, I have been forced to face this…

Emotional Health…Trumps all Else!

We’re created in God’s image. God is an emotional being and so are we. We talk a lot about caring for ourselves in many ways:

Financially, etc…

But, if you don’t take care of yourself, and stay healthy emotionally, you can kill off everything else in your life!
That is the only area I’ve found with that kind of killing power…
in the life of a human being. Once you allow yourself to become so emotionally un-healthy, it’s almost, if not impossible for all the other areas of your life to suffer tremendous harm.
Sick Emotions Kill Relationships

Emotionally unhealthy people withdraw, they criticize unfairly and carry bitterness and unforgiveness. These kill relationships, no matter how close or far. From marriage to distant friendships.

If we are weak emotionally, we can destroy precious relationships (Been there done that!)
Sick Emotions Kill Finances

Ever hear of a mid-life crisis? An unwarranted spending binge? An unexpected bankruptcy? I’ve seen all these in those close to me, and it’s horrible. Emotionally un-healthy people, make un-healthy and dangerous financial decisions.

If you aren’t well emotionally, ask a trusted family member or friend before you make ANY major changes or purchases.
Sick Emotions Kill Passion

We are to be a passionate people. Passionate for God, for the things of God and the people of God, and those who don’t know God. All this passion takes takes incredible emotional strength. In fact, emotional strength is the ONLY thing that can fuel the passion we need.

So if we don’t care for our emotional health, our passion dies!
Sick Emotions Kill Physically

Believe it or not. Stress, anxiety and depression lead to an early, and I mean very early and painful end! Don’t go there. Your emotions are directly tied to how you feel, heal and move physically.

Emotions can wreck your body, from the inside out.

I have been un-healthy emotionally (Hit in the head with a bat) more than once! But no more! I will do WHATEVER it takes to stay healthy emotionally. I challenge you to do the same. To much is riding on our emotional health to neglect it?

So, seriously…How are you doing emotionally? See any danger signs? How can I help?Arte Davis recently shared this post on his blog. Have you taken inventory lately on your emotional health?



Tom Spivey has shared some important insights on staff reviews and their part in transformational leadership – STEVE

By Tim Spivey

It’s staff review time at New Vintage Church. To some, the idea of “reviewing” staff sounds a bit corporate. It certainly can be. However, it doesn’t have to be depersonalized and cold. It can be a time of the year staff actually looks forward to. In my next post, I’ll share with you how we do ours at NVC. Before that, however, I’d like to encourage you to do it. Over the years, I’ve found them a vital ministry tool. Here’s why:

It keeps communication flowing. It’s amazing to me how many churches either don’t do reviews at all, or make them a monologue from “employer” to “employee.” No one likes an annual beating or reminder of where they are on the proverbial totem pole. However, most ministers I know welcome the opportunity to hear how you think they’re doing, and have an open dialogue about they’re area of ministry over a few hours. Staff reviews are important if for no other reason than this: you and the staff get to practice speaking to one another constructively about awkward subjects. It’s going to be easier to talk about “job performance” or delicate ministry issues throughout the year when you do it more regularly.

It’s a chance to say “Thank you.” All staff have done some praiseworthy things. They deserve to know what those things are. It only blesses people to hear, “Well done.” Do it as often as you can.

It’s a chance to offer correction or “tweaks” if necessary. Even the greatest ministers I’ve ever worked with have things they can improve on. In a healthy staff culture, it will be understood everyone is trying to get better all the time. It will be considered a part of the job to self-assess and welcome others’ assessment for the common good. Having said this, it’s also a time to make people aware of significant or growing problems.

It’s a built-in chance to deal with staff issues you may have been avoiding. To be clear, staff reviews are not the grease trap for all the things you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t had the courage to. It’s a better time to check-in on things you’ve mentioned already. It’s a great danger to let it all build up, only to unleash it on an unsuspecting minister at a vulnerable time like a staff review. If, for instance, you’ve mentioned consistent lateness to meetings, this is a natural time to bring it up again or thank the minister for making strides. One rule of quality staff reviews: NO SURPRISES. No Pearl Harbors. One reason reviews can be non-anxious for people on staff at NVC is they know there will be no surprises. If they are to be confronted about something, they know it’s coming. I’ve committed to them they will know of anything needing attention in advance of that occasion. As a result, they can come in knowing the landscape already.

It’s a chance to strengthen the relational tissue of your team. Talking plainly to one another about important personal things builds chemistry. It deepens your relationships.

It’s a great chance to get a feel for staff’s “job satisfaction.” I like to ask what I can do to make their ministry thrive, or alleviate suffering where it may exist. I also like to ask how I can be a better partner in ministry to them. I have learned some GREAT things about how staff members perceive me or what they need from me during this time.

Lastly, it’s a chance to reward people. I like to come bearing gifts, when possible. If they are married, I like to do something that will bless the whole family. In lean years, it might only be a gift card. Other years, it might be a pay raise. But, I don’t want anyone on staff walking away with only a “well done” in words. I want to demonstrate that in a way that staff member receives affirmation best.

I highly recommend staff reviews for the reasons cited above. In my next post, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to how we do it at NVC.

Tim Spivey is lead planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, CA. Tim is also an adjunct professor of religion at Pepperdine University and purveyor of New Vintage Leadership, a blog offering cutting-edge insights on leadership and theology. He is the author of numerous articles and the book “Jesus, the Powerful Servant.”


Mark Roberts is Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, a renewal ministry in Texas.  Check out his blog

Nine Stereotypes for Pastors

In my last contribution to The Pastors Workshop, I examined a passage in 1 Thessalonians 2 where the Apostle Paul and his colleagues demonstrate an informed understanding of the cultural context in which they planted and shepherded the church in Thessalonica. In particular, they were aware that people would naturally associate them with the popular philosophers of the day, some of whom had honorable intentions, while others made a show of philosophy in order to advance their own position and financial well-being.

The example of Paul & Co. makes me wonder: What roles and positions in our cultural setting might be projected onto pastors? If people learn that you’re a clergyperson, what assumptions might they have about you and your ministry? What might folks in your church and community expect of you as a pastor because they associate you with people who serve in roles like yours?

Ideal Pastor

Perhaps the most obvious stereotype by which we are measured is the ideal pastor, the omniscient, omnipresent, omniloving clergyperson who lives only in fiction and in nostalgia. I am thinking, for example, of Father Tim in Jan Karon’s Mitford Years Series. He is the sort of compassionate, always-present pastor that everyone wants to have, and that never can be found outside of Karon’s magical Mitford.


Many people think of churches as hospitals and pastors as doctors. Thus, they expect you to help them get better when they’re not feeling well spiritually. They may even be willing to “pay” for your services by chipping in financially. But they have no expectation that your job involves helping them to get into the “healing business” as lay ministers of Christ. The want expertise, delivered effectively, with an immediate result, but no ongoing obligation or relationship.


In today’s hyper-therapeutic culture, many people expect pastors to be therapists, albeit a less-expensive version. They want to tell you their troubles so that you can dig into their psyches and help them feel or function better. Many seminaries and denominations seem to have bought into this model, to an extent, by imbuing pastoral training with a substantial chunk of therapeutic learning experiences. For example, in my denomination, pastoral trainees are required to complete Clinical Pastoral Education, usually as hospital chaplains. They are not required to complete an internship in a business so as to learn how to be effective leaders or managers of the church.


Whereas some people expect you to be their therapist, others want you to be their teacher. They want you to instruct them in spiritual truths and to connect these truths to their daily lives. As our culture drifts farther and farther from any notion of truth beyond subjective feelings, fewer people want their pastor to be their teacher. But, at the same time, a strong segment of the population has an even greater desire to be taught the truth from pastors. This is true even and especially among the young. If you pay attention to the some the pastors who are most popular among Gen-Xes and Gen-Y/Millennials, you’ll find that they tend to be teachers, often in quite an authoritative mode. Whereas my generation (Boomers) want theologically-lite and practically-heavy sermons, the next-gen folk, if they’re not sold out to postmodernism, want more theological substance.


Many people look upon pastors as professional friends. Your role is to be nice to people, to hang out with them, to laugh with them, and to be there with them in difficult times. One of the most unmanageable parts of pastoring Irvine Presbyterian Church was dealing with all the people who wanted me to come over for dinner or for their daughter’s birthday party. I liked doing this, but could never fulfill the hopes of the 1,000+ people who called Irvine Pres home. I ended up disappointing a multitude because I wasn’t a good enough friend.

Once, an influential church leader came to tell me she was leaving the church because she was unhappy with me as her pastor. (Ouch!) When I asked what I had not done that she wished I had done, she answered simply: “You never sent me a birthday card. I need my pastor to know when my birthday is and to send me a card.” In a nutshell, she wanted me to be her friend. I failed at that role.


A handyman is a good person to have around when you need one. A handyman is always on call to fix broken things. He (or she, if we’re talking about a handywoman) has a wide range of knowledge, though not a lot of depth. He has the tools and the experience to get things working again. Many people see the pastor as a spiritual/relational/emotional handyman. Got a problem with your teenager? Call the pastor. Marriage struggling? Call the pastor. Feeling unhappy about your job? Call the pastor. Struggling with doubt? Call the pastor. The pastor can fix it.

Lots of pastors like being handymen and handywomen. If feels great to be needed. It feels even better to help people get better. People will love and appreciate you if you’re a handyman pastor.


No, I’m not thinking of the illusionists who saw people in half and pull rabbits out of hats. Rather, I’m envisioning real, though fictional, wizards like Gandalf or Dumbledore. These folk have special powers to do all sorts of amazing things. Some people think of pastors this way. They think we have a more direct line to God because of our position. They believe that we can exercise our spiritual powers at will. Once a man in my congregation was talking with me about a memorial service I was to perform for a member of his family. He said, “Then, after your sermon, you can wave your hands and do that magic stuff you do so people can feel better.” Usually, I didn’t hear this sort of thing so bluntly. But many people thought of me as more than a handyman. I was God’s magician.


Some people in your church expect you to be a CEO, especially if you’re the senior pastor of a midsize or larger church. They’ll want you to provide visionary leadership and effective management so the church can grow in measurable ways (buildings, budgets, bodies). Or, at least that’s what they’ll say. If you actually start exercising transformative leadership, odds are you may end up out in the street, without one of those outlandish golden parachutes that soften the fall when secular CEO’s are sacked.

There was a time when some of my elders at Irvine Presbyterian were unhappy with my pastoral leadership. They felt fine about my preaching and teaching. They had no problem with my vision, pastoral counseling, or personal ethics. But they were not happy with what they perceived to be my lack of management of my staff. One of my elders, a highly successful businessman and manager, lectured me on my need to be more available to my staff. “I always have my door open,” he counseled, “and my reports know they can drop in at any time.” “I like that idea,” I said, “but there’s a problem here. I spend quite a bit of time in my office counseling with people about matters that require a closed door. Plus, I’m supposed to prepare an excellent sermon each week, and that takes study time. I can’t always leave my door open.” My elder wasn’t convinced because he wanted me to function like a CEO, or at least an effective line manager.


I’ve saved this model for last both because it is common and because it is so extremely problematic. Many people in your congregation will look upon you as a parent. This is especially true if you are near the age of their parents. But it can also be true if you are close to the age of their children. Pastors are infused with a parental aura.

A year after I arrived at Irvine Presbyterian, a man came to meet with me. He said, basically, “When you first arrived, I didn’t want you to be my pastor. I realized that, before you showed up, I always had older pastors and I thought of them as father figures. I liked that because my relationship with my own father was a mess. But you’re younger than I am. How could you be my father? I’ve been struggling to let you be both my brother in Christ and my pastor.” This man’s openness led to a productive conversation and a long relationship in which I served in the brother/pastor role.

Sometimes, people project their parental “stuff” onto pastors and it isn’t pretty. During my first years at Irvine, a major leader in our women’s ministry persisted in writing me nasty letters that criticized, not just what I did, but also my motivations. She was convinced that I was using the church as a stepping-stone to greater glory and would soon abandon her and the rest of the congregation. As we met to talk about her unhappiness with me, I asked about her family. Turns out (no surprise) that her father abandoned her and her mother. She had been projecting her experience of her father onto me. (This story has a happy ending. This woman and I became good friends and partners. She ended up moving away from the church several years before I did.)


There are ways in which pastors are, indeed, like ideal pastors, doctors, psychologists, teachers, friends, handymen, magicians, CEOs, and parents. Yet, I believe that people who equate pastors with one or more of these roles will inevitably struggle with who pastors really are and what they’re really meant to do. I’ll say more about this later. For now, I simply want you to be aware of the cultural models that are relevant in your situation. When your church members and those in your community think about your role, to whom do they compare you?


media_166929_enSam Rainer, whose focus is leading the established church, speaks to an issue that I encounter frequently both in my consulting with Bridgebuilders Ministries and serving as an Intentional Interim Pastor. – Steve


by Sam Rainer

We’ve made the distinction between leadership and management too stark. Are they separate? Yes. Is there much overlap between them? Absolutely. Is there such a thing as a pure leader, one who never manages? Maybe, though I struggle for an example. Is there such a thing as a pastor who never manages? Absolutely not. Let me make a bold statement: If you’re not willing to manage a church, then you’re not qualified to lead a church.

Any church leader who would delegate all managerial roles to others is reckless. We push back on management principles because most of us think of bloated bureaucracies, or worse, Bill Lumbergh. Should every senior pastor know what to do with a “PC LOAD LETTER” error message on the printer? Probably not. But without good management, followers will end up in a field going medieval on the malfunctioning printer. Lots of churches have printers that don’t work, so let’s explore this temptation.

It’s tempting to neglect operations. Operations take time. Operations are seen by few people in the church. Anyone who has served on staff at a church knows there is a whole other world that occurs on the campus during the work week. Air conditioning units must be serviced. Rooms must be organized. The offering deposits must be made. Does a senior leader need to do these operations? Obviously not. But every senior leader should be knowledgeable of—if not the author of—the system of operations that keeps the church running. Operations make discipleship possible. Just because the vast majority of your church will never see the operations does not make them any less important.

It’s tempting to neglect tasks. Tasks don’t complain. Tasks don’t need counseling. Undoubtedly, we all have things on our “to do” list that do not involve people. It’s tempting to neglect tasks because people should have the priority. Some leaders enjoy doing certain tasks. Other leaders enjoy managing others who do the tasks. All tasks are managed, not led. You lead people and manage the tasks. And all church leaders must manage tasks. Why? Without managing tasks, you will ultimately neglect the people.

It’s tempting to neglect supervision. Leadership involves people. You don’t lead inanimate objects. The chair doesn’t listen, but the person in the chair does. Supervision of people is a component of leadership that involves management. How many people on staff can take a vacation during Spring Break? How does your church handle health insurance for the staff? What is the process of accountability with group leaders? These questions involve management and require supervision. It’s tempting to neglect them because the immediate reward for properly executing supervision is small. However, the potential downside of failing to properly administer this supervision is enormous.

It’s tempting to neglect finance. Most churches do not expect pastors to know spreadsheets, cash flow, and budgets. It’s tempting and easy to claim ignorance. I believe it’s one of the largest management holes in the church today. Even the most senior leader at the largest church should have a working knowledge of the finances. If you cannot read a basic budget, then you should not be in a senior leadership position in a church. It’s dangerous—and I would also add negligent—to know nothing of the finances. Your leadership becomes dependent on the people who manage the finances. Leadership should never depend on management. Should questions arise about finances, you will be responsible for answering them. The deer-in-the-headlights-look is typically not well-received.

Neglect management at your peril. Pastoring a church is more than teaching; it also involves executing. Execution does not happen without management. All church leaders must manage. Pastors are shepherds. And shepherds manage sheep.