Emotional Disorders

Friday, March 24, 2023

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Dear Pastors

Emotional Disorders

For over 20 years Pete Scazzero has been talking about Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (EHS) for the people of God including EHS for pastors and leaders. His material is a wonderful blend of rich biblical teaching and well recognised psychological insights. Given all that has been exposed over the last few years in so far as the dysfunctional behaviours of a growing number of pastors we do well to stop and pause and do some much needed reflection about the state of our own soul. None of us want to be ‘that guy’, right?

I hold the view after interacting with a lot of churches and pastors over 40 years in Christian leadership that many pastors, youth pastors, elders and ministry staff have a ‘hole in their soul’. A hole in your soul is an emotional wounding - a bruise, a break, a breach, a gap that can quickly lead to an emotional disorder (illness). This in turn can and usually does lead to a lot of inner turmoil and angst. Invariably this will lead to some behaviours that are immature, inappropriate, dysfunctional and quite possibly abusive in nature. Much of this comes from unresolved family of origin issues psychologists will say. It also can come from traumatic experiences in life that have not been carefully processed (and healed) leaving people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related maladies. None of this excuses bad behaviour but it certainly helps understand it.

This week I would like to simply draw your attention to two resources that may be helpful and bring hope for all of us but especially the wounded. I am keen to encourage pastors in particular but all Christian leaders to take a ‘deep look inside’. And there is no better time than Lent to do that.

  1. Read the book, ‘Emotionally Healthy Leader’ by Peter Scazzero.
  2. Here is a very helpful and short article from Aubrey Malphurs book ‘Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders’ titled 5 Emotional Disorders and a 36 min podcast by the Malphurs Group. The Dark Side of Leadership: 5 Emotional Disorders (malphursgroup.com)

I hope you take the time to do some work on your soul.

Before I go I would like to bring to your attention this superb musical production called “The Way of the Raukura”. It has been co-produced by Steve Worsley and Sarah Tahere. Steve is Senior Pastor at Mt Albert Baptist Church and a very gifted musician and Sarah wrote the song, ‘Under the Mountain’ which sparked the vision for the writing of this show. Jeanette and I saw the show in the debut season a few years ago and found it compelling, moving and eye opening. If you live in and around Auckland please head over to the website now where you can also buy a ticket……..lots of tickets. And please let all your friends and family know.



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