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Scazzero, Peter. The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.Scazzero has written a very practical book about recognizing and addressing the emotional deficiencies which negatively impact the leadership of pastors and other Christian workers. Early in the book, he documents his own journey through “emotionally unhealthy leadership” during his tenure as senior pastor of the New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York. His challenges included enduring a church split, dealing with difficult people and finding ways to manage his hurt and anger – at one time confessing that he could be described as “the cursing pastor.” He recounts “hitting rock bottom” on the day his wife declared she was “quitting the church.”Scazzero details four personal “conversions,” which led him to declare that there is a link between emotional health and spiritual maturity. Those conversions are described as:
He recounts very frankly that these conversions were not easy. In fact, they were often painful to him personally and at times, harmful to others.
The balance of the book invites the reader to consider four chapters each, on both the inner and outer life. The inner life chapters challenge the reader to face one’s shadow, lead out of one’s marriage or singleness, slow down for what he calls “loving union,” and practicing Sabbath delight. He speaks of the need to consider having a “daily office,” through which one can practice the “sacred rhythm” of work and rest.
The chapters on the outer life focus on planning and decision making, culture and team building, power and wise boundaries, as well as endings and new beginnings.
Each chapter contains a number of reflective questions by which the reader can determine (using a five point scale) how well he or she is managing emotional health and developing spiritual maturity.
Appendices at the end of the book are there for the reader to identify characteristics of churches transformed by emotionally health leadership, determine how well the work/rest cycle is happening in the congregation, and how to develop a multigenerational emotional map.
Scazzero writes in a style that is relatively easy to read, and the sharing of his personal journey helps his words connect to the reader, especially if the reader is in local church ministry. However, there are times where the reader could get bogged down in some detail. Overall, though, the reflective questions and other exercises seemed very practical. It was worth the under $10 e-book price.
His other works include: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: A 40 Day Journey with the Daily Office.