Practical Health Questions

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff wanted to know if I had a favorite chapter in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. That’s an easy question to answer because it is the chapter I didn’t write—the Preface of the book was written by Dick Brogden and sums up my book better than I could have on my own. 

But there is a chunk of five chapters in Shepherd Leadership that I keep going back to quite frequently. This section is also one that has resonated with other leaders who coach and counsel pastors. 

Dr. Luke summarized the wholly healthy development of Jesus in just one verse: And Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God, and in favor with men (Luke 2:52). I think this gives us the perfect pyramid for our healthy growth—

  • It starts with our mental health (wisdom) 
  • Which helps us make good decisions for our physical health (stature)
  • Which creates an ideal environment for our spiritual health to flourish (favor with God)
  • Which is ultimately realized in our relational health (favor with men) 

This is why, when I am coaching other pastors that are struggling with relationships with their board or parishioners, I start with…

  • …mental health questions like: What are you reading? What are you meditating on? 
  • …physical health questions like: Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising? Are you eating right? 
  • …spiritual health questions like: What did you read in your personal devotions today? Are you setting aside enough time to have a meaningful conversation with God every day? 

Oftentimes the answers to these questions reveal a deficit in mental, physical, or spiritual health that is preventing a breakthrough in strong, healthy relationships. As soon as health is being restored at the lower levels of this pyramid, positive changes in spiritual and relational health begin to blossom as well. 

Pastor, please pick up a copy of my book to help you get into the healthiest place you can be. You cannot give health to the flock under your care if you are not at optimal health yourself. 

If you want to catch up on some of the other clips I’ve already shared from this interview, you can find them here. I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

My Unique History

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I talked about my unique background and how that contributed to not only the book I wrote but also to the activities in which I am presently involved.

God took me on a long journey before I came to be a shepherd in Cedar Springs, MI. There were times in my younger life when I questioned why my path didn’t look like a straight line that was heading toward a career or vocation, but God showed me the truthfulness of the promise in Romans 8:28—He is using ALL THINGS to accomplish what He needs for me and for His Kingdom. (Check out the short video below where I share a bit of my autobiography.)

I hope this is a word of encouragement for you too. God IS directing every single one of your steps, He IS using all of your education and experiences to accomplish His purpose. Don’t bail out of this process, and don’t ever get discouraged that your path seems different than those around you. God is being as unique with you as He is with everyone else. 

If you are a church leader, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I believe you will find many more encouraging thoughts that will keep you engaged in the work to which God has called you.

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

“Let Us” Be The Church

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff asked me what was different for our church during the pandemic shutdowns. I explained to him how our season of change had begun long before anyone was even talking about a coronavirus.

Of course one of the big things in my personal life during the last year was authoring a #1-selling book called Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. As I commented to Jeff, those “let us” phrases in the Book of Hebrews so struck me that I wrote about it in my book. 

     Have you noticed that the word “saints” in the New Testament is always in the plural, never the singular? That’s because we need each other to bring out the saintly qualities in each other. This is why the writer of Hebrews stresses the camaraderie of “let us” so many times (Hebrews 10:22–25). I’ve found that many shepherd leaders tend to isolate. They are so involved in their own pasture of ministry that they seldom make the time to interact with other shepherds. In fact, isolation is one of the devil’s favorite tactics. I encourage you to find friends—fellow saints—who are also committed to healthy spiritual growth and avail yourself of their friendship and insight. —an excerpt from the chapter ‘Four Elements to Optimal Spiritual Health’ 

“Let us” be the church wherever God places us and however He chooses to use us. 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

“Doing” Church

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I talked about some of the changes pastors and churches were forced to confront during the COVID shutdowns. For me, this was a time for my leadership team to examine why we “do church” the way we do. These shutdowns helped us identify the things that were biblical and non-biblical. 

One of the reasons I gave the subtitle “The Metrics That Really Matter” to my book was because of the frustration I saw in so many pastors who were feeling unsuccessful. I discovered that their frustration was largely due to trying to live up to metrics that simply aren’t found in the pages of Scripture. As I wrote in the preface of my book—

My larger concern is that churches, parachurch organizations, and nonprofit ministries that are largely founded to fulfill a biblical mandate are straying from the simple, freeing truths found in the Bible. Or maybe I should say that they are adding things to their ministries that aren’t in the pages of Scripture. Whichever way you want to say it, the result is the same: We are using the wrong metrics to define “success” for our ministries. I fear that in our focus on unbiblical practices, we are missing the joy of really doing ministry. 

Our ministry should be joyful to us as leaders and joy-giving to those to whom we are ministering. If it’s draining instead of fulfilling, that may be an indication that we are trying to gauge success by monitoring non-biblical metrics. 

If you want to dig into this a bit more, check out two previous posts I wrote: 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

What Do We Mean By “Grow”?

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff asked me how the challenges of the last couple of years affected the thoughts that went into writing my book Shepherd Leadership. I explained to him how my conversation with a local pastor actually created the subtitle of the book: The Metrics That Really Matter.  

In another recent conversation on The Craig And Greg Show, I talked about a comical conversation I had with a church board about their definition of the word “grow.”

In Shepherd Leadership, I wrote, 

Growth and success may need to be redefined in your church or ministry. If you’ve been thinking that success is a steadily upward climb in attendance or donations, or a bigger facility, or more people on staff, then it would appear that the ministries of Philip, Paul, and even Jesus were highly unsuccessful. We’ve already seen that Philip went from a large revival in Samaria to one person in the desert. Paul came to the end of his life telling Timothy how many of his companions had abandoned him. And Jesus started His public ministry with twelve emerging leaders, only to see one betray Him, nine run away when He was arrested, and one deny that he even knew Him. When we come up with our plans to “grow” our ministry, or we say “success” is all about what we can count, aren’t we really just self-promoting? 

Godly shepherd leaders need to make sure that they are concentrating not on more sheep, but on greater health. Remember: the shepherd doesn’t give birth to sheep, but the shepherd creates a healthy environment for the sheep to reproduce.

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

From “Servant” To “Shepherd”

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff asked me how I got started writing my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. As I’ve shared before, the best way to start writing is just to start writing. That’s what I’ve been doing for almost 13 years, racking up close to 5100 blog posts, numerous articles for other publications, and now a #1 selling book. 

In this clip, I explain how I went from writing a blog to writing a book, and how the working title of my book went from Servant Leadership to Shepherd Leadership.  

I’ll be sharing more clips from this interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is now available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

I’m Writing A Book!

UPDATE: You all are amazing! Your support put me over the top. The special offers for these early investors are now full, but stay tuned on my Shepherd Leadership page for some very special pre-release offers.

My cheering section (known as my parents and my wife) has been asking me for years, “When are you going to write a book?” My response has always been the same, “I wouldn’t even know where to start.” 

But Tom Freiling knew where I should start! This accomplished publisher contacted me and after several lengthy conversations, we decided the time was right. 

My book is entitled Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. It is a leadership book for pastors and leaders of nonprofit ministries. My prayer is that this book will liberate these leaders from the needless and unprofitable practices and measures of “success” that we’ve allowed to creep in to our ministries. The bottom line: Our focus has turned to unbiblical practices, and as a result, we are missing the joy of really doing ministry. I cannot wait to help these leaders learn the freeing principles of shepherd leadership! 

But in order to help these ministry leaders, I first need some help from you. 

Since I’m a first-time author, you can probably understand why my publisher wants me to cover some of the costs for this inaugural book. This is where I am humbly asking for your help. 

Would you consider being a sponsor of this book? 

  • For a donation of $35, you will get an advanced, pre-release copy of the ebook. You will be reading this book before anyone has it! 
  • For a donation of $75, you will not only get the pre-release copy of the ebook, but also an autographed copy of the pre-released print version of the book. [UPDATE: 5 donations received at this level]
  • For a donation of $150, you will get all of the above plus a free copy of the audiobook. [UPDATE: 2 donations received at this level]
  • For a donation of $250 or more, you will get all of the above, AND you will have access to the opening paragraphs of each chapter as they are written, as well as some behind-the-scenes video of the publishing and recording process.  [UPDATE: 7 donations received at this level] 

My blog has always used this prayer of John Newton’s as its focus: “Oh! that the power of God would set my heart and pen at liberty while writing, and fill your hearts while reading, that we may rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Now, more than ever, that is my fervent prayer for both this blog and now this new book on shepherd leadership. 

Thank you for your prayerful and financial involvement in this vital project. 

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading & listening from today…

“When A.B. Simpson succeeded it was in a big way. When he failed he made great failures. It had to be so. Men of his caliber do not make little mistakes. They fly too high and too far to steer their courses by city maps. They ask not, ‘What street is that?’ but ‘What continent?’ And when they get off of the course for a moment they will be sure to pull up a long way from their goal. Their range and speed make this inevitable. Little men who never get outside of their own yards point to these mistakes with great satisfaction. But history has a way of disposing of these critics by filing them away in quiet anonymity. She cannot be bothered to preserve their names. She is too busy chalking up the great successes and huge failures of her favorites.” —A.W. Tozer

“Jesus invites us to approach God the way a child approaches his or her daddy! And how do children approach their daddies? I went to a school playground to find out. When a five-year-old spots his father in the parking lot, how does he react? ‘Yippee!’ screamed a redheaded boy wearing a Batman backpack. ‘Pop! Over here! Push me!’ yelled a boy wearing a Boston Red Sox cap who scooted straight to the swings. Here’s what I didn’t hear: ‘Father, it is most gracious of thee to drive thy car to my place of education. Please know of my deep gratitude for your benevolence. For thou art splendid in thy attentive care and diligent in thy dedication.’ I heard kids who were happy to see their dads and eager to speak to them! God invites us to approach Him in the same manner.” —Max Lucado

“More faith is what we want, and the Lord is willing to give it, grace upon grace; He delights, especially, to strengthen the faith which we already possess by trying it, by sustaining it under the trial, and thus rooting and grounding it, and causing it to become firm and vigorous.” —Charles Spurgeon

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Overview Bible Project has a great chart on the authors of the Bible.

[AUDIO] This interview of the late Chuck Colson by Dr. James Dobson is very timely.

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