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PACO698 Book Critique Emotionally Healthy Church

PACO698 Book Critique Emotionally Healthy Church

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Published by Mike Paddy
Partial fulfillment of my PACO698, Pastoral Counseling class, Liberty Seminary, Graudate level.
Partial fulfillment of my PACO698, Pastoral Counseling class, Liberty Seminary, Graudate level.

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Published by: Mike Paddy on Dec 21, 2010
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PACO698 Book Critique: ³The Emotionally Healthy Church´

By Michael Vincent Paddy Student I.D. 22282275

Presented to Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Charles Nathan Davidson BS; M.Div.; D.Min.

In partial fulfillment of the requirements of Pastoral Counseling PACO 698

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Lynchburg, VA December 1, 2010

Table of Contents Introduction ««««««««««««««««««««««««««« 3 Brief Summary «««««««««««««««««««««««««....4 Attempt at a Striking Influence «««««««««««««««««««.6 Part 1: Discipleship¶s Missing Link««««««««««««««...6 Part 2: Biblical Basis for a New Paradigm of Discipleship...««««...7 Part 3: Seven Principles of an Emotionally Healthy Church««««..7 Part 4: Where Do We Go From Here? ......................................................8 Appendix «««««««««««««««««««««««««...9 Conclusion «««««««««««««««..««««««««««««...9 References ««««««««««««««««««««««««««««10

Introduction ³Be sure to grasp the central thesis: Emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable. It is not possible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.´1 This is the central theme for the book, The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Works.2In its newly updated and expanded edition, Scazzero attempts to show through principles, practices and personal illustrations that if a Christian is to be spiritually mature, he or she must also be emotionally mature. Endorsed by many well-known Christian leaders, it tries to show the disparity between active Christianity and Christianity founded on deep spiritual dedication and devotion which leads to healthy emotions and thereby creating an environment for solid discipleship. What I want to do is as Scazzero states: Resist the temptation to breeze through these pages. This is not a book meant to be read quickly in one or two sittings. This is not simply the latest fascinating idea to incorporate in your God-talk with colleagues or parishioners. I invite you to wrestle deeply with these truths as you consider how they apply to both your inner life and leadership.3 That is what I have done and this is what I will attempt to do in this paper.

Peter Scazzero with Warren Bird, The Emotionally Healthy Church, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 10


Ibid. Ibid., 10


Brief Summary In 2003 Peter Scazzero authored the first edition of, The Emotionally Healthy Church. ³During the seven years since the first edition, my understanding of the six principles that make up emotionally healthy churches has grown deeper, sharper, and broader.´4 The principles mentionedand one more added in this new edition, came from his own experience both personally and in ministry as a pastor in seeing a gap between people who seemed spiritually mature by what they did and how they responded and acted emotionally. ³The sad reality is that too many people in our churches are fixated at a stage of spiritual immaturity that current models of discipleship have not addressed.´5 From there Scazzero starts to tell his story, a brutally honest one, where his own family confronts him on issues relating to emotional maturity and what true church is in its development, growth and discipleship. From there he then lays out both in a pragmatic way and also through appropriate anecdotes his journey in trying to find a method(s) of discipleship that went beyond church activity to the moment by moment life and lives of true disciples who seeing that spiritual maturity encompasses every aspect of life especially the emotional rollercoaster of life becomes a true spirituality defined by its discipiling methods. There is an old joke that asks, ³How do you eat an elephant?´ Answer: ³One bite at a time´ The same is true for this tome. It requires you to think at times reading and rereading several times to enter into the context of the writer. Then there are other times where the reader can just relax and enjoy the story. But always you must ask yourself, what is this doing for me in helping me in my emotional and spiritual growth?


Ibid., 9 Ibid., 18


From the beginning of this revelation of the emotionally healthy church Scazzero takes us through several sections that allows us to see how he broke down into principles and practices what he believes to be true discipleship. The author then ends with the section: Where do we go from here? What do we do with all of this information, charts, diagrams, and words? Can they be put into practice by any and all Christians and churches seeking to grow?

Attempt at a Striking Influence6 Part 1: Discipleship¶s Missing Link Scazzero starts to lay out the vision of what he believes keeps most churches and Christians from true spiritual maturity and discipleship. Is what he is saying really new or just a new way of thinking to him? He says in unequivocally that it IS a new way of thinking.7 Addressing what might be perceived as an emotionally driven spiritually, this section details some things concerning the place of emotion in our spirituality listing Scriptural evidence of Jesus¶ emotions.8This sets up that we minister from who we are, and what we do comes from that concentricity. The premise, the truth, it all starts with the leader the initial disciple and is emotionally security and stability which is part of the spiritual dynamic of the believer. ³Solving the emotional mysteries in your life takes reflection time.´9 So it is with The Emotionally Healthy Church. Scazzero sees this not as a static once revelation where we are immediately changed rather something dynamic, open to change, change needed to bring about a sense of not just understanding the principles, but ourselves as ministers of the Gospel. A pragmatic ministry philosophy, i.e. do these three things, practice these four solutions, etc., simply brings temporary resolution to the mysteries of Christianity but as Scazzero says something is lacking, ³desperately wrong.´10

Term was used in my Introduction to Pastoral Counseling Class and pertains to writing not so much with a critical eye, but attempting to cause the reader to think about and to be influenced by the subject matter because of your writing.


Scazzero, 32, 33 Ibid., 33 Bob Biehl, ³Why We Do What We Do´, (Nashville: Oliver-Nelson Books, 1993), 6 Scazzero, 38 ± 47




Part 2: Biblical Basis for a New Paradigm of Discipleship ³Churches that are most effective in discipleship have a philosophy of ministry that places daily spiritual growth at the core of the ministry.´11 From the opening sentence of this section we see the internal, spiritual dynamic at play in the need for emotionally healthy Christians. Not just the mystical side of formation of a soul enlightened but a sense of humility where the discipler¶s focus is not on him per se, but aligns him with how God views the minister and the value he or she brings to the table of ministry. Is the new paradigm new and/or singular in the success of discipiling? ³«of the churches that are developing passionate, mature followers of Christ« [there are] five particular approaches that facilitate effective disciple making.´12 Barna would say no, there are more things out there, but this in no way minimizes the effectiveness and success of addressing the emotional health paradigm in disciple making. Part 3: Seven Principles of an Emotionally Healthy Church The interesting aspects of Emotionally Healthy Church is its ability to go from a book filled with deep spiritual truth, to anecdotal references and then giving lists of practical steps one might find helpful in their journey towards emotional health. Similar to the book, The Walk by Gene Getz,13 one can see that there is more to spiritual maturity than what might be prevalent in today¶s church culture. A spiritual inventory is incorporated at this point to start the reader thinking about their own spiritual and emotional health. The only concern is whether some of the questions are

George Barna, Growing True Disciples, (Colorado: WaterBrook Press, 2001), 31

Ibid., 133 Gene Getz, The Walk: The Measure of Spiritual Maturity, (Nashville: Broadman &Holman Publishers, 1994).


personality driven and take into account the differences in personality that can affect the answers and the outcomes of the inventory. According to the dictionary, a personality test is a standardized diagnostic instrument (test) that records non-cognitive traits.14 The included inventory is non-cognitive but seems driven by specific emotional responses that might be answered differently according to certain personality traits. This section also is central to the theme of the book also making it very relevant to the counseling ministry and mind. Exploring the past present and the future outcomes of the two it resembles a self-evaluation process helping the reader discern how and why one might act under circumstances. I found myself reading a few times with enthusiasm Principle 5: Embrace Grieving and Loss,15 then rereading Principle 4: Receiving the Gift of Limits, 16 to see how my personal reflections on the writers thoughts fit with mine these past few months. The final chapter in this section is new to this edition and deal with slowing down to lead. Again my reading made me think that discipler¶s/leaders can get so caught up in the day to day activities of ministry they might miss discipiling moments, opportunities to lead from a healthy spirituality. Part 4: Where Do We Go From Here? Just over a little over three pages long this section puts some steps to the book¶s lists, stories, and scriptural principles. If we are serious about this emotionally healthy journey, the application and implementation portion need only give panoramic instructions to the reader to


Merriam Webster Dictionary; 11th edition (2008). Scazzero, 159-179 Scazzero, 137-158



help them take the steps necessary to becoming healthy. These made the book become recommendable to me, its ability to give information and put it into practice. Appendix The appendix is written from the standpoint of Scazzero¶s church. Much like a mission/vision statement it gives us a view into the mindset and driven values they incorporate which are spelled out in the book. It helps show how a church that has actually and intentionally put the principles of the book into action and still is working them out into their spiritual lives. Scazzero and his church leadership call it ³our conscious guidelines to keep God at the center of everything we do«´17 The appendix is very fine way to end Emotionally Healthy Church, giving the principles a practical look at implementation. It can be a reminder to some of us and a complete paradigm shift for others. Conclusion Emotionally Healthy Church could become just another one of those over marketed books that become popular and effective for a short period of time for some but not for others. It will be the influence of its principles that will keep it a balanced book for helping give disciples the ability to see into their own selves and discern whether true spiritual maturity is present. It will give the reader the inspiration to see whether adjustments need to be made to align oneself not only with the book¶s design but also within the maturity and quality of the church as it tries to navigate the currents of the ministry of the body of Christ for the 21st Century. As George MacDonald says in his praise for The Emotionally Healthy Church, ³May the tribe of people who think like him be multiplied.´18

Scazzero, 224

Ibid., back cover of book

References Barna, George. Growing True Disciples. 2001. Colorado: WaterBrook Press Biehl, Bob, Why We Do What We Do. 1993. Nashville: Oliver-Nelson Books. Getz,Gene.The Walk: The Measure of Spiritual Maturity. 1994. Nashville: Broadman &Holman Publishers. Merriam Webster Dictionary. 11th edition. 2008. Scazzero, Peter with Warren Bird. The Emotionally Healthy Church. 2010. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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