Pete Scazzero is turning life inside out—literally—with his latest book, The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World.
Since 1987, when Pete Scazzero founded New Life Fellowship in Queens, New York, he served as senior pastor and later, teaching pastor, but Scazzero still found gaps—in himself. He could not bring himself to confront conflicts or the elephant of pretense in the room. Somewhere, something didn’t match.
“You can’t divorce inner life from outer life,” Scazzero explained. He realized the problem was inside. In administration, at church and even in the comforts of home, he found his inner struggles affecting outer interactions, without the ability to resolve the two.
That’s when God changed everything.
Finding the Connection
As Scazzero began to examine his own life, God pulled the cloak from his heart. Scazzero found that his spirituality was not as deep as he thought.
“Oh my gosh, I have some serious work to do,” Scazzero thought.
So he self-examined. He wrote. He prayed.
From the change came The Emotionally Healthy Leader, joining Scazzero’s four other books as pieces of his story: the bestsellers Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church, The EHS Course, and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day. Each connects the inner life to the outer, drawing readers to emotionally healthy living, but The Emotionally Healthy Leader weaves a new application into this connection. The book draws the question Scazzero asked during his own struggles: “Why is it so difficult to walk out a humble, broken spirituality in leadership?”
Scazzero found the answer: What is inside informs the outside.
“Who you are has to be deep enough to inform all you do,” Scazzero said.
Action depends on identity, and identity depends on Christ. Integrating these two takes knowing to a new level, bringing a change in behavior and emotional health, as Scazzero pointed out.
“To actually re-shift how you do your whole life, which then shifts those around you…that’s hard work,” Scazzero said.
The work is not painless.
To connect his spiritual walk to his work and find an emotionally healthy balance, Scazzero had to acknowledge his own shadows. Scazzero had to ask himself if there was a dark side to what he was doing—before he asked his readers in The Emotionally Healthy Leader.
Emotionally healthy leadership is about living spiritually—inside and out. It is about taking the time to address the heart, the problems within, and bringing that balance into every action.
Although Scazzero is a leader in a number of roles, from pastor and church founder to husband and father, emotionally healthy leadership, Scazzero noted, isn’t just for pastors or CEOs. Emotionally healthy leadership is about how you lead, wherever you lead.
As Scazzero discovered in his own life, emotionally healthy leadership is sustained by a healthy relationship with Christ. And like any other relationship, it requires time to develop. Development takes time, and action takes development. It’s the cup-running-over effect. Without that connection, Christian leadership lacks strength and balance. It lacks the ability to be truly different.
When Scazzero re-evaluated, he found success – God’s success.
“God’s view of success is to do His will,” Scazzero said. Emotionally healthy leadership, Scazzero found, isn’t about strategy, improvement or appearance, or any of the methods he, as pastor, and the church board had tried to apply.
No, it’s not painless. But the pain is worth it. Through his 19-year journey toward emotionally healthy leadership, Scazzero has found freedom: freedom from pretense and others’ opinions, and freedom to draw closer to who God made him to be. And now, through The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Scazzero offers the same freedom to others.
Finding Success in Emotional Health
We can only free others once we experience freedom ourselves, Scazzero pointed out. In order to reach the world, churches, organizations, ministries and individuals must have emotionally healthy leaders to guide them—healthy leaders to bring a healthy influence wherever they serve.
Through The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Scazzero seeks to prepare leaders for healthy influence.
“It is an invitation to a new paradigm of spirituality,” Scazzero said. By sharing his own story, Scazzero reaches out, not as a counselor or expert, but as a friend, offering an opportunity to avoid needless pain and pursue godly leadership.
“My hope is for people to taste something a little bit better,” Scazzero said. “Once you taste that, you want more.”
The Emotionally Healthy Leader releases June 30 and is available at Amazon and Pete Scazzero’s webiste, EmotionallyHealthy.org. For a free study guide, discussion questions and more information about emotionally healthy living, visit EmotionallyHealthy.org. Follow his continued journey toward an emotionally healthy life on his blog or on Twitter @petescazzero.