Ministry leadership is about more than just growing your church or organization. It’s about participating in God’s mission in the world. But how can leaders know God’s mission or their unique place in it? Faithful ministry leadership is rooted in a life of deep and abiding faithfulness to Jesus. In “Spiritual Life and Leadership,” Markus Watson and his guests explore what it means to be faithful leaders whose ministry flows from their ever-deepening relationship with God.
201. Understanding Change and Transition, a Quick Conversation with Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson
7:35Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson explore the distinction between change and transition. Quoting D. Michael Lindsay, they discuss how change happens in an instant, whereas transition unfolds over weeks, months, and sometimes years. Bolstering this idea with personal anecdotes, they delve into the importance of giving oneself the time and space to adapt to change, acknowledging the losses involved, and ultimately finding comfort and growth in the new realities.Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss this quote from Sarah Bereza in Episode 142: Navigating the 7 Stages of Transition:"Change happens to us in an instant. Transition happens over weeks, months, sometimes even years." THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Understanding the difference between change and transition is crucial for adapting to life's challenges.Acknowledging the loss and grief that come with change can help build resilience and lead to a quicker processing of the transition.Developing patience and perseverance involves recognizing the importance of giving oneself the space to adapt and acknowledging the honesty of what has been lost.Allowing the necessary time to adapt to change and transition is vital in order to be intentional and patient in dealing with life's challenges.Embracing the reality that transition takes time, and staying committed to the process can lead to a place of comfort and contentment in the new circumstances.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
200. The Justice Feast, with Michael Rhodes, author of Just Discipleship
35:29Michael Rhodes is lecturer in Old Testament at Carey Baptist College and the author of Just Discipleship: Biblical Justice in an Unjust World.From the biblical concept of justice and the role of worship in shaping our approach to justice, to the practicalities of addressing poverty and racial justice, Michael Rhodes takes us into the heart of what it means to live out just discipleship.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Michael Rhodes emphasizes the importance of incorporating themes of justice into worship and liturgy.Worship should create a demand among worshipers to get involved in God's mission of justice and bring the pain of the world into the center.The feasts in Deuteronomy are invitations to the good life and wise living, and they also address contemporary justice issues.Michael Rhodes highlights the concept of the "feast" and the importance of interacting with people not like oneself.Michael Rhodes suggests practical advice for overcoming obstacles, such as increasing proximity to those facing injustice and allowing scripture to unsettle and challenge unjust practices.Worship and prayer, such as the Psalms, play an important role in shaping perspectives on justice and discipleship.Michael Rhodes emphasizes the concept of tithing in Deuteronomy, where people are encouraged to use their tithe to have a feast before the Lord.The justice feast forms the community and the hearts of the individuals who participate, as it teaches them to fear the Lord and relate to God.Worship should create a demand among worshipers to get involved in God's mission of justice.Michael Rhodes points out the increasing lack of interaction between different economic classes in American society and suggests that proximity to those who are suffering is crucial.the justice feast in Deuteronomy highlights the concept of justice as the faithful exercise of power and just structures, including regular contributions for the poor and debt forgiveness laws.Michael Rhodes proposes practical advice for overcoming obstacles, such as increasing proximity to those facing injustice and allowing scripture to unsettle and challenge unjust practices.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Michael Rhodes:Twitter - @michaeljrhodesCarey Baptist CollegeBooks mentioned:Just Discipleship, by Michael RhodesPracticing the King’s Economy, by Michael Rhodes and Robby HoltRelated episodes:Ep. 29: Serving the Poor and the ImmigrantEp. 42: Speaking Out Against InjusticeEp. 143: How the Church Can Respond to ImmigrationEp. 167: Called to Each OtherGet Becoming Leaders of Shalom for free HERE.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
199. Being Your Authentic Self in Professional Ministry, a Quick Conversation with Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson
8:07In this episode, Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson explore the challenge of being fully authentic as a ministry leader. The conversation centers around a quote from Sara Bereza, highlighting the difficulty people in professional ministry face when trying to be their true selves. Through an exploration of the biblical story of Moses, Paul's writings in 2nd Corinthians, and personal anecdotes, Markus and Tod discuss the weight of wearing a facade and the importance of cultivating vulnerability, authenticity, and resilience in the ministry space. They emphasize the need for secure relationships and intentional efforts to be one's genuine self amidst the pressures and expectations of the ministry environment.Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss this quote from Sarah Bereza in Episode 141: Being Fully Yourself in Leadership:“It can be really hard for people in the professional ministry space to be fully themselves.”THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:In professional ministry, being fully oneself can be challenging.Moses, a leader from the Bible, struggled with authenticity and wore a veil to hide his radiance.Trying to emulate other influential figures in ministry can be exhausting.Finding freedom and wholeness in leadership comes from embracing one's true self.Building secure relationships with partners, mentors, and friends is crucial for vulnerable leadership.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
198. Clergy, Congregations, and Hope After the Pandemic, with Scott Thumma, Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research
42:18Scott Thumma is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Hartford International University and Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Scott is also Principal Investigator of a study titled Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations.In this episode, Scott Thumma shares insights from that study, including the tension between clergy and congregations, the rise of hybrid worship, and the ongoing struggle to adapt to a changing world.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Scott Thumma emphasizes the resistance to change that clergy might within their congregations, attributing it to "suffering from whiplash."Congregations need to evolve and adapt in order to avoid obsolescence.Thumma noted the profound effect of the pandemic on congregational life during his sabbatical at the start of the pandemic, which resulted in a grant for a 5-year study.The Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations study revealed both positive and troubling aspects of the pandemic's impact on congregational dynamics.Earlier in 2021, congregational life was at a low point, but there was a sense of community and rallying together to address the challenges.Many congregations have shifted back to in-person programs and meetings, finding in-person interactions to be richer and more robust.Scott Thumma points out that some functions, such as adult education and committee meetings, can function significantly better virtually.Scott Thumma emphasizes the importance of making congregations reflect the customizable and virtual nature of the modern era, and discusses how hybridity can expand the number of people serviced in a congregation and meet the expectations of visitors and new members.Scott Thumma acknowledges the collective trauma experienced during the pandemic, noting changes in behavior and a sense that "none of us are the same."Trends show that congregation sizes and average ages of attendees and pastors have continued to change, but the pandemic didn't radically impact the overall trajectory of the church.Scott Thumma is concerned about a decreasing willingness to change among congregations since the pandemic, leading to reluctance for continued adaptation and change.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations REPORTExploring the Pandemic Impact on Congreagions WEBSITEExploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations WEBINAR SERIESHartford Institute for Religion ResearchFaith Communities TodayRelated episodes:Ep. 153: Leadership in a Time of Declining Church Attendance, with Thom RainerDownload the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
197. Meaningful Risk, A Quick Conversation with Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson
7:19Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson unpack a quote by Andy Crouch emphasizes the importance of finding the right meaningful risk in unlocking flourishing for both oneself and those entrusted to their care. Tod and Markus discuss the concept of meaningful risk as distinct from mere risk-taking, emphasizing the role of discernment in pursuing risks that are truly worth taking. They delve into the idea that meaningful vulnerability, willingly embraced for the sake of others' flourishing, is an essential aspect of leadership. Drawing on theological insights, they reflect on the example of God's meaningful risk in incarnating into the world, offering valuable perspectives on how to navigate fear and resistance to vulnerability in leadership.Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss this quote from Andy Crouch in Episode 113: Flourishing Leadership:“Finding the right meaningful risk will unlock flourishing for you and the people you’re entrusted with.” THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Finding the right meaningful risk unlocks flourishing for individuals and the people they're entrusted with.Leadership involves discerning what risks are meaningful and worth taking.Meaningful vulnerability is willingly allowing oneself to be vulnerable for the greater good and flourishing of others.Taking meaningful risks and embracing vulnerability reflects the wisdom and love of God.Resistance to vulnerability is common, but embracing meaningful risks can lead to unlocking new possibilities and flourishing in organizations and communities.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
196. Overcoming Bad Religion, with Todd Hunter, author of What Jesus Intended
35:14Todd Hunter leads Churches for the Sake of Others, a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America, and is the author of What Jesus Intended: Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion.In this episode, Todd Hunter and I discuss “bad religion,” “good religion,” and what it means to be the church God has called us to be. THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Todd discusses "bad religion," referring to church actions that harm people, including sexual and financial scandals and misuse of power.He shares personal experiences of witnessing bullying and manipulation within charismatic and Pentecostal circles.The conversation explores the historical existence of bad religion and the pursuit of healthy and faithful religion.Todd Hunter emphasizes the importance of listening without compromise and using Jesus as an example of engaging with others while staying true to beliefs.Churches need to listen, especially to victims, without giving up on fundamental beliefs, to reshape churches towards goodness.Markus Watson contrasts Jesus' engagement with marginalized individuals with the church's perceived engagement.Todd discusses the need for the church to engage with unique Christian claims while avoiding a privileged and know-it-all attitude.He emphasizes the theological meaning of "end" and God's healing the world through his people.Todd believes that God's people will rule and reign with him in a renewed heaven and earth.He shares insights from Dallas Willard about engaging in conversations with others.Christ followers need to have honest conversations with others while remaining grounded in their own beliefs.Todd Hunter discusses the negative impact of fear and anxiety and emphasizes the eschatological nature of faith for pastors living in a post-Christendom world.It is important to understand the broader intentions of Jesus beyond just dying for salvation.Todd Hunter expresses a desire to reintroduce Jesus to people who are disengaged from traditional church practices.Churches need to meet people where they are, tailoring church practices to different communities.The conversation acknowledges the value of traditional church forms while emphasizing openness to various expressions of faith beyond traditions like house churches.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Todd Hunter:www.toddhunter.orgwww.c4so.orgCenter for Justice and Peace Books mentioned:What Jesus Intended, by Todd HunterJesus and the Victory of God, by N.T. WrightA Church Called Tov, by Scot McKnight and Laura BarringerPray as You GodFresh ExpressionsRelated episodes:Episode 126: A Crisis of Adult Discipleship, with Brian WallaceEpisode 92: Against a Culture of Abuse, with Scot McKnight and Laura BarringerDownload the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
195. Cultivating Vision through Listening, a Quick Conversation with Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson
7:15In this quick conversation Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson explore a thought-provoking quote from Alexia Salvatierra, a professor at Centro Latino at Fuller Theological Seminary. The quote, "If you don't listen, you can't see what God is doing," sparks a deep discussion on the importance of listening and discerning God's work in the world. Tod shares insights on the implications of this quote for leadership, the significance of listening to others, and the challenges of opening ourselves up to different perspectives.Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss this quote from Alexia Salvatierra in Episode 101: Gratitude, Grief, and Guilt--the Church After Covid:"If you don't listen, you can't see what God is doing."THIS EPISODE"S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE"Listening is crucial for discerning and seeing what God is doing.Rather than being vision casters, leaders should focus on hearing the voice of God and sensing His direction.Listening to others, including neighbors and different perspectives, helps in recognizing God's work, especially in our blind spots.It's important to force ourselves to open up to other voices and perspectives to better hear and see what God is doing.To better discern God's leading, it's essential to stop and listen, particularly to those who have been ignored.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
194. Saudade, Leadership, and Nurturing the Inner Life, with Jeff Crosby, author of The Language of the Soul
39:34Jeff Crosby is President and CEO of ECPA, the trade association of Christian pulishers, and the author of The Language of the Soul: Meeting God in the Longings of Our Hearts.In this episode, I’m speaking with Jeff Crosby about our longings. We discuss a Portuguese word—saudade—which, according to Jeff, is an untranslatable word that refers to a kind of deep, inner longing that every human feels.As leaders, it’s so important to recognize our longings. And it’s even more important to meet God in the midst of our longings.THIS EPISODES HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Jeff Crosby is President and CEO of ECPA, the trade association of Christian pulishers, and the author of The Language of the Soul: Meeting God in the Longings of Our Hearts.Jeff Crosby discusses the concept of saudade as a deep inner longing and its resonance with spiritual longing and leadership.The episode delves into how individuals can recognize signals of disintegration in their lives and the need to center themselves, seeking support from spiritual friends, counselors, or spiritual directors.Jeff Crosby and Markus Watson discuss the different dimensions of saudade, involving personal relationships, meaningful work, and a sense of belonging, peace, and safety.The structure of the book, focusing on internal, external, and eternal longings, is highlighted, emphasizing the universal nature of yearning in leadership and personal development.Jeff discusses the value of saudade and the inner journey of affirming it and finding God's presence, especially in times of loss and change.In the context of a changing world and ministry, Jeff Crosby address the impact of loss and the way it affects individuals and their leadership roles.Jeff Crosby's book, The Language of the Soul, should be read slowly, allowing it to have a deep impact on the soul.Jeff and Markus discuss the potential negative effects of pushing down desires in leadership.Jeff Crosby’s book is meant to tap into readers' own saudade and prompt reflection on their desires, inspired by the notion that spirituality revolves around handling the pain and hope brought by yearning.Jeff Crosby and Markus Watson emphasize the crucial role of of an undivided life in leadership.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Jeff Crosby:Evangelical Christian Publishers AssociationBooks mentioned:The Language of the Soul, by Jeff CrosbyHinge Moments, by D. Michael LindsayRelated Episodes:Episode 96: Crossing Leadership Thresholds, with Jeff CrosbyEpisode 142: Navigating the 7 Stages of Transition, with D. Michael LindsayDownload the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
193. The Power of Healthy Anger in Ministry, a Quick Conversation with Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson
7:43Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss the role of anger in leadership. They emphasize the importance of acknowledging and addressing anger in a healthy way, shifting the focus from retaliation to addressing the systems that need to be changed. They highlight the significance of understanding and navigating the anger of others, especially in the context of leading change in churches and organizations. Through their conversation, they underscore the value of naming anger as a legitimate feeling and taking responsibility for creating healthier systems that promote flourishing and minimize harm.Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss this quote from Chuck Whitley in Episode 81: Anger and Spiritual Leadership:“We need to shift our anger from responding with retaliation to addressing systems that need to be changed.” THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Tod Bolsinger emphasizes the discomfort often associated with acknowledging anger in a ministry or leadership context.The conversation delves into the relationship between fear, hurt, and the unconscious tendency to retaliate when triggered by anger.Reflecting on the civil rights movement, the episode illustrates the power of addressing broken systems in a transformative manner without resorting to retaliation.The discussion highlights regional variations in passive-aggressive behavior, emphasizing the importance of owning and addressing the impact of every action within a ministry setting.Tod Bolsinger provides practical insights on navigating and addressing the anger of others within a ministry context, emphasizing the value of addressing the deeper emotions behind the anger.The episode emphasizes the legitimacy of healthy anger in leadership and the acknowledgment that change within ministries can elicit fear and anger, often expressed as anger.Listeners gain valuable insights into understanding and responding to anger within ministry, acknowledging that change and faithful leadership can provoke anger, and providing guidance on managing this during significant transitions.Download the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.
192. Leading Change Without Authority, with Roy Inzunza, Corporate Chaplain
35:14Roy Inzunza is corporate chaplain at Hoehn Motors in San Diego and works as an adaptive leadership coach with Tod Bolsinger.In this episode, Roy Inzunza shares about his experience as a corporate chaplain. He shares not only how he began to see needs in the staff and in the organization that no one else saw—or no one was addressing—but he also shares how he began to lead from the margins. By changing himself he began to change the system.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Roy Inzunza is corporate chaplain at Hoehn Motors in San Diego and works as an adaptive leadership coach with Tod Bolsinger.Inzunza started his own chaplaincy business called SquarePatch, providing spiritual care and well-being to clients.Being a corporate chaplain comes with challenges as the workforce is often diverse in terms of beliefs and issues.Roy Inzunza has dealt with various issues like divorce, addiction, health problems, and workplace dynamics in his role as a chaplain.His pursuit of a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary has helped him explore how the Gospel impacts personal and professional thriving.Inzunza has expanded his focus to include caring for the shared life and health of the organization.The positive response to his recent work has led to requests for training managers to make adaptive shifts in managing conflict.Low morale and a lack of joy in the workplace are pain points that Roy addresses in his chaplaincy work.Roy Inzunza highlights the importance of making adaptive shifts to increase joy in the workplace.Navigating resistance from others when making changes is a challenge that Inzunza has faced.Roy reflects on his initial defensive response to resistance and acknowledges the ongoing issue that needed addressing.Both Inzunza and Watson emphasize that leadership requires personal change as well.Inzunza describes the experiments he is conducting to address adaptive challenges, such as sending a weekly email about workplace courage practices. The positive responses and conversations sparked by the email have surprised Roy.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Roy InzunzaSquarepatch.org Church Leadership InstituteAdaptive Church Leadership CohortBooks mentioned:Life of the Beloved, by Henri NouwenFuller Theological SeminaryDoctor of Ministry (D.Min.) ProgramDownload the FREE course, Becoming Leaders of Shalom.