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The Emotionally Healthy Church, Expanded Edition: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives Hardcover – February 20, 2010

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The Emotionally Healthy Church, Expanded Edition: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives + The Emotionally Healthy Church Workbook: 8 Studies for Groups or Individuals + Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Exp Upd edition (February 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310293359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310293354
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'This book addresses one of the greatest challenges church leaders face -- how to be healthy people creating healthy communities. It is written by a battle-scarred practitioner who knows whereof he speaks. I wish I'd read it 20 years ago.' -- John Ortberg, Author, Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

New Foreword from the author

After several years of living out the principles of The Emotionally Healthy Church within the local church I pastor, I wrote them in the first edition of this book. My intention was to speak particularly to pastors, elders, deacons, and ministry and small group leaders. Little did I know that the book's message would spread beyond church leaders to countless others struggling with the integration of emotional health and biblical spirituality. Even more of a surprise was the centrality of this issue not only for the church in North America, but around the world.

During 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. I have grown theologically as I have encountered new personal and leadership applications of the material. As a result, each chapter has been edited, expanded, and updated.

Moreover, this journey has led me to add a seventh, indispensable principle: lead with integrity. The pace of my life slowed down considerably when I began integrating emotional health with my discipleship. It takes time -- lots of it -- to feel, to grieve, to listen, to reflect, to be mindful of what is going on around and in us. This radically shifted my priorities at home and in my work. Emotional health also created a hunger within Geri and me for a deeper communion with God. This in turn led to an exploration of contemplative spiritual practices, culminating in a four-month sabbatical in 2003 - 2004. Our aim was to study the riches of the contemplative tradition and its applications for a missional church like ours. This immersion into such spiritual disciplines as silence and solitude transformed us, and eventually, our church. Insights from these experiences are sprinkled throughout the book.

While the contemplative tradition helped me considerably in my efforts to lead with integrity, I had yet to apply emotional health to my leadership. That turned out to be a challenging, complex task. I describe this unfolding in the new chapter 11, "Slow Down to Lead with Integrity."

One final note: 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. You could spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of each -- from limits, to brokenness, to grieving, to learning to love well. Please read slowly, prayerfully, and thoughtfully. As you do, ask the question, "How is God coming to me through this?" Consider making personal applications in a journal or in the back of the book, noting the page number for future reference.

Be 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. When you understand this, you will walk through a door in your spiritual journey. Few ever return to a tip-of-the-iceberg discipleship that overemphasizes activity but does not deeply transform from the inside out. By God's grace, you will never be the same. And you will embark on an exciting journey toward a beautiful life that will touch everyone around you -- in your family, church, workplace, and neighborhood.

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Customer Reviews

This was an easy book to read.
Victoria Johnson
Pastor Scazzero demonstrates out of his weakness the truth of his journey to emotional health and spiritual maturity and provides a guide for us in the process.
David Peterson
I would make this book required reading for every Christian if I could, especially my pastor and fellow church members.
H. Roach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
PREMISE: Too many of our churches are led by people who claim spiritual maturity, but lack the ability to live godly lives because of their emotional immaturity. Now . . . do we know ahyone like that?!?
PLAN: We must (starting with the leaders) grow in emotional maturity. Here are the basic steps . . . 1) We must look below the surface of our lives, 2) We must come to grips with the scars from our past, 3) We must learn to be honest about our brokenness and become vulnerable. (I have noticed that those Christians I most admire have the ability to be open and honest about their lives.), 4) We must learn how to say, "No" and follow God rather than be pushed around by others, 5) We must not run from the pain of life, but rather embrace it and learn to grow through pain, 6) We must take the lessons we have learned and step into incarnational ministry as Jesus did.
POSITIVES: The author writes from personal experience. After many years of seemingly successful ministry as a pastor with a rapidly growing church plant and invitations to speak in a growing number of seminars across the country he finds himself with a crumbling marriage and a major church split when one of his staff defects and starts a new rival ministry. The pain of this experience woven through the pages of the book lend an air of credibility to the message.
PROBLEMS: There aren't many. The author's mix of counseling techniques and spiritual formation could cause the reader to raise his or her eyebrows, but I don't consider this much of a problem. I like to be challenged by what I read. The author waxes and wanes hot and cold in a place or two. I liked some chapters better than others, but that's normal for me.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wilbur Fong on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Scazzero's thesis is that the emotional health and spiritual health of a Christian are inseparable. The discipleship model of the church must nurture emotional growth in order to foster true spiritual maturity. Scazzero suggests six principles in building an emotionally healthy church: (1) Look beneath the iceberg; (2) Break the power of the past; (3) Live in brokenness and vulnerability; (4) Receive the gift of limits; (5) Embrace grieving and loss; and (6) Make incarnation the model of loving well.

One benefit of this book is that Scazzero has integrated various topics of emotional health and Christian spirituality into a single volume, providing the backbone for a comprehensive discipleship course on emotional health. Daniel Coleman pioneered emotional intelligence. Edwin Friedman and Ronald Richardson developed family systems theory. Henri Nouwen wrote The Wounded Healer. Henry Cloud and John Townsend advocated boundaries. Parker Palmer relates vocational discernment and accepting limits. Jerry Sittster and Nicholas Wolterstorff shared how God may be doing soul work through experiences of grief and loss. Numerous experts have talked about listening skills, self-differentiation, and empathy. Scazzero's contribution is in pulling these resources together; weaving them masterfully into a coherent work; and providing compelling reasons why this work is important for the emotional health of the church.

A second benefit is that Scazzero has taken an evangelical approach by making a noble attempt to build his six principles on biblical foundations. For example, Scazzero takes the secular Emotional Intelligence material and slips a theology of grace underneath. The Gospel provides the motivation, power, and security for us to look beneath the surface (principle 1).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Donald C. Hartness on March 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
So many books, but so little substance. If you are a church leader, pastor, minister, or leader of a small group, this book is beyond must read. Many books will help you teach spiritual principles, many books will teach you how to build width in membership and attendance, but this book will help you build DEPTH and will start with one person: you. Don't go any further in your ministry until you've read this. You won't regret it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Keith M. Abolnik on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Emotionally Healthy Church effectively addresses an overlooked need in the North American Church. Although the premise that emotional health and spiritual health must be wholly integrated is not a new concept, it certainly has been a neglected truth in the past few decades. The result of such neglect has sabotaged our effectiveness in producing healthy disciples, and healthy churches. Since our current approach to discipleship has failed to bear the fruit of genuinely "mature" followers of Christ, perhaps this book has been prophetically written for "such a time as this."

Mr. Scazzero's six principles for bringing about an emotionally healthy discipleship are passionately written from the perspective of one who has personally been struggling with these issues, who has now found a way to recognize (and consequently help his readers to recognize) the unaddressed/unmet needs of our emotional/inner life. He can then reveal to us the appropriate steps to be taken in finding the pathway to wholeness. The fact that the author has struggled in such a personal way assures the reader that this is not just another theoretical approach to church health/growth.

Although this book is very helpful and insightful, I personally found it lacking in laying out a clear strategy for discipleship. The author did give examples of people who were addressed in specific areas of weakness, but failed to outline how the disciplinary/recovery plan was implemented with the kind of detail that would help other pastors deal with similar situations. I would like to have seen a detailed outline of the use of leadership and people skills in addressing the issues with the lives of his staff members and parishioners.

The Body of Christ is both organic and institutional.
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