The bottom line: Solid, practical, and actionable advice based on real-life experience, character-building adversity, and sound Biblical principles.
When it comes to church-building, spirituality and personal development, many books are written “high” and set a pristine bar that you should reach for. The Emotionally Healthy Church is not that kind of book. It is written “low.” That is, it reaches church leaders and church goers where they are and conveys genuine advice from a church leader that quickly admits how broken, vulnerable and limited that he is. It is from this “low” posture that the author Peter Scazzero begins to show the reader how, through Christ, to build the self and the church step-by-step.
The Emotionally Healthy Church subsequently explains seven principles that reveal how those in the church can develop a deep, personal relationship with Jesus and therefore have more meaningful relationships with one another.
As the author writes, church building begins with self-building (looking inward before looking outward) and church building always begins with the leadership and then moves outward.
The Emotionally Healthy Church does not seek to solve superficial problems (e.g. apathy, sadness, hostility, marital discord, defensiveness, neglect of family, church strife) but instead seeks to uncover the larger issue (or bulk of the iceberg) that dwells beneath the surface that’s causing the difficulty.
It is by dealing with these core issues that people can go from being emotionally immature to emotionally mature and conquer crippling, longstanding issues.
Because the author writes everything from the standpoint of everyday experience, he frequently refers to the church he founded (New Life Christian Fellowship) and the people and circumstances he dealt with in this ministry. These references are very frequent and at times it feels as if one is reading the autobiography of a specific institution and not a text that has broad, objective appeal. The nuggets of wisdom communicated through the stories are valuable nonetheless.
As a leader in the church, this book is a tremendous resource not only for the congregants but for the leadership team as well. Transformative change begins at the top, so this book is particularly impactful for pastors and elders. There are some things that are only learned through earnest fellowship with God and the strife that builds character.
The Emotionally Healthy Church is overflowing with practical, everyday knowledge, and wisdom that every church should learn, meditate on and digest. I dare say any ministry determined to demonstrate Christ to the others and raise up disciples absolutely has to read this book.