“We will never growth healthy churches without healthy leaders,” claims Lance Witt in his great book Replenish:Leading from a Healthy Soul.
Doesn’t that sound obvious? Who wouldn’t want to lead from a healthy soul? Why then do we find ourselves as leaders running on empty? Or making life decisions that lead to disaster when we know better?
That’s why this book is so valuable. Replenish not only lays out the challenge to grow healthy churches with healthy leaders, it provides the tools to do so.
I am so glad I read this book s-l-o-w-l-y. With its 41 short chapters, it would have been easy to zip through this book. Instead, my pace was a chapter a night followed up the next morning by journaling through the questions each chapter provided. Such a pace provided room for pondering and reflecting, even more applying the lessons learned.
After a 3 chapter introduction to re-frame a church leader’s focus to one’s life in Christ, and not merely one’s work for Christ. Replenish covers 4 areas of filling one’s soul to overflowing:
1. De-toxing Your Soul
From managing one’s image to being addicted to approval to being fatigued, frazzled and fried. Replenish holds the mirror up for a closer look into one’s heart, into one’s life. Toxins easily and readily attack the soul. These chapters provide an awareness of what’s at stake and of the pitfalls ministry can bring to one’s own soul development. As Lance writes, “Busyness will not only distract, it will infect. Your busyness will damage your soul.”
2. Start Here … Start Now
Baby steps begin the way to soul replenishment. Too often we get to AWOL (A Worn Out Life) and are not sure how to navigate our way back to an invigorated life. These initial steps show that simplicity is not simple, but that in discovering the rhythms of leading from a healthy soul one’s life can be renewed.
3. Sustaining a Lifetime of Health
Powerful part of the book in building spiritual habits that care for one’s soul. This was my favorite part of the book as it helped me identify some areas to correct and how to correct them. I loved his Sabbath quote from Lynne Baab, “Sabbath is God’s gracious ‘five o’clock’ whistle’ that give me permission to stop and lay down my tools, ready or not.” And this gem from Tony Blair, “The art of leadership is not saying yes, it is saying no.”
4. Building Healthy Teams
Most challenging and most needed part of the book in my life were these chapters, especially Chapter 39: Are Your Systems Vitamins or Toxins? My favorite concept from this section comes from Lance as he states, “Ministry leaders are usually better quarterbacks than coaches.” Quarterbacks like to be on the field making plays. Coaches develop players. In ministry the greatest impact is made by coaches.
I give Replenish 5 out of 5 stars. Not only was it a great read, it is a great tool for building a healthy soul for leadership. I found the book so valuable I ordered copies for my fellow administrative staff to work through and hopefully to growth through. I figured it was a good coach move to make! Pick up your own copy of the book and check out more Replenish resources here especially the Soul Care Health Assessment.
As you look at your life and leadership, it it well with your soul? What is helping you these days to lead from a healthy soul?