Terry Linhart drops by Valor Media to talk about the vital topic of becoming a more self-aware leader and self-aware believer. We discuss…
- How to become a self-aware leader and what that looks like.
- What healthy friendships and accountability look like.
- How to develop deep relationships that last.
- How to detect your own blindspots.
- And more all from a Biblical Worldview.
INTRO WITH TERRY & MIKE
Michael Stover: Hey, everyone, thanks for coming on again. I really appreciate the questions that you’ve had before for the last episode at Valor Media and we’re happy here to have Terry Linhart. He wrote a book called The Self-Aware Leader: Discovering Your Blind Spots to Reach Your Ministry Potential from IVP. And
honestly, this book, it’s both convicting and encouraging at the same time… And timely in light of a lot
of things that’s happened over the last year or so.
Michael Stover: So, Terry, if you don’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your
background and what sparked the book?
Terry Linhart: Sure. Yeah. Well, thank you for having me on the podcast. I appreciate that. And, you know, I love that you said it was encouraging too because certainly we’ve read our share of books talking about blind spots and leadership failures, and we just come away so discouraged or feel like we got brought in to
something we weren’t allowed to listen to or something. And I wanted it to be encouraging because I
wanted it to be uplifting. And we worked hard at that with the IVP staff for sure.
Terry Linhart: But, you know, it really came out of my years of developing young leaders for ministry and watching them head out into the field, into organizations and churches that were largely unprepared to really help someone grow personally. Most ministries just want you to come and do the work and put in the time. And I watched people, I watched myself you know, my own story is this, too, that in my twenties
I still had things to work on. I needed to develop personally.
Terry Linhart: And I have watched enough people leave and head out and run into these things and they just let go.
And it’s easier for a church to say, “Hey, we’re going to let this person go.” Instead of trying to work
with them and help them grow as a person. And so the shorthand the book is it’s kind of a supervisory
tool. It’s meant to be used in small groups or in a supervisor relationship. And it really does the heavy
lifting to bring us some topics that people are sometimes really uncomfortable talking about in
church settings in ways that are encouraging.
Terry Linhart: And so I just had a pastor yesterday text me from Miami using it with a mentoring relationship. He said, “Hey, thanks for the book it’s a great tool.”
Terry Linhart: And I said, “That’s perfect. That’s exactly what I created it for. And so I’m thrilled for it.” And this year has been exciting because a lot of people are rediscovering it; it’s been out for a couple of years and now it’s picking up steam again.
Michael Stover: Yeah, I am one of those people that I was searching through various publishers for books on this subject because I’m like… We have a lot of work to do in the church. And I mean, there’s a lot of good happening too. But yeah…
Terry Linhart: Well, the truth is we have work to do our whole lives. And I have a good friend, John Swanson, who helped me write some of the retreat guides we put with the book and some of the questions at the end. And occasionally I’ll be talking to him about something in my life and he’ll say, “Hey, Terry, page eighty-five in your book” or something. You know, it’s just it’s an ongoing process that God’s doing in our lives that we need to be able to do that during this interview.
Michael Stover: So speaking of, if you could still tell us more about your background with your experience and so forth I would love to hear more about that.
Terry Linhart: Yeah. So I went to college to be a Christian musician. I got there and realized that my talent level probably suggested otherwise, but I still have a music degree and love it. I got called to youth ministry
while there and went into Youth for Christ and quickly became a teacher and a trainer within the
organization. And that’s where God kind of showed me the is kind of my thing. And so a few years
later, we had a big turnover in our office, which was part of the impetus for the book, and just had to
work on some of my own issues.
Terry Linhart: This was about eight or nine years after college and I went off to a church and started working in grad programs. And so for the last 20 years, I’ve been at Bethel University in the Mishawaka South Bend area where I’ve been doing a variety of roles– started out with these ministries, then worship arts and some administration. And now we’re developing extension sites all across the country, partnering with churches to create affordable education. Right in churches that do ministry. It’s really exciting, very
Terry Linhart: And then for the last 10 years, I’ve been doing some work with Arbor Research Group where we’ve been helping organizations like Christianity Today, Intervarsity for Christ work on some projects and research of various sizes. And that’s been helpful for me to use my research degree.
Michael Stover: That’s really nice. Could you tell me about the websites that people could go to find out more about that?
Terry Linhart: Yeah, absolutely. So all the above I have TerryLinhart.com is my personal site. SelfAwareLeader.org, the ArborResearchGroup.org. Arbor as in the thing you walk through when you’re going somewhere, which is we help people, Christian organizations, churches get somewhere and then yeah, our extension studies program at Bethel is BUX Bethel University extension site, BethelUniversity.edu. And you can learn more about the program there.
Author of Self-Aware Leader
Co-Executive Director of Valor Media.
WHAT IS A SELF-AWARE LEADER?
Michael Stover: That’s awesome. Thank you. I appreciate it. So the first question is, what is a self-aware leader?
Terry Linhart: Yeah, it’s a great question. Well, the definition, I think, for me is the purpose of the book is that we just become more like self-help. It’s to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of God in our lives so that we can do what is called us to do. I love Bob Mulholland’s definition of spiritual
formation, “Be conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” So I’m a self-aware leader when I’m paying attention to who I am in ministry and leadership and understanding that I have my histories, got some blind spots.
Terry Linhart: [Blind spots] it comes from driving a car. Right? If you’ve tried to change lanes perhaps once and there’s a little Prius sitting in your blind spot on the left side, you thought you had kind of cleared your blind spots, but you did or someone’s got a muffler hanging out, and it’s spewing smoke on the road.
We can’t see that. Others can, but that’s we need help looking in behind us. There’s too many people in ministry that are leading and they’re leading forward and they’re leaving a bunch of junk and smellynstuff behind them and they don’t know it.
Terry Linhart: And so self-aware… It allows others, allows God to speak in their lives in ways I want to be the best I can be because I want to be the best for you that I could be. And I think that’s a good definition.
HOW DOES BECOMING SELF-AWARE HELP OURSELVES, OUR WALK WITH GOD, AND OUR IMPACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE?
Michael Stover: That’s good. I think that really helped clarify. So how does becoming self-aware help ourselves, our walk with God, and our impact on other people?
Terry Linhart: So I think self-awareness isn’t about all the negative stuff that we have in our lives. I mean, that’s what we run to, right? We’ve got secret sins and we’re trying to hide that… We’re compulsive gamblers or something, you know, and certainly, we all have things to work on.
Terry Linhart: But I also think that in the blind spots are some gifting and opportunities we don’t know we have as well. And so when we stop and say, I don’t know it all, which for unfortunately for Christian leaders, for male Christian leaders who have strong personality types, it’s hard to say that I was with a leader this week. He is used to having done everything perfectly, has stepped up to a bigger stage, and now there’s some things they’re realizing they don’t do as well as other things because they’ve been
Terry Linhart: And ministry is this 30-ton press. You know, it’s like the old Dave Letterman show where he squashed things that he wanted to see what came out the sides. This is pressing out…and out of it oozes our emotional junk in our history and all of that. And Paul certainly was one of the most self-aware
leaders in scripture. He said, “Hey, I did this and this, but I wasn’t this. And if anybody can brag, it’s
me. But I don’t because of this…” And he shows this sense of self-awareness, I think.
Terry Linhart: So if we follow a biblical example of an apostle, then we want to do that. And then I can offer to you the best version of me that God’s created me to be. And I think that’s it. And the reality is we don’t drift towards better behaviors. We don’t. If we’re just going to say, “I’m just going to go along.” it’s like if you never care about how you eat or you work out or anything like that, you’re never going to get
stronger and better.
Terry Linhart: And the same thing is true in how we interact with each other.
Michael Stover: That’s good. It reminds me of a quote from a Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig, and he said, “Your greatest apologetic is your life.” Basically, for those who don’t know, apologetics is just having a reason for the hope that’s in us with gentleness and respect. And most of the time, people may not ask for the reason, for the hope that’s in you if you’re going around spreading your garbage.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, I mean, I’ll give you an example as a kid. We had a lay leader in our church, but as a pastor, leader was held up as an example of a person of prayer and piety and all this stuff. But yet, he was the grumpiest person. I just didn’t ever want to hang around him. And I thought, well, really, as a teenager,
who wanted to follow Jesus, I said, “If that’s what a person of prayer is like in everyday life, then
what’s the purpose?”
Terry Linhart: What does prayer get you? That was kind of my thing. And so certainly if you’re not in a church and you’re looking in, you know, there’s a great evangelistic book a sociologist wrote about and he said, “One of the things we can do in churches is just live our life out in front of people so they can see, oh,
that’s what it means to be a Christian.” Right?
Michael Stover: Salt and light and lived in community among one another. It’s overlooked. There’s passages about how you live should be above reproach, even with outsiders.
Michael Stover: And we overlook that. We think if I do these prayers and read the Bible and all, I’m good, but..We’ll touch on this later when you talked about the renovation of the heart, which I want to unpack later on, it’s a very important subject. But we recently had an interview with Chuck DeGroat, who also wrote for IVP on When Narcissists Come to the Church. And as many of us know, narcissists have an extreme lack of self-awareness.
Michael Stover: And if we had an environment that fosters self-awareness, do you think there would be less narcissistic leaders and unsafe leadership in general?
CELEBRITY CULTURE AND NARCISSTIC LEADERSHIP
Terry Linhart: Yeah, you know, so we’re going to get into it [more] here a little bit now in this topic. So, unfortunately, when I wrote the book, I worked with some colleagues from Liberty University and we talked about Narcissistic Personality Disorders because it’s come up in the literature that pastors fall prey to this more than we know. It’s more prevalent than we know. And Christian counselors would confirm that. And I don’t know that we know how to do otherwise right now.
Terry Linhart: We don’t have good models for this. Unfortunately, in the church right now, I think it’s coming. We want to. But we’re in the celebrity culture, our churches are designed for celebrity culture and it’s hard to shake, and now we have this fascination with authoritarian structures within the church, so we
consolidate power, smaller elder boards that don’t do anything. And I think we’re in an age where over
the last three or four years, we’ve seen God do a work to topple some of these systems.
Terry Linhart: Suddenly, we’re being exposed. Now we think we’re at the top and protected. But we’ve seen churches who have kind of protected the pastors poor behaviors, now exposed Christian ministries, and we hear more. I think that God’s up to something to say, that’s not the way of the shepherds. And I think the image of Paul has been distorted as an apostle and how he acted because he cared deeply and he lived among people and humbly…He wasn’t this fiery in-and-out kind of you-can’t-touch-me kind of
Terry Linhart: So, yes, I think that we could get there, but it really is going to take something… Systems that are different than the ones we’re operating in. And that’s hard to overcome.
Michael Stover: Yeah, almost like trying to move the Titanic from…
Terry Linhart: Well, you’re interviewing authors right now. I think the rule of the world of writing books has changed suddenly. Now it is about getting your ideas out. And so when I have people every month, I have someone I want to write a book, how do I do that? And I help them. I love helping them do that. And
we’ve had some get published, but it’s not published for money it is published to get your ideas out.
The idea that I’m going to write a book and be famous and have a lot of money, I think that’s certainly
flattening. COVID has accelerated that so now I say, “Well, do you want to get your idea out or do you
want to be on a platform? And we’ve been fascinated with ideas of platform in the Christian
community for a while because we have some Christian leaders who have gone into the business
world and bring it back and all that. And I think influence in ministry is different than wanting to stand
on a platform.
Michael Stover: Yeah, actually can you touch on that more about influence, the influence of the platforming and wanting to have too much attention on yourself?
Terry Linhart: Well, you got to be careful because you can’t just do a one-sided wave your hand and say these are not the platforms you’re looking for, kind of thing, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Right? But the reality is that we just have to be super careful. An ego is a difficult thing. I was on a Zoom call yesterday with a really
strong regional leader.
Terry Linhart: And the motivations are different. But there’s that sense of “I’m using my gifts to the best of my ability to have the most influence.” (I’ll come to your answer in a second.) And so I’ve had to say when I’ve had opportunities, I talk to my wife and I say, “Well, you know, I’m trying to be humble. I don’t want to do that.”
Terry Linhart: And she’ll say, “Well, God’s wired you this way to do this. So don’t shrink from the moment you didn’t seek it out.”
THE VALUE OF COACHES IN A CHRISTIAN LIFE
Michael Stover: Can you touch on the value of coaches and the Christian life?
Terry Linhart: Absolutely. Well, I’ve realized about six years ago that I need male friendships and I need to pursue them more than I just take them for granted. And so I have three really dear friends in my circle here locally and I have three nationally and I spend time with all of them regularly. And it’s a mutual back
and forth with them there. I had benefited from in the early days for seven years, eight years in
ministry, two coaches, and they coached me every week.
Terry Linhart: One was on the admin–this is the advantage, I think, of growing up in a large parachurch organization where coaching structures are built-in, like Young Life, Intervarsity, Youth for Christ, as opposed to a church where it’s kind of like go out and run in front of the canons and don’t get hit, don’t make too much noise down the hall. So I met with I met with Tom every Monday and we just talked to my
schedule. He saw and I turned in an actual schedule and then a proposed schedule.
Terry Linhart: So I was accountable for all 50 hours every week. And then Tim was my communications coach, where we talked about how to speak and the nature of building relationship with teenagers. And the first time I talked the next day, he kind of tore into me a little bit for thirty or forty minutes, and said
“You’re doing great to here. And then you did this and it was like, I didn’t get that.” And that was a
foundation I can’t replace.
Terry Linhart: And then when I went to grad school, Dave Runs was in that role and still is a good friend of mine and helped me. And we wrote our first book together. And that started me on the whole writing journey for all the books I’ve done. And yeah, I’ve been really benefited from coaches. And now, though, it’s much more mutual, I think we need to lean into that because here’s why. Here’s why I’ve been with enough leaders, some pretty significant names that you would know from the early evangelical parachurch
days and I have been with them in their retirements.
Terry Linhart: And what they always talk about isn’t all their accomplishments, it isn’t the articles and the books, it’s the name of this person, this person, this person. It’s the relationships that matter most to us at the end of our days.
Michael Stover: And the relationships are what will stay with us on the new heaven and new earth.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, absolutely.
Michael Stover: It’s the time we spend here in our relationships. It’s almost like it deepens what’s on the other end.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, we have no idea…We think heaven is static and there’s nothing about God that’s static…We think we have is so good here but yet, we still want more. Imagine the want for more is taken away.
Michael Stover: Doesn’t C.S. Lewis mention that? Mud patties, if you will, and thinking we have it all good, if you will, and yet, God has this whole rich world out here.
WHAT DOES HEALTHY ACCOUNTABILITY LOOK LIKE?
Michael Stover: I want to touch on accountability, healthy accountability in light of coaching and healthy friendships. In fact, it’s probably good to touch on what is healthy friendship versus unhealthy friendship, because you wouldn’t believe how many, especially young friends of mine, don’t even know what it means to have a real friend versus, hey, you’re on my social media, so you’re my friend.
Michael Stover: You know what I mean? There’s something about learning what it means to have a real friend and valuing that and investing in that friendship versus, I don’t know, acquaintances and the levels of discernment is what I would say, because if we’re not discerning, we can let unsafe people in our life
that we call friends. I know Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote a book on Safe People. So that’s’s
part of the reason why that’s relevant. So if you could touch on that, what is healthy accountability in
light of being a self-aware leader?
Terry Linhart: You want us to solve all the problems. How to do friendships, how to do accountability… So
accountability is a dangerous area in that it’s often too frequently used as a bully club like a stick. You
beat people over, right? You’re accountable to me. I’m your supervisor and so forth. There’s two
dangerous ditches, my pastor Dave talks about. There’s two dangerous ditches in good, effective
leadership. And you learn to avoid both: you over-control or you neglect.
Terry Linhart: And you want to do both, right? I mean, you want to be in the middle between both. You want to be able to have that influence and not be too controlling and yet not neglect and say, “hey, whatever.” So the way parents try to have that middle, we need to do that, too, with others. So a healthy
accountability. I think institutionally and structurally you need to be able to be accountable for all your
Terry Linhart: I love the idea of once a month of turning in an actual schedule and a proposed schedule. I think that’s a basic fundamental supervisory skill. How are you spending your time? And let me see that
and make sure and then you’re doing that. And here’s why. I think too many churches are falling to
either one of the ditches in neglect is probably more so than others, and especially in the area of
youth ministry where I got my start.
Terry Linhart: I’m amazed how many people in youth ministry spend very little time with youth. And all they do is they have this program inside their church building and inside their box and they want students to come to their box. But they spend very little time on campus or meeting students. And I just think
that’s kind of a soapbox of mine to go to. Half of your time should be with students somewhere, go
out wherever they are and whatever time they are.
Terry Linhart: So that’s’s one thing. So healthy accountability is that sense of I’ll let you see how I’m spending my time there. Also, you can look at all my social media accounts. I’m not going to post anything odd and weird in there.
Michael Stover: Yeah. [Laughter]
Terry Linhart: Healthy accountability, too, means that I’m going to let my [inaudible]. To me, it’s in a supervisory relationship. I’m probably less excited right now in my life about these accountability friendships or groups because I’ve been a part of them and I’ve had men lying to my face. So I probably didn’t share everything I needed to share with people, too. We just choose what we want to say and then some of us go out and do other things. And so that was really popular in the nineties and the eighties and too many people were hiding stuff from each other.
Terry Linhart: So that’s it. And I think the idea of friendship is we all have different–this is going to feel odd speaking to this–a little bit leaving out friendships with people. But we all have love languages and we think of them in the marriage situation. But there are some things that we like and some is time spent or notes of encouragement, gestures of acts of kindness, that kind of thing. And it’s just really helpful to
partner and with others and say, we’re going to be with you for the rest of our life.
Terry Linhart: Kelly and I and our family group, we meet every other Friday night. We meet this Saturday, though, but we do every other weekend. We’ve been doing that for twenty years and we do a variety of things.
There are five of us couples who started we’re now down to four couples and one single, and even
tonight I’m starting a project at home and one of the couples is coming over. And we basically have
looked at each other and said, “When we’re old, we don’t want to be alone and we’re committed to
each other for the rest of our lives.”
Terry Linhart: And that’s two or three more decades to go. So it’s a really amazing thing. And so when I get job offers and opportunities, the hardest part to think through is leaving the family group and moving
away. And we’ve decided we’re not doing that now. And so because it means so much to have these
people in our lives at this depth for this long, and we want to do it another 20 some years together. So,
Michael Stover: That’s what some people call forever friends.
Terry Linhart: Yeah.
HOW DO YOU CULTIVATE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS?
Michael Stover: I love that. A lot of people are looking for that. How do you find and foster that? Sounds like you guys were intentional about this.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, well, this is not I mean, this is way away from self-aware leader. But I’m telling you, I did a research project for SmallGroups.com. So Arbor Research Groupe, we did a piece with
SmallGroups.com and I learned they’re called legacy groups and every church ministry, Saddleback…
And we interviewed all the people that wrote small group books. And these are legacy groups. They
outlast the church program, which we change church programs all the time.
Terry Linhart: But we started as a church program. Our Sunday school has two adult small groups. And then every five or six years they wanted to change the groups in my church… we were trying to do
it every year, which is terrible. But it was… we were trying to control things and we went past that
because we just connected and clicked. We had great leaders who nurtured us. We figured out how to
do three things.
Terry Linhart: So you ask the question, one is we never judged when someone didn’t show up.
Michael Stover: That’s good.
Terry Linhart: Because if it wasn’t meaningful enough… If it was meaningful, people would want to show up. So some people skip to go see their son run a track. We skip because we’re on vacation or different
things we don’t want to skip because we built this stuff. Secondly, conflict is a step towards
community, right? So chaos and conflict are steps toward community. That’s part of… I wrote that in
the book, too. And I think when we get close, you have to figure out if you become like brothers and
sisters, you that brother and sisters don’t always get along, right?
Terry Linhart: And so I was with a guy in Minnesota. I went up to speak probably about Self Aware Leader, and we were in a car and I was talking about my family when he says, “Dude, how did you get past that final 10 percent, which is that issue of can we work through conflict well together when our feelings are
hurt, where most of the time we move to a new small group and try them out for a while till we get our
feelings hurt, we move to another small group… We decide that’s a big deal.
Terry Linhart: So that was it. We decided if we were going to act like brothers and sisters, I mean, we’re going to be that close, it’ll be that close. And we work past that conflict moment. That was about six, seven years in. And we’ve gone through grieving multiple times… tragedy. It’s been something.
Michael Stover: I know this sounds weird for me to say, that’s good that you went through grieving; my wife and I have chronic illnesses and we’ve gone through a lot of different tragedies.
Michael Stover: And I’ve noticed a lot of churches aren’t very trained on how to help through grieving long term or lamenting and things like that. They treat it like it’s sort of a less spiritual thing, some kind of sin or
something like that. And it’s like, didn’t Jesus say to go to those who mourn? Paul says to weep with
those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. That’s life; that’s real lived in life.
Terry Linhart: Let me just get on my soapbox again. So I got one with youth ministry, right. So let me do one about helping people who are hurting. My dad always used to say as a pastor, if you preach, people are hurting. You’ve got half the audience every Sunday. Right? Maybe a different half. They’re hurting
people. I think every church should have a grief share. It’s a thing you can start program. They should
have another group for emotional health. Call it something different than that, but just help people.
Mental health is the thing the church needs to be weighing in on right now. And that’s one thing. And
helping people work through difficulties in their lives. I think having an addictions program of some
sort. I know a church that does drug addictions, sexual addictions and other things. And it’s just an
honest conversation. It doesn’t have to happen on Sunday morning. You don’t advertise it; people will
find it, right? But the church I attend has a few of those.
And I’ll meet people in the community who don’t go to our church, who maybe aren’t even Christians,
and they’ll say, oh, I go to such and such church and they’ll say, “Oh, I love that grief share program or I
love that emotional health program because I went there for months and it really helped me. And you
think about people with physical disabilities too coming in. Is your church accessible and how do you
treat people like that? How do you treat these people? This is just so important for church to figure
Terry Linhart: And I’m hoping COVID accelerates this and understands we need to do that. I’m just too worried we’re going to get back to the entertainment model again.
Michael Stover: Yeah, it’s a little funny tension place that I’ve been in because, see, my wife and I mostly lived sort of a COVID life before it even happened. We were isolated at home for the most part because of our chronic illnesses. And it’s hard to go to certain local churches because of the building materials. We
have epilepsy and so forth and this stuff can cause seizures. And so we had to be we had to reinvent,
if you will, like, how do we do this?
Michael Stover: And we listen to sermons online, stuff like that. But, you know, it’s like I that’s part of the reason I started becoming attracted to IVP because they don’t shy away from these topics.
Michael Stover: They were like, yeah, we’re going to go there. We’re going to go into the controversial.
Michael Stover: We have to we’re going to talk about it.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, let me let me just interject. I don’t think they’re going into the controversial as much as the debated ones. They’re going to take on the hot topics. They’re not trying to be sensationalistic.
Michael Stover: Oh, no, no, I mean, we’re not afraid to talk about whatever is needed to talk about. I mean, there’s so many things that are like trauma that’s such an important topic to all of this. What can all of us do, including those listening in to increase self-awareness?
HOW CAN WE INCREASE OUR SELF-AWARENESS?
Terry Linhart: My little catchphrase people know about me is take a reaction selfie. You know, any time you react to something, whether it’s just the raise of the shoulders or eyebrow, just imagine you’re taking a little selfie right there and then later on, get a… I love pencil and paper. I love the scratch of lead on paper,
even over a pen. And there’s something cognitively about writing in a journal in the morning. Whatever
comes to mind, however many pages. Why did I react that way?
Terry Linhart: And what is that reaction telling me? It’s a little bit of an elevator shaft into the heart down deep inside. And then if you have a trusted friend, my wife is mine. Talk about it. And to say, “I’m noticing
this.” And it could be a positive. It’s not always a negative. “Why was I particularly joyful and happy
yesterday in this moment? What is it about it?” I remember that early on in my life and I said, “Why
was I happy in that moment?”
Terry Linhart: And the answer was, because I’m an evangelist at heart. No matter what I’m doing, even at a Christian university, even doing research for Christian organizations and mission-driven businesses, I want them to be successful because the gospel can be furthered. And that’s what gets me excited at the
end of the day. So that’s the one that’s self-aware and then have someone who you trust and say,
“Hey, how could I how could I have done better? What can I do to be better?”
Terry Linhart: And they don’t have to be your coach necessarily, they could be your pilgrim buddy, someone on the path with you where you just talk about what you’re learning. I’ll give you example. Let me just give an example. The other day I was getting on an airplane and we were backed up and we were… I was commenting about– this is a real basic thing–but I was commenting about the backup and what the
best way to get on a plane is, is it front to back and so forth and so on.
Terry Linhart: And then the lady in front of me said, “Hey, I saw a Myth Busters episode about this once. And I jumped in right away. And I was enthusiastic because I got a little bit of an enthusiastic type of
personality and I said, “Oh yeah, that one about this… And I went on and I could see in her reaction
that kind of she shrunk in the moment. And I caught myself and I said, “Terry, you just took away her
part of the conversation.”
Terry Linhart: At that moment, you were too dominant in your enthusiasm. You meant well. But here you are. You’re a taller male in a conversation with someone who was going to offer something and it was hers to offer. And you took it away. And I kind of got on the plane and felt bad. I wanted to reconnect with her
and apologize. And it wasn’t like she was mad or whatever. And I just picked up on a little bit of it.
But so I’ve started to now in conversation to form my fingers like this. I don’t know if people are
watching the video or not, but I’m holding a ping pong ball. And I thought for me, from now on,
conversation is going to be like a ping pong ball. I don’t want to be an older man who talks a lot like
some that I see a lot. We talk more as we age. I want to now be someone who listens as much as I
Terry Linhart: So it’s like ping pong. I get the ball, you get the ball back to me, and when the ball is on your side of the net, I don’t run over and play your shot. I let you play your shot. And so I find that that’s a little catchphrase to keep me self-aware. Terry, are you playing ping pong at this moment in this
conversation? Are you trying to play both sides of the net?
Michael Stover: That’s very helpful because I’m similar to you. I’m an evangelist-type person at heart, and I can not always realize [like you with your situation]. That’s why I said this book was a little convicting. My wife and I, we’ve been together for around ten years now. She’s my best friend and also my accountability.
And I told her a long time ago, I said, if I seem out of alignment, let me know. I don’t want you to be
afraid to tell me. A book that really impacted me was Gary Thomas’s book on Sacred Marriage.
Michael Stover: And it’s about how marriage helps you to be sanctified more because it’s like you’re in the terrain of…this person’s going to tell you what’s up. And I told her, I need to know. And she’s like, well, I know you’re passionate and you get excited, but you don’t realize that sometimes you can accidentally talk
over other people. And I was like, oh, no because that’s’s one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.
Michael Stover: And I’m like. Help me, Holy Spirit, with self-control, because that goes into the communication element and listening, it takes self-control to listen.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, take a ping pong with you next time, it works.
Michael Stover: I’m going to. Now, I’m going to mentally see this ping pong table.
Terry Linhart: There you go.
SELF-CARE AS IT RELATES TO THE CHISTIAN LIFE
Michael Stover: So can you explain how self-care ties in with self-awareness and how it’s not selfish? As you explained in your book, especially, it’s relating to page twenty-five with the quote from Parker Palmer.
Let me open it up for those who are listening. I do a lot of underlining.
Terry Linhart: Yeah, I’ll take it.
Michael Stover: There it is. “Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have.” That really jumped out.
Terry Linhart: Yeah. No, I love that quote. And it’s helpful. Let’s think of it in a ministry context. So you’re dropped into a community of people, whatever it is, paid, volunteer or otherwise. And suddenly how you
interact in that community plays a role in the messaging there, which is why Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4 is
very aware of all the things he’s gone through. And he comes out, he says, “We’re treasure in jars of
We have this treasure inside, it’s invaluable, but we are crackpots on the outside. And so
understanding that and yet still be going through, feeling crushed, being perplexed, but not in despair
and persevering and all that is really helpful. So at its foundation, a lot of the things that Goldman who
wrote emotional intelligence were this whole self-care and self-awareness comes from listed five
things. And he says, we’re being judged by a new yardstick that states not our talents and our gifts
and whatever, it is how well we get along. Like the world’s flattening, COVID flattened that even
more…How well you exist in a team.
Terry Linhart: Now, people in the last 10 years get fired because they weren’t a good fit. You would never have heard about that 30, 40 years ago, especially in colleges. I mean you had professors who were tyrants at times and they don’t get tenure. They don’t stay, you know. So anyway, the five are impulse control,
which we talked about. We get that. But stress management, anger management, managing sadness
and problem-solving, those are all things that are related to this self-awareness and self-care. And so
if you can manage your stress and manage your anger, manage your sadness and then be able to
solve problems, think about that in ministry.
Terry Linhart: It plays out in there. So suddenly. I mean, this was the dispute between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark, right? On the dock is the whole thing. Is this guy fit for ministry or not? And Paul had some
pretty high standards and Barnabas was always the encouraging one. So there is responsibility-taking
and all of that there that really matters in the day-to-day ministry. And if you can’t do those things,
your ministry is going to suffer in light of the fact you may have the best lesson plans ever, you know.
Because you’re going to be over.
Terry Linhart: You talked about taking over in conversation. Your own junk’s going to be overrunning your message. It’s going to be… Yeah, it’s not going to end well.
Michael Stover: Yeah. That’s why… What’s funny is I’m thankful my wife helped me with that because I do love hearing people’s stories and asking them questions. But then I get excited in the middle of that. And then it’s like I see all these things connecting and I’m like, “boom, boom, ba-boom!” And I’m hitting those
points. I’m like, oh no, I’m so sorry. So it’s a good process with accountability to say, “Hey, am I
overdoing it type thing?”
RENOVATING YOUR HEART
Michael Stover: You mentioned in your book the concept of renovating your heart. Do you mind explaining how we can renovate? Well, first of all, what is what does that even mean? What does it mean to renovate your heart?
Terry Linhart: Well, this is, of course, Dallas Willard’s theme and renovation of the heart, and I’m probably not going to do it justice. And after I talk about it, people are going to go, “Well, he didn’t do very good with
that.” So I would just say, first stop, and go read Dallas Willard about renovating your heart. I think it’s
a practice of and it ties to self-awareness a little bit.
Eugene Peterson’s book “Under the Unpardonable Plan.” The story of Jonah in the pastoral life was
really helpful for me because some of the things Jonah walked through and Peterson walks through
in that book were challenging to me. Also, like his “Five Smooth Stones” book on pastoral theology,
those are timeless books. And in there, he weaves a combination of what’s my heart, what’s God’s
heart, and then what’s blocking the two from being in sync together. And it’s that blockage is where
we’re talking about today.
Terry Linhart: How is it I’m not allowing God’s heart to shape to connect with my heart in a way where I’m more like him? And to me, this is the simplest thing, a renovation of the heart. I don’t mean to simplify it in weird ways, but it’s being with Jesus, this idea of I spend time with Jesus and that shapes me is the same
as the adage that you and I are the average and the mean of the five people we spend the most time
with, or if we’re with someone who’s really good at something, we take on his or her qualities.
Terry Linhart: In some ways, I think if we went golfing with Phil Nickelson, we’d become better golfers just because we’d watch him do things. So in the same way, no, not the same way in a greater way. When we’re
with Jesus, there’s something about his presence and his power in our lives that shapes us. And he
starts pointing at some things and we renovate our heart in significant ways like that.
Michael Stover: Thank you. And why, in some sense it’s obvious, but I like to hit on it anyway. Why is renovating your heart important?
Terry Linhart: Well, I think it’s in this encounter that we see with Jesus. It’s fascinating to me that he will come to someone in need. Clearly in need is blind, crippled, whatever, and asked the question, what do you want me to do for you? And what he’s trying to get at is the faith desire thing. What is it we really
desire and in whom or what do we have our faith, which is why in some cases, because he’s divine,
people are healed.
Terry Linhart: And he says your faith is made whole. There’s something about this trust relationship that’s better than belief. Right? The Greek word for belief is actually better translated as trust. Like we put our all in him and we have that. So knowing our desires… So then this renovation of our heart…Our heart is deceptive. Right? We can say, I really don’t want to be wealthy. I really don’t want to be famous or
really whatever it is, I really don’t want to be in control or I really don’t want everybody to like me or I
really don’t want everybody.
Terry Linhart: Deep inside, that’s part of how we’re wired and we have to figure that out and sanctify that in some ways. Well, that’s what Jesus does. And theologically, you know, some denominations and traditions have this is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life or there’s this sanctification process going on in the hearts. And so I think that is significant and that’s an encounter with God and that’s not something we can do and snap our fingers and it’s done; it’s something that happens over time.
Terry Linhart: We don’t always get it right. There is forgiveness. But this sense of I’m working on the very wellspring of my heart and that’s my desire. What is it that I love and can I identify that?
FORGIVENESS & SANCTIFICATION
Michael Stover: This is important because we say words that some of us know, but not everyone knows,
sanctification. What does that mean? And there was another word you said, if you can back up a little,
what was that word? I’m sorry, I can’t remember the second word?
Terry Linhart: What are we talking about, trust, and I don’t remember. Sorry, I don’t know what word you’re referring to.
Michael Stover: Forgiveness, that’s it. So sanctification first define that. And the second one. Why is that important to? Because people abuse that. You just forgive. But forgiveness is a process, too. It’s obedience, but it’s a process like 70 x’s 7 said somebody keeps abusing you or whatever. It’s a process.
Terry Linhart: Also it’s abusive– abused in the sense that somebody told you you have to forgive, therefore you have to have that person in your life. But some people may not be safe to have in our life, so if you could touch on sanctification and forgiveness.
Terry Linhart: So I’m probably just doing the forgiveness one first. So for me, forgiveness was an interaction with God, forgiving the person separating our sins as far as the east from the west and choosing to remember them no more.
Right. So that is the sense of I am forgiven now. We probably all have things that we remember that
we beat ourselves up about. Oh, I made a mistake. There wouldn’t even be necessarily sin there. Just
things we did that was kind of bonehead in our lives. And so we have that with forgiving others. And
you don’t want to put up with abuse. Certainly. And there’s things you can do. There comes to a
moment where you can, if you want to keep biblical analogies, you shake the dust off your sandals
and you move along.
Terry Linhart: I love the parable of the sower and the seed. Is it fertile soil? Is it just being choked out, well, I’ll hang around for that. If it’s other things, I’ll probably reevaluate this again… Evangelist at heart. So if there’s two or three things where I go, well, they’re not open to this and then we’ll just move along to
something else. You know, I don’t have to keep putting up with poor behavior over and over in them.
But the sanctification piece is to be set apart for the work of God.
Did You Get Value From this Episode?
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