Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders


Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs, professor of Pastoral Ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of over a dozen books on church consulting, leads Pastors, church staff and lay people to a better understanding of emotional maturity. He spends considerable time in the first half of the book defining emotions, presenting the different historical view points and research of leaders in the field, and describing what an emotionally mature leader is. Scripture is referenced throughout the text and presented as where our emotions come from and how we should see them in light of God’s word. I found myself wondering, however, why he seemed to be ok with linking behavior and emotions so closely. He made points about emotions driving behavior and vice versa but there wasn’t an argument for the fact that yes our emotions do drive our behavior but that shouldn’t be the case. My emotions should not be driving my life train. When I allow emotions to drive the train of my life, I get erratic behavior. Emotions can lie. Instead of allowing emotions to drive our train, truth found in God’s word should be what drives us. This doesn’t mean that emotions should be ignored, just that they shouldn’t be allowed to excuse or decide behavior. A problem arises when we let feelings dictate and determine who we are and what we do. I must find truth in God’s word and let it drive me, let it determine my behavior. This truth doesn’t lie; can’t lie. Malphurs seems to promote a view that is heavily promoting feelings & emotions.

You don’t really get into the meat of the book until half way through. The best part is in the appendix. I’m sure people overlook this part of the book because on quick skim through all you might see is assessment. Tucked inside the assessment is application and step by step methods to increase emotional maturity and learn how to be a better leader. Had I skipped the appendices, I would have rated this book 3 stars at most. I felt like the first half of the book and the appendices were disjointed; like there was two books put together. I would have been happy with a simple review of the first half and more expounding information in the second. For example, more practical examples and stories of others would be helpful to illustrate concepts and ideas. The information presented in the appendices is very practical and useful for all types of leaders and I felt like I wanted more. I wanted more connection to my lack of ability to change myself. It was heavy on I- what I can do to change me. It’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that my heart and thus my behavior (in relation to myself and my feelings and others) can be changed.

Overall, this book has good useful information. As with all books, you have to take some of it with a grain of salt. I feel like I can use the information found in this book to increase my leadership effectiveness. “How people feel about themselves when they are around you is vital to the effectiveness of your leadership and the influence that you exert on them for Christ.” (Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders p 138)

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