Replenish: Leading From a Healthy Soul

Last week, I read a very good book entitled Replenish: Leading From a Healthy Soul by Lance Witt. The Foreword was written by John Ortberg. The book is a great discussion of what it means for a leader to be attentive to his/her own soul. The following quotes come from the book and hopefully will give you a taste for this important discussion.


“We will never grow healthy churches with unhealthy leaders.” (p. 12)


“We have neglected the fact that a pastor’s greatest leadership tool is a healthy soul. Our concentration on skill and technique and strategy has resulted in deemphasizing the interior life. . . . We’ve all witnessed the carnage of leaders who’ve had to leave ministry (at least for now) because of moral failure. The headlines are always about the scandalous and shocking behavior, but rarely mentioned is the back-story.

“It is the story of a neglected soul and mismanaged character. Of a slow drift into relational isolation. Of being seduced by ambition. These leaders didn’t intend for it to happen, but somewhere along the journey they stopped paying attention to what was going on inside of them.” (p. 19)

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“We may be better leaders than we used to be, but the evidence seems to say we are not better pastors or husbands or Christ followers.” (p. 20)


“A good place to start is acknowledging that many of us in leadership feel like we have a hole in our soul. Ministry drains us, sucks the life out of us, and the result is we are running on empty.” (p. 24)


“But there certainly have been seasons through the years when I lost that clarity. My ministry became my identity. My ministry became my first love. My ministry consumed all my spiritual passion. My ministry (not Jesus) was my life. The unintended byproduct during those seasons was a slow disconnect from Jesus.”

“When this happens, you begin to do ministry in the flesh. You begin to think serving God is all about working hard, being strategic, developing leaders and executing vision. You fundamentally begin to believe that it’s up to you.”

“When you have become disconnected from the Vine (Jesus), ministry will become joyless striving and stressful pushing.” (p. 29)


“It’s about making Jesus your life and then letting the ministry flow out of that relationship.” (p. 32)


“Image management is what we begin to do when our inner world becomes separated from our outer world.” (p. 35)


“In ministry, the perfect storm for a personal disaster is also the convergence of three elements: ambition, isolation, and self-deception.” (p. 46)


“Whether you use the word approval or applause, here’s the bottom line. I was living for people and finding my worth, value, significance, and identity in what others thought of me. . . . You run decisions through the filter of ‘What will people think?’ rather than ‘What’s the right thing to do?'” (p. 50)


“For some reason, in our culture we have swallowed hook, line, and sinker the lie that busyness equals importance.” (p. 61)


“Your busyness will damage your soul. Over time you will develop a hurried spirit. And even when your body is still, your soul will be racing. Your busy spirit will constantly remind you of everything you need to be doing.” (p. 62)


“One of the spiritual health questions every ministry leader must answer is, ‘Am I willing to serve in obscurity?'” (p. 88)


“In the earlier days I didn’t realize it, but I had a belief system behind my performance mentality: Work hard, be responsible, perform well, and people will love you. Work hard, be responsible, perform well, and God will love you.” (p. 110)


“The disciples find him and say, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ Music to the ears of codependent ministry leaders. The feeling of being in demand can be intoxicating.” (p. 133)

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4 thoughts on “Replenish: Leading From a Healthy Soul

  1. Jim, These are great quotes. I will save them. I tried talking to a friend about this the other day, but he’s not yet ready to hear it, even though his health is deteriorating. Those who only lose their health rather than their families can keep going and feel good about it. It’s part of the sacrifice. But his wife is crying out. She wants him around.
    There’s a song about coal-mining that goes: “There’s many a man I’ve known in my day, who lives just to labor his whole life away. It will form as a habit very deep in his soul, til the stream of his blood runs as black as the coal.” That applies to more than just coal miners.
    Unhappy lives, wives, children, churches – and maybe God, too.

    • Thank you Darryl. Yes, these are great quotes. The book really is a good read.

      Meaningful words to the song you quoted. Very good. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the Post, Jim. It brought back memories of what changed my life 30+ years ago in the little town of Ferguson, KY. I plan to reference this post on my own blog on September 17th (if I may).

    Blessing!
    Fritz