Part of the problem people suffer lies in the fact that we tend to compare “our insides” to everybody else’s “outsides.”
Compiled by Justin Horey, Jim Nieman, and Shawn McMullen
There’s nothing the unbelieving world loves more than to see church leaders succumb to temptation and experience a moral failing. But it’s not just the unbelieving world. The church has been known to eat its own.
Christianity Today, for example, produced a popular multipart series of podcasts called “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” that focused on the spectacular collapse of a Seattle-based megachurch and its founder/leader Mark Driscoll.
But leaders of both large and small churches can fail, and virtually all of them can struggle. And most pastors feel they have nowhere to go, no one to talk to. Most of them have no close friends. Many of them suffer in silence. Some can be caught up in addictions.
Jeff Schulte, founder and CEO of Tin Man Ministries (www.tinmanministries.org), succeeded in planting Fellowship Bible Church in Nashville, which grew from 4 to 4,000 in seven years, but, he says, “I didn’t have the emotional tools to process” it all. He said there was no organization he could turn to. Ultimately, two individuals came alongside Schulte and helped him deal with issues he had long kept hidden. Over time, Schulte did recover, and then church leaders started going to him for help.
Todd Wermers, the president and director of coaching at Tin Man, suffered addictions while serving in ministry, resigned, sought help from Schulte, and ultimately returned to the same church. But when people started going to Wermers for help with their own personal struggles, he decided to reenter school to study counseling.
Together, Schulte and Wermers, along with Phil Herndon (who has a background in clinical psychology), lead Tin Man Ministries, named for the character from The Wizard of Oz—someone who joins a band of “misfits” as he searches for a heart.
LIVING FROM THE HEART
Tin Man Ministries seeks to help ministry professionals and others “learn to live from the heart” so they can “recover the life they’ve lost and discover the life they desire.” After all, as you’ll recall, at the end of the movie, the Tin Man discovered he had a heart all along . . . he just wasn’t in touch with it.
The ministry’s aim is to help people reconnect with their hearts by talking about things that are difficult to talk about.
“Our niche is actually doing relationships,” Schulte said. That isn’t possible by reading a book or watching YouTube. “We don’t experience Jesus alone on a mountaintop. . . . If you can’t be in need, you can’t be loved.”
The process of spiritual transformation requires emotional, relational healing, Schulte said. Unless people can emotionally mature, they can’t spiritually mature. “I don’t think mental health can be separated from spiritual health,” Schulte said. Like the characters in The Wizard of Oz, every person needs something different in order to be whole or be healed. There is, therefore, no one-size-fits-all approach for church leaders, business owners, or executives experiencing inner turmoil alongside outward success.
Most people in turmoil, or recovering from trauma, or trapped in addiction, don’t even know what kind of help they need, Schulte said. Tin Man doesn’t expect you to know. They’ll help you figure that out.
While some clients benefit from traditional “talk therapy,” others need more concentrated time and attention. Still others find that less formal coaching provides the right level of assistance and accountability.
Schulte says people change in relationships. “Intimate relationships are by nature therapeutic,” he said. “Codependent people don’t have boundaries.”
Part of the problem people suffer lies in the fact that we tend to compare “our insides” to everybody else’s “outsides,” Schulte said. It’s important that leaders continue to recognize their need for God. “If you can’t be in need, you can’t be loved,” Schulte said. “My need opens a door to experience [God’s] love.”
Wermers describes the ministry of Tin Man as “washing the feet of those who are washing the feet of others.”
He said knowledge of God and knowledge of self are both critical. That’s why it’s so important to “help pastors get their hearts back.”
The 12 steps without the gospel makes people sober but doesn’t make them “well,” he added.
Humans are notoriously bad at diagnosing their own emotional/psychological challenges. Prescribing an effective cure for yourself is even more elusive. Pastors, executives, and entrepreneurs devote thousands of hours to their areas of expertise, but only a tiny fraction of them have comparable levels of self-awareness.
INTEGRATIVE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Tin Man offers an integrative approach to leadership development that addresses the whole person through a targeted focus on the individual’s emotional awareness, or EQ.
Tin Man works with seasoned leaders who have experienced a measure of success as well as those leaders who are growing and maturing in their leadership. They have discovered that many leaders, when under pressure to perform, instinctively work from the neck up, relying on their intellect, moral compass, and determination to generate success. Because of their inflexibility and inability to read emotional cues from colleagues, teammates, and subordinates, such leaders are often unable to recognize blind spots, may struggle with burnout, and over time may exhibit a history of strained working relationships.
Tin Man’s goal is to help those leaders grow into transformational leaders who have access to their hearts and who have found a place of deep passion and relational connectedness. From this place of greater self-awareness, these transformational leaders learn to lead from the heart, to view others with a growing capacity for empathy, and to engage with and empower those they lead.
Leaders who work with Tin Man engage in one-on-one weekly coaching with an experienced and trained Tin Man mentor. This is crucial to the leader’s development, as they have found that leaders who do not pursue this course of action from their own initiative may be displaying a resistance to relational vulnerability when they are not in control.
Another vital part of the ministry is Tin Man Leadership Intensive, a four-day, highly interactive and immersive experience with a maximum of six participants and two coach/facilitators. This is the equivalent of a year of weekly one-on-one mentoring or coaching, helping participants find the “bottlenecks,” or limiting factors, in their lives and the solutions to them. Most participants experience newfound passion for their work, motivation to be more productive in their careers, and increased fulfillment in their personal relationships. The goal of the Leadership Intensive is to help each participant become a fuller and more whole version of themselves, empowering them to experience greater fulfillment and success in all they do in life. Taking part in the Leadership Intensive in conjunction with one-on-one coaching enhances and deepens the benefit of coaching tenfold.
Tin Man’s approach to mentoring is rooted in Scripture and grounded in life experience. Their coaches approach their work with a deep understanding of the pressures, conflicts, and moral issues faced by leaders in today’s fast-paced, bottom-line driven work environment. Equipped with the experience, strength, and hope of their own journeys, Tin Man coaches offer the benefit of a combined 60 years of experience and more than 40,000 hours of counseling, pastoral experience, and coaching in one-on-one and small-group settings.
If you feel like your insides don’t match your outside, but you don’t know why, that’s not unusual. If your outer successes aren’t matched by inner peace, you aren’t alone. If you think you might need help, but don’t know what kind of help to ask for, Schulte said, Tin Man stands ready to assist. Wounding occurs as a result of relationships . . . but so does healing.