The Heart of a Discerning Leader – Part 1

For the past two decades, Leadership Transformations has been coming alongside leaders and learners who are engaged in important and meaningful service in the body of Christ. They are pastors, teachers, full-time moms, marketplace leaders, missionaries, counselors, church and non-profit volunteers. They represent a wide swath of denominations, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are young and old, from various backgrounds and experiences. What they all share in common is a desire to become the most effective servants of Christ possible this side of heaven. I’ve been greatly blessed and encouraged by the faithfulness of so many we’ve been privileged to meet along the way.
For the next few weeks, both in this blog as well as in The Discerning Leader Podcast, I want to share with you 20 observations about the heart of the discerning leader. These insights are collected from hundreds of encounters with leaders and teams. The attributes of leadership contained herein will look different than many other “lists” of leadership qualities. As you peruse the listing of 20 reflections, offered 5 at a time, notice what pops off the page and lands squarely in your heart. Perhaps there’s an invitation contained within for your own personal application. 
The first five observations of the heart of a discerning leader are as follows:
1. Loves unconditionally – as we’ve been loved by God, so we are to love others as Jesus has modeled and instructed us to follow
2. Offers praise, honor, and glory to God – not given to accolades or needing recognition, but gives credit for all good things to God alone
3. Cultivates a thankful heart – knows the potent value of gratitude and sees it as a healer, strengthener, and simply a good, godly habit for renewal
4. Participates in regular rhythms of spiritual practices – incorporates quiet reflection on the Scriptures and cultivating a life of prayer practices, including fasting
5. Values and provides unmerited grace to self and others – acknoweledging that grace is the gift that builds strong relationships and fosters healthy community
May these insights offer you a guidepost for your role as a leader of others, and may they empower your influence upon the work of your hands and the prayers of your heart among the people you’ve been called to serve. 
More insights to follow…

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.