The Heart of a Discerning Leader – Part 4

The Heart of a Discerning Leader – Part 4

The internal life of a leader is reflected in the external world of relationships, service, and mission. We say at Leadership Transformations, “As the leader goes, so goes the organization…more importantly, as the soul of the leader goes, so goes the leader.” We are a soul-centric ministry, helping leaders and learners worldwide to prioritize the care and nurture of their soul as their number one daily priority. Why? Because the soul is the most neglected part of the person, given all the demands cast upon us by our wider network of family, friends, church, community, and world. We live distracted, noisy, and busy lives and the crying need of our souls is to find rest in God, to find joy in God, and to offer peace with God to all who cross our paths. How is it with your soul today, dear friend?

In these final five reflections on the heart of a discerning leader, we will plummet the depths of the soul and discover afresh the power of the nourished soul. Each of these noticings come from our daily ministry with leaders and teams, and from the stories shared with us regarding longings, desires, and needs that emerge when we slow down and become more:

16. Values silence, solitude, and space with God – in the space of sweet surrender, we pursue stillness from the competing noises of this world and instead pursue quiet, unhurried, unhindered time with God. Silence and solitude are the crucible of transformation with soul-rich rewards.

17. Willingly voices repentance, confession, and forgiveness – the discerning leader offers ongoing mercy to the downhearted and those convicted of their own sinfulness and invites others into the freedom of God’s unconditional grace and compassionate forgiveness. 

18. Regularly reorders his/her affections – the daily bombardment of all forms of worldliness can wreak havoc on the soul and dislocate a heart inclined toward God, but with daily examen and reflection, a discerning leader can realign one’s affections and return to a preference for God.

19. Decisive when obvious and discerning when essential – a practical implication of a heart inclined toward God is being decisive when the best option is evident, and prayerfully discerning when there’s a need to wait for greater clarity about God’s best idea amidst more complex situations. 

20. Strength of character and competency – particularly during hard times, needed perseverance will provide the endurance to hold fast to principles more than personalities, upheld by the wisdom and integrity of godliness.

I trust that these reflections on the heart of a discerning leader will stir you to consider them for yourself. What invitation(s) are these observations evoking for you and how is God enlivening your own heart for service with and for others within your watch care? I welcome your feedback.

Check out The Discerning Leader Podcast this week for a fuller conversation with Jeremy Stefano about these final 5 reflections. 

Can't find what you're looking for?

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.

Detailed Biography
Articles by Stephen Macchia
Author Website
Schedule a one-on-one with Steve

Fill out my online form.

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.