The Discerning Leader podcast is for Christian leaders who are interested in discovering the joy of “practicing a preference for God” in all aspects of their personal lives and relationships, their leadership and service to others.

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Toxic Relationships | Discerning God Emotionally and Relationally Episode 05

Host: Steve Macchia, Guest: Gary Thomas

The Christian life is about an abundance of good fruit. We must walk away from toxic people in order to preserve that good fruit.” – Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas speaks to a glaring issue today: dealing with toxic people. He says, “Before you walk away from your ministry, try walking away from toxic people first.” We need to learn how to play defense, to protect what God has planted in our hearts and in our service to others. When we invest so much of our energy on toxic relationships, we lose sight of God’s missional call to build up the Kingdom. There may in fact come a time when it’s simply best to just “walk away” and maintain your focus on Jesus and his mission. Be wise. Say no. Turn away. Be free.

Join the conversation about spiritual discernment as a way of life at www.LeadershipTransformations.org and consider participation in our online and in-person program offerings. Additional LTI spiritual formation resources can be found at www.SpiritualFormationStore.com and www.ruleoflife.com and www.healthychurch.net

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Steve Macchia

Steve Macchia (Podcast Host)
Founder and President of Leadership Transformations
Steve is the author of Becoming a Healthy ChurchBecoming a Healthy DiscipleBroken and WholeCrafting a Rule of Life and several other titles. Steve has over 40 years in ministry and two postgraduate degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Adele Calhoun (Season Fourteen, Episode 1 Guest)
Author, Pastor, Speaker, and Selah Guest Faculty
Adele is the co-pastor of Spiritual Formation with her husband Doug at Highrock Covenant Church in Atlington, MA. She has pastoral and missionary experience stateside and overseas. Adele taught as adjunct faculty at Wheaton College and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has served on a variety of boards and currently serves on the board of New Wine and Pax Center for Christian Spiritual Formation. Adele has authored seven books including The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (IVP), Invitations from God (IVP), and Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram (IVP). 

Alison Cook, PhD (Season Fourteen, Episode 2 Guest)
Psychologist, Speaker, and Author
Alison Cook, PhD is a psychologist, speaker, and the co-author of Boundaries for Your Soul. For over 15 years, Alison has helped women, ministry leaders, couples, and families learn how to heal painful emotions, develop confidence from the inside out, forge healthy relationships, and fully live out their God-given potential. Please visit www.alisoncookphd.com to download your free Boundaries Kickstart guide plus a guided prayer reflection.

Gary Thomas
Gary Thomas (Season Fourteen, Episodes 3 & 5 Guest)
Author, Speaker, and Writer-in-Residence at Second Baptist Church – Houston, TX
Gary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. He is the author of 20 books and serves on the teaching team at Second Baptist Church, Houston, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston Texas.  Gary enjoys running in his spare time and has completed 14 marathons, including the Boston Marathon three times. He and his wife Lisa have been married for 35 years and they have three adult children and one granddaughter.

Amy Murgatroyd (Season Fourteen, Episode 4 Guest)
Photographer and Filmmaker
By grace, Amy is an award-winning Boston-based photographer and filmmaker with a heart for creating a context for families to deeply connect. She’s wife to an enduring man and a mama to two girls who fill her world with wonder. In her free time, she enjoys writing, gardening, travel, and long heartfelt conversations. Her family attends Park Street Church.

Alice Fryling (Season Fourteen, Episode 6 Guest)
Spiritual Director and Author
Alice Fryling is a spiritual director and author. She and her husband worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for over fifty years. Alice has also been actively involved in church ministry and teaching workshops on the Enneagram and Myers Briggs Temperament Inventory. Her books on relationships, spiritual formation, and spiritual direction have sold over half a million copies and are published in over ten languages. She and her husband, Bob, are parents of two daughters and grandparents of two grandsons and two granddaughters. They live in Monument, Colorado. Learn more about Alice Fryling at www.alicefryling.com.

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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 www.SteveMacchia.com.

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

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.