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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James Bryan Smith | Discerning God in Our Stories, Episode 5

Host: Steve Macchia, Guest: James Bryan Smith

Every need that my soul has, Jesus meets them – every single one of them.” – James Bryan Smith

James Bryan Smith is the author of the Good and Beautiful Series which includes The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful You, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community. He earned his MDiv at Yale and his D. Min at Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. A founding member of Richard J. Foster’s spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. James joins Steve for a conversation about how our view of God transforms our understanding/experience of spiritual disciplines. With a toxic view of God, James says “spiritual formation not only won’t help you, they might make you worse, you might turn them into legalism.” With a right view of God, “the disciplines take on a new understanding. Now it’s not, ‘I’m doing these things to get this angry God to be less angry.’ It’s,‘I’m doing these things because I want to be with this God.’”

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.

Steve Macchia (Podcast Host)
Founder and President of Leadership Transformations
Steve is the author of The Discerning Life,  Becoming a Healthy ChurchBroken 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.

James Bryan Smith (Season Twenty-Two Guest)
James Bryan Smith is the author of several books including The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, The Good and Beautiful Community, and most recently, The Good and Beautiful You. He earned his MDiv from Yale and his DMin from Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Spiritual Formation.

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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.