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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Tom Sparling | Discerning Congregational Health, Episode 4

Host: Steve Macchia, Guest: Tom Sparling

I see it now among Gen Zers; there is a passion in my young adults that is as fresh and real as what we were experiencing.”  Tom Sparling 

The second trait of a Healthy Church is “God Exalting Worship”. Tom Sparling was a part of the original team that worked with Steve Macchia on Becoming a Healthy Church. Tom joins Steve for a conversation about worship today. In this episode, Tom shares his hope for the younger generation today, advice for the older generation, and encourages everyone that authentic worship comes from a passionate pursuit of God outside of our Sunday morning gatherings. This episode reminds us that God alone is to be the object of our worship.  

Join the conversation about spiritual discernment as a way of life at and consider participation in our online and in-person program offerings. Additional LTI spiritual formation resources can be found at and and


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.

Tom Sparling (Season 29 Guest)
Rev. Tom Sparling is the launch pastor at The Journey Community Church in Worcester, MA, a multi-cultural, inter-generational, multi-campus church committed to incarnational, missional, and relational strategies for evangelism, ministry and spiritual community. He is also the founder and director of Church Forward Inc, advancing the faith by equipping and encouraging believers and congregations to effectively make disciples in the 21st Century. Over a period of 10 years, he led worship events for 60,000 students with Raise the Praise. His previous ministry assignments include serving as director of worship renewal at Vision New England and as senior pastor of Chapel of the Cross in Westborough, MA. He is married to Vitalina and together they have three married children and four grandsons.

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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.

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.