Posts by Transforming Center

Tiptoeing Around the Edges of Burnout

I cannot imagine just how I did life before!

My Transforming Community (TC) experience began with plenty excitement, anticipation and my soul tiptoeing around the edges of burnout. Fifteen years of pastoral ministry alongside raising a young family had taken the bulk of my energy. I felt weary and worn in ways difficult to express. My spouse and I were mid-sabbatical, so the call…

Read More

Season 6: Episode 4 | Finding Your Rhythm on Retreat

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Human beings are made with rhythms and for rhythms. A beautiful conversation ensues about the beauty of rhythms and how to find and recognize rhythms. In the Christian tradition tears are always a gift. Ruth provides a great encouragement to let the tears come. We end this episode sharing the story of Kevin and how…

Read More

Season 6: Episode 3 | The Sources of Our Exhaustion

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Are you living out of external expectations instead of God’s calling on your life? Learn more about common sources of exhaustion. Could it be that our desire to serve is more about staying in control? Ruth names some of her own sources of exhaustion. Go deeper with this content and purchase Ruth’s newest book, Invitation…

Read More

Season 6: Episode 2 | Just Flop Down

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Too busy? When is the best time to go on retreat? Join Ruth Haley Barton and Steve Wiens for episode 2, and don’t forget your pillow. A great discussion about how technology has caused many of us to feel we can never do enough to feel like we’ve done enough. Listen and discover how to…

Read More

Special Episode | Discovering Advent

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

The seasons of the church year are meant to teach us essential truths of the spiritual life, offering us an opportunity to practice some of the key disciplines of our Christian faith together – in community. The Advent season marks the beginning of the church year and while we have always provided reflections and gatherings…

Read More

Season 6: Episode 1 | Strategic Withdrawal

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Why did Ruth write another book? How does it relate to Invitation to Solitude and Silence? We start with a delicious word – invitation. Ruth moves in to define our terms and discuss how retreat has been compromised in our culture. Ruth and Steve even discuss who should go on retreat. Lets reclaim the word…

Read More

Two Years Transforming: Forever Grateful

By Nathan Albert For the last two years, I traveled to a monastery outside of Chicago every three months for a three day retreat to tend to my soul. With a group of 70 others, as part of the Transforming Center, we practiced ancient spiritual practices and rhythms such as silence, solitude, centering prayer, lectio…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 12 | For the Sake of Others

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Why does Ruth end a book on silence and solitude with a chapter on for sake of others? Listen to find out. Ruth describes her own journey of moving out of silence and solitude and how it transformed her interaction with teenagers. A great discussion of words and why silence and solitude are important for…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 11 | Receiving Guidance

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Why does Elijah say the same things again? We expect Elijah’s experience of God’s presence to transform him, but there is a comforting interpretation of this passage. The good news: we don’t have to beg God for guidance. He is our shepherd and wants to guide. A great conversation ensues around how silence and solitude…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 10 | Pure Presence

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We begin this episode with a quick review of the story of Elijah. There is a payoff to waiting, and not running away.  God is becoming Elijah’s ultimate orienting reality. Entering a silence that is not empty but full of God’s presence. Good news, God is a much better parent than we ever could be.…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 9 | Facing Ourselves

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We are in the chaos with Elijah. In solitude and silence we feel the battle between the false self and the true self. Some of the most important questions emerge from the chaos. Ruth and Steve discuss what facing ourself really means and how our true self is hidden with Christ in God. This is…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 8 | Emptiness

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

It takes stamina to stay in silence and solitude. Why does God meet us in such vast emptiness? Ruth has a thought. There is great encouragement in Elijah’s journey and how long it took. Emptiness can be very lonely, yet you don’t have to go alone. It is good to have some human support and…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 7 | Rest for the Soul

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We have made it to the cave with Elijah and he is telling the whole truth. The good news is God can handle anything. Ruth shares about being in solitude and silence with gratitude and how restful and energizing it can be. What if we feel like God didn’t show up? Ruth has some advice. Faithfulness to these practices…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 6 | Rest for the Mind

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We are moving through this story slowly and it is good. At this point God asks Elijah a question. Allowing the mind rest into the heart is a helpful way to describe letting the mind rest without discounting the contribution of the mind. Ruth shares a personal example of resting and trusting God. We end…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 5 | Rest for the Body

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

What is not to like about the fact that God instructed Elijah to take not one but two naps? Why do we treat our body so poorly? Ruth and Steve discuss a powerful psalm to better understand the dynamic of silence and solitude. They also discuss how the daily examen can help us get in…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 4 | Dangerously Tired

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We pick up with the story of Elijah, and why it is important that he rested first. We talk about how to recognize being dangerously tired, with Ruth sharing some concrete examples. How does one surrender to exhaustion. We get into describing what sane rhythms look like, and we close by practicing again. Subscribe on…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 3 | Resistance

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Our lives are not in danger like Elijahs, but we all have to face resistance. If you feel the push pull, then this is likely a signal God is at work.  How do we push through our fear? What if we are afraid God will not show up? It is good to know our own baggage.…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 2 | Beginnings

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Learning to be present with God alone – where do we begin? How do we get to the point where we recognize that what needs done in our lives only God can do? We define our terms in this episode – what is silence and what is solitude? Steve is already overachieving, Ruth encourages people…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 2 | Beginnings

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Learning to be present with God alone – where do we begin? How do we get to the point where we recognize that what needs done in our lives only God can do? We define our terms in this episode – what is silence and what is solitude? Steve is already overachieving, Ruth encourages people…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 7 | Leadership as Intercession

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Leadership opens leaders up to a whole world of pain. Moses is such a great leader because he always brings the difficulties people brought to God. You don’t hear much about the role of intercession in leadership circles. A rich discussion of differentiation and its importance in leadership ensues. Ruth shares how she makes intercession…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 4 | The Conundrum of Calling

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

This episode begins a bit differently. Instead of starting with the biblical story (Moses) Steve dives in and turns the table on Ruth, asking her about her own calling and what it looks like right now. Steve and Ruth talk about the fatal question, and a great discussion proceeds out of understanding the difference between…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 3 | The Practice of Paying Attention

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Don’t wait till you’re headed into a collision to recognize the need to pay attention. Ruth shares a funny, but sobering example. In this episode Ruth and Steve discuss practices to help leaders pay attention to their life in leadership, and you will find encouragement in Steve’s faith building experience of learning to page attention…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 1 | When Leaders Lose Their Souls

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

It was 10 years ago that Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership was published by InterVarsity Press. Last year we launched this podcast by the same name, and this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary InterVarsity released an expanded edition with a group experience and an assessment tool (check it out). Ruth and Steve will…

Read More

Expanded Edition Now Available: Strengthen the Soul of your Team!

The expanded edition of the best selling InterVarsity Press book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, includes guidance for reflecting together on the soul of your leadership. This Transforming Resource also includes the popular “How Is It with Your Soul?” assessment for leaders and a new compelling forward by Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission. Order before May 31st and receive these book…

Read More

Season 3: Episode 4 | Community at the Leadership Level

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

What is corporate leadership discernment? Ruth kicks off this episode with defining each word and leads us through the movements of corporate leadership discernment. Discover why hikers and sailors value true north over magnetic north and why conviction is much different than understanding. Ruth and Steve answer the question: Do we all need to sing…

Read More

Season 3: Episode 3 | Leaders Who are Discerning

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

Magical thinking not allowed in this episode… ok not in any episode. Steve leads by pondering whether the western church needs to make a confession. In this episode, Ruth and Steve go deep on five foundations of discernment. Through these foundations they uncover some hard truths – leaders struggle with believing in the goodness of…

Read More

Transforming Center Welcomes Rob Kastens as COO

The Transforming Center is thrilled to announce that, through a long and grace-filled process of discernment, Rob Kastens has agreed to join us as Chief Operations Officer beginning in mid-February. Working in close partnership with founder Ruth Haley Barton and the Transforming Center board, Rob will provide day-to-day leadership for staff along with strategic leadership…

Read More

Epiphany: Who am I now?

Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for January 7, 2018: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Epiphany originated in the Eastern Church in the third century as a feast on January 6 to honor our Lord’s birth and baptism. It ranked with Easter and Pentecost as one of the three principal…

Read More

What Happens After 30 Years of Being on Call 24/7/365

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson has served full time in urban ministry to youth for thirty years. He is currently a church planter and the lead pastor of The House and founder and executive director of The Firehouse Community Art Center. I have served Christ for thirty years in urban youth ministry in the Lawndale community of Chicago. The need to be “on call”…

Read More

A Taste of the Transforming Community

A Taste of Transforming Community

You’re invited on the journey of transforming leadership!  Sacred Rhythms in the Life of the Leader is Season 1 of Ruth Haley Barton’s podcast Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Each episode highlights a quarterly theme of the Transforming Community experience. Join Steve Wiens (a Transforming Community alum) for a lively dialogue with Ruth Haley Barton about forging and…

Read More

Season 2: Episode 8 | Discerning the Presence of Christ

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

Ever had a conversation you wish didn’t have to end? The two disciples were so stirred by their conversation that “they urged Jesus strongly to stay.” And it was in the staying that the disciples recognized Jesus’ transforming presence as they shared a meal together. The practice of stability is not a strength of western…

Read More

Season 2: Episode 5 | Men and Women in Community

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

If you read the Emmaus Road conversation carefully in Luke 24, you will notice that part of the story the disciples told Jesus was that “the women of our group astounded us” with news of the Resurrection on that first Easter morning. Ruth unpacks the countercultural approach Jesus took to the role of women and…

Read More