Theologically Educated, But Emotionally Immature?

By Derwin Gray

Emotionally Healthy SpiritualityNews flash!  Did you know that a person can be theologically educated, but emotionally immature?

Dr. Pete Scazzero in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality on page 178-179, he shares some powerful insights about 4 Types of people that we as pastors and leaders are called to help mature into emotional adults.


  • Look for others to take care of them
  • Have great difficulty entering into the world of others
  • Are driven by need of instant gratification.
  • Use others as objects to meet their needs.


  • Are content and happy as long as they receive what they want
  • Unravel quickly from stress, disappointment, and trials
  • Interpret disagreement as personal offenses.
  • Having difficulty calmly discussing their needs and wants in a mature, loving way


  • Tend to be defensive, critical and judgemental
  • Are threatened and alarmed by criticism
  • Keep score of what they give so they can ask for something later in return
  • Deal with conflict poorly, often blaming, appeasing, pouting, or ignore issue completely


  • Are able to ask for what they need, want, or prefer–clearly, directly, and honestly
  • Recognize, mange, and take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings
  • Respect others without having to change them
  • Give people room to make mistakes and not be perfect
  • Accurately assess their own limits, strengths, and weaknesses and are able to discuss with others
  • Are in tune with their emotional world and are able to enter into the feelings, needs, and concerns of others without losing themselves
  • Have the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others.

First, leaders, may we embody emotional maturity by anchoring ourselves in the unconditionally love of Jesus.

Second, design your discipleship model towards developing emotional mature people, not just theological educated people.  Let’s remember that the Pharisees knew the scriptures, but they missed the main point of the Scriptures, Jesus.

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”  John 5:39 NLT

Jesus transforms us into emotionally mature adults.

Derwin Gray

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), ourselves correctly (Inward), and our neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

Gray met his wife, Vicki, at BYU and has been married for 19 years. They have two children, Presley and Jeremiah. After graduating from Brigham Young University, he played professional football in the NFL for five years with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-1997) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1998). Gray is the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart (Summerside Press, 2009) and is a highly sought-after communicator. He’s also recognized by many as the Evangelism Linebacker. He’s had the honor of teaching in a variety of settings including Billy Graham Evangelistic Association events, the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Exponential Conference, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, Greg Stier’s Dare 2 Share Ministries, Tommy Nelson Song of Solomon For Students Conferences and at universities and conferences around the country.