10 Symptoms of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality

By Derwin Gray
Unhealthy Emotional Spirituality

Photo by uBookworm.

Wouldn’t it be incredibly sad to have a booming, Jesus-exalting community and world transforming church, and yet be emotionally unhealthy and miserable?

Since the launch of Transformation Church on February 7, 2010, Jesus has blessed us in amazing ways.

  • Our staff has grown from 3 to 27.
  • Over 1,200 people have come to faith.
  • Hundreds of people are in Transformation Groups and being discipled.
  • We’ve adopted 3 public schools.
  • We’ve outgrown our current facility — twice — and we’re looking at other facility opportunities to keep up with our growth.
  • Nearly 1,000 people are being developed and discipled as they serve on TC ministry teams.

In the midst of this exceptional growth, it’s easy to “focus on the ministry” instead of “focusing on Jesus’ ministry in and to me.”

When we” focus on the ministry” at the exclusion of “focusing on Jesus’ ministry in and to us,” we become emotionally unhealthy.  The work we do for God begins to kill the work He does in us.

Veteran pastor, Dr. Pete Scazzero, in his excellent book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, wrote about the top 10 symptoms of emotionally healthy spirituality:


  • “When I do God’s work to satisfy me, not Him.” pg. 25
  • “When I exaggerate my accomplishments for God to subtly compete with other pastors or churches.” pg. 25 (I see this on Twitter all the time and have done it myself.)
  • “When I hide behind God talk, deflecting any spotlight on my inner cracks and becoming defensive about my failures.” pg. 25


  • Our feelings follow our thoughts. Why are we thinking in such a way that results in feelings of resentment, inadequacy, anger, and depression?
  • If we don’t allow Jesus to deal with these negative emotions, these negative emotions will deal with us and those we lead.


  • Pastor, what do you enjoy outside of ministry?
  • Pastor, are you having fun in life?
  • Do you enjoy your marriage and family?
  • Do you have friends?

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.