CNLP 375: Rich Villodas on What’s Wrong with Western Spirituality, the Ingredients of Successful Succession for Young leaders, and How to Live a Deeply Formed Life

Rich Villodas succeeded Pete Scazzero at New Life Church in 2014. Successions like that rarely go well, but this one did.

Rich explains what he and Pete did to make it work. Rich also explains what’s wrong with western Christian spirituality, how to rethink sex and race as part of spiritual formation and how to live a more deeply formed life toward spiritual maturity.

Welcome to Episode 375 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about two questions every leader needs to be asking about 2021.

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The Deeply Formed Life by Rich Villodas

Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton

The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen

CNLP 230: Pete Scazzero on Why So Many Successful Leaders are Emotionally Immature, How to Tell Whether That’s You, and How to Become Emotionally Intelligent and Spiritually Mature

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1. Maturity is key to successful succession

When asked what made Rich’s succession into lead pastor at New Life Church successful, Rich said that the maturity of his founding pastor, Pete Scazzero, made the biggest difference.

Before, during, and after the transition, Pete was regularly seeing a counselor to answer the questions:

Who am I apart from this position?
Who am I apart from the attention I’m going to get?
Rich is going to start getting a whole lot more attention than I’m going to get from our congregation, how will I handle that?

If Pete wouldn’t have worked through these questions personally, the transition probably would not have gone as smooth as it did.

2. Many Christians are falling into the false belief that, “God is only with someone if they agree with me”

Many Christians are falling into the trap of thinking that God only loves the people that agree with their own ways of thinking. This is only getting worse with the added pressure of the upcoming election. In response to this, Rich quoted Ann Lamont when she said, “You know you’ve made God in your image when God hates all the people you hate.”

This is happening all over in American churches. Rich warns that this is a self-referential way of living in the world, which is not Christian at all. This mindset sets “me” at the center of everything.

If we want to reach the people who believe differently than us, we need to open the door to the reality that God loves them, too.

3. If we’re going to have a productive conversations around race, we need to approach it on these 6 levels

  1. Theological – What does scripture say?
  2. Historical – Where have we been historically?
  3. Sociological – What are the sociological data that we need to pay attention to?
  4. Ecclesiological – What’s the church’s response?
  5. Formational – What life do I need to engage the conversation?
  6. Political – What does this look like in the public sphere?

If you’re not having those conversations on those layers, you’re going to have a pretty limited myopic view of this massive issue.

Quotes from Episode 375

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Next Episode: Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon helps leaders stay positive, and realized most people spend their entire lives dealing with what he calls the “5 D’s”—Doubt, Distortion, Discouragement, Distraction and Division. Jon explains how each works, how to combat them, and how business and faith leaders need a message of hope that began in the Garden of Eden.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 376.

CNLP 375: Rich Villodas on What’s Wrong with Western Spirituality, the Ingredients of Successful Succession for Young leaders, and How to Live a Deeply Formed Life


  1. Mark on October 29, 2020 at 6:51 am

    There was, in many churches, a sanction of multiple classes of Christian. It started with who is a member and went to who does not agree politically with the majority. Also, marital status, parental status, and education level put some of us at the bottom of the barrel.

    • Jeff on November 13, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      Jon mentioned Bob Beale(sp?) and the 4 years after a succession of entering a new role. Orientation, experimentation, evaluation and acceleration. Where could I find Bob’s work on this? Thank you.

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