CNLP 526: Sharon Hodde Miller on Why So Many Christian Leaders are Control Freaks, the Link Between Control and Anxiety, and How Controlling Leaders Create Church Hurt

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Bestselling author and co-lead pastor, Sharon Hodde Miller, talks about control—why so many church leaders are control freaks, the link between control and anxiety, the prosperity Gospel, and how controlling leaders create church hurt.

Welcome to Episode 526 of the podcast. Listen 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.

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Compassion International

I love Compassion.

Our church has partnered with them for years, and we’ve seen how it helps our congregation focus on others and engage globally in tangible ways.

You may not know that in all 26 countries where Compassion works, they partner exclusively with local churches to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. The local church is the hero.

As your church begins preparing for the holiday season and encouraging generosity, Compassion has a really cool opportunity called the Giving Tree.

It’s a simple way for your church to share the love of Jesus with children in need by decorating a tree with ornaments that represent a variety of gift options. Each gift is designed to meet a practical need for a child in poverty.

Check it out and sign up at You can request a free ornament kit from the website, set up a tree in your church lobby, and invite families to be a part of changing lives with their giving.

Future Forward Churches

Pastoral transitions are inevitable for every church. Unfortunately, pastoral transitions often result in a major setback for the church—and it is becoming more and more difficult for churches to bounce back.

My friend, Lee Kricher just released an incredible new resource to help you with this.

Seamless Pastoral Transition is a book that can help you to navigate a pastoral transition without negatively impacting the momentum, continuity and mission of your church.

The book contains great insights about 3 Pastoral Transition Imperatives that are absolutely critical to address. And, it covers 6 Pastoral Transition Pitfalls to avoid—pitfalls which can completely derail a leadership transition.

If you are church leader, one of your highest priorities must be planning for pastoral transitions with great diligence. If you agree, this book is written for you.

Get Lee’s book, Seamless Pastoral Transition and other FREE pastoral transition resources by going to

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The Cost of Control: Why We Crave It, the Anxiety It Gives Us, and the Real Power God Promises by Sharon Hodde Miller

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Compassion International

Future Forward Churches

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Quotes from Episode 526

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 526

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review.

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore returns to the podcast to talk all things Gen Z, why they mistrust authority, how to win their trust, engaging them at work, and why they have high agency and high anxiety. Plus, Tim covers all five generations in the workplace and how to manage and lead each.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 527.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

And with another Sunday morning coming up, it'll just have to wait until next week when you have a few minutes to figure it out.

Now ask yourself this:

What would it feel like to have those answers at your fingertips 24/7?

Whether it's reaching new people, improving your preaching, increasing volunteers, refreshing your vision, engaging your staff, or any of the countless challenges we face as church leaders, The Art of Leadership Academy will equip you to lead your church with confidence and clarity.

Between comprehensive church leadership courses, live coaching calls, staff and volunteer training resources, and direct access to an online community of senior-level church leaders, you'll get the exact insights and answers that fuel your church for growth.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.