On this episode, Greg interviews Steve Cuss. Steve is the author of “Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs.” Steve has much to say to church leaders, church planters, and business people about how to deal with, and lead through, the extraordinary situations we face today around anxiety..

Insight from Our Guest, Steve

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1. Chronic anxiety

  • Is often generated by assumptions
  • And is also generated by false belief
  • “Anxiety is when somebody makes a generalization and we make a specific interpretation from it.”

2. Name your Gifts. Your anxiety is usually the shadow side of that gift.

  • “So if you’re very pastorally aware, that’s a gift, but you’ll need to please people is your anxiety.”

3. Finances can be an anxiety trigger

  • “Anytime you’re in a scarcity situation and whether you’re talking about global poverty or even just a simple church planter, trying to pay the bills, if you are in scarcity. And then a second generator is ambiguity. Anytime you’re in ambiguity. And then a third generator is when, when somebody has to do something and it has to be you. So put those three together and you’ve got financial pressure for a church.” 

4. Untangling anxiety: What is mine to carry?

  • “What is God’s to carry? Make three columns. Mine. Their’s. God’s.

5. Be an “exactly human-sized” pastor

  • Be responsible, and own mistakes when they happen.
  • Grow in your awareness of yourself and take care of yourself.
  • “This is the lesson I learned as a chaplain. I would walk into a room where somebody is dying or just died, or I have to give them the worst news they’ve ever heard in their life. No one calls the chaplain to watch Seinfeld reruns. Like it’s always the worst. And if I’m not aware of what’s going on inside of me. I’m going to infect that situation with my well-meaning anxiety.”

6. Start with yourself: When you’re anxious, I’m going to calm myself down

  • NOT when you’re anxious, I have to calm you down.

7. The most powerful tool against anxiety is curiosity

  • Why do i feel this way? What is causing me to react this way?
  • “The most anxious person in the room has the most power. Oftentimes it’s the cynical board member chipping away at you. That’s turning the whole board. So I try to out that person as quick as possible.”

8. Calm is power

  • “Just as the most anxious person in the room has the most power, so does the calmest person in the room. Th this is the way of Jesus. You can actually read the gospels through the lens of chronic anxiety because Jesus had calm presence. He used curiosity.”

*Transcripts are created through automated processes and may contain errors

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More About: Steve Cuss

Steve is the author of Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs and the founder of www.capablelife.me, an online community helping you to function as a calm, aware, present human in the work place and home place.  

When Steve served as a trauma and hospice chaplain at a young age he learned how what was going on inside him could quickly affect his ability to be present to people in pain. He also learned how to notice the dynamics between people. These early lessons and later study served Steve well as he works with organizations on team health and the infectious nature of anxiety.  
Steve was first exposed to Family Systems Theory when he was a chaplain and he later studied it in graduate school. Steve holds sixteen hundred hours of supervised ministry in Clinical Pastoral Education and is a Spiritual Care Professional in the ACPE. He holds a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary with a thesis focusing on the dignity laws of Leviticus and Exodus and how a suburban church can move beyond charity to address systemic poverty.  

 Steve is proud to be a strategic partner with Compassion International, Leadership Network, and Missio Alliance.  
Since 2005, Steve has served as Lead Pastor of Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colorado, an innovative and entrepreneurial church that has grown from 150 to more than 1000 in weekly attendance. The church intentionally welcomes spiritual seekers and skeptics and is passionate about partnerships that break the local and global poverty cycle. Steve previously served at a mega church in Las Vegas, on a ranch for struggling teens, and as a youth minister in the Appalachian region.  
Steve was privileged to grow up in Perth, Western Australia, in an adventurous family of origin. After moving to the United States for theological study, he married Lisa and they have two sons and a daughter, in whom they take great delight. When Steve is not working, you can find him laughing with his family, knee-deep in a trout stream, or trying a guitar he cannot afford at a local music store.