Helping You & Your Team Ditch Discouragement, Fear and Anxiety with Scot Longyear

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. This week we’re talking with Scot Longyear, the senior pastor of Maryland Community Church in Indiana, and guest host for the Worship Leader Probs podcast.

Two years after the pandemic, church leaders are still trying to figure out where to go from here. It’s been a tough season to wrestle through with our staff teams, and one that’s been riddled with fear, anxiety, and discouragement. Listen in as Scot shares about addressing the cracks in our foundation and finding freedom from that internal anxiety.

  • Talk about who you are now. // At the end of 2021, Scot’s staff decided that in the new year they would no longer talk about what they used to be before COVID, but focus on who they are now. Things have changed a lot from what they were two years ago and it can be hard to process all of this on a personal, and professional, and ministry level. Pay attention to where God has revealed the cracks in your foundation. Spend more time connecting with your staff as you move toward health.
  • Transparency and vulnerability. // Everyone in ministry has struggled in some way since COVID made its appearance. For a leader there is a delicate balance between transparency and vulnerability. Your staff doesn’t have to be your primary counselors, but let them see that you also struggle like they do. It’s not uncommon to struggle with anxiety that comes from an imposter syndrome. Acknowledge that our thoughts make a huge difference; we want to be a people who think well.
  • Connect with Jesus. // For Maryland Community Church’s staff, their connection with Jesus is number one. Scot says the staff is paid to do devotions because as followers of Christ we need to hear the truth, know the truth, and live out the truth. There are so many voices competing for our attention, from the culture around us to social media and other church leaders. Everyone has an opinion about how we should be doing things, and we have to make sure we are listening to the Holy Spirit in all of that.
  • Key truths tied to scripture. // In Romans 12 Paul says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. When our mind thinks differently, we act differently. Scot speaks key truth statements from scripture to himself when lies begin to stir up anxiety or doubt at vulnerable times. On Saturday nights before preaching on Sunday, Scot takes time to recognize any lies that are being lobbed at him by the enemy, take those thoughts captive, and replace them with scripture and his key truth statements. Actively allowing scripture to renew our minds is what strengthens us for our callings and helps us keep moving forward after so much discouragement and fear.
  • DITCH Your Thinking. // Scot has a released a book called DITCH Your Thinking which talks about how the mind impacts the brain, and how our thoughts actually create neurological changes. In his book, Scot explores a proven system to help you identify negative thoughts, hand them to Christ, and watch Him transform your thinking, and your life.
  • Determine, Identify, Truth, Capture, and Hand them over. // DITCH is an acronym – D stands for Determine the Emotion. There are eight primary emotions that we might find ourselves fighting and we have to identify which one we are facing. The letter I is Identify the Stronghold, which is a process where we dig into what we are feeling with “why” questions. Next we want to Truth that Stronghold, Capture the Lies, and finally Hand them to Jesus. Go through each of these steps to work through the problems you’re facing, renew your mind, and move forward in your faith.

You can learn more about Scot and order his book at his website www.scotlongyear.com. You can also find out more about Maryland Community Church at www.mccth.org.

Thank You for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally!

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live!

Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well hey, friends – welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in today. You know every week we try to bring you a leader who will both inspire and equip you and today is absolutely no exception. So super excited to have Scot Longyear with us. He’s the senior pastor of a church called Maryland Community Church with two campuses in Indiana not in Maryland which I’m sure creates sometimes a bit of a a fun conversation on the internet. He’s also author of a book that we’re going to get a chance to talk to, plus he’s a part of the Worship Leader Problems podcast, which if you’re not listening to you and you need to make sure you check them out. Ah, Scot, welcome to the show.

Scot Longyear — Hey, thanks Rich. Just honored honor to be here.

Rich Birch — So good. Um, it’ll be I’m looking forward to getting to know you a little bit better. Why don’t you tell us about Maryland kind of fill out the story a little bit – give us ah, kind of a snapshot of the church.

Scot Longyear — Yeah, right. Well, you’re exactly right – like every time I talk to somebody outside of our region, you know, I have to lead with it’s Maryland Community Church and nowhere near the state of Maryland…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Scot Longyear — …because I have conversations with people like, hey how are things going in Maryland? I’m like I have no idea have zero idea so ah. Church started in 1925 literally in a one-room schoolhouse huddled around the fire. And so we have a great, in our region, Rich, this is ah just ah, a great history and really a strong brand and um, so yeah, we’ve like everybody else I mean we’ve navigated, you know coming up on 100 years here in a few years – big celebration that we’ll do. And so tons of history and often wonder if the people around you know they’re sitting around ah warming themselves around a fire in the middle of of winter in Indiana if they would get a picture of what’s going on now.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Scot Longyear — Um, yeah, some of them would probably be like that’s crazy; we’re walking out and some would be just they so enamored at what the Lord has done for so for so long. But yeah, it’s real interesting too because we are multi-site um – I would say a church of size in a city not of size and so that gives us some real ah, unique opportunities that we’re still trying to lean into.

Rich Birch — And you’re currently two campuses. Are you looking at doing more down the road, or is that you know or who knows?

Scot Longyear — Yeah, right.

Rich Birch — You know don’t you reveal any secrets, but…

Scot Longyear — We have honestly we’ve been on that track, Rich, because it makes sense. Where we are where where city proper is about 60,000 surrounding about 100,000 and so it gives us um, again, kind of a unique opportunity because big fish/small pond and we have folks that are driving driving in. So there’s about if you look on paper, there’s a we we eventually should be around 7 or 8 campuses of people we have driving into our city. What I’m wrestling with right now, because we’ve had on the books man here’s the next place that we’re going, and we’re launching up to that and it was you know, ah Paul in Acts when he’s going into I think it’s in Asia somewhere in Asia and the Holy Spirit would not let him go in. You know so we had that with one of our with one of our sites, and then we just were leaning in towards it towards another one and what I’m getting ready to reveal now to our leadership is feel like the Lord’s saying again I’m not going to let you in. Um, so we’re like we never want to get ahead and a step ahead of what the Lord is doing. And so it’s that whole Moses-thing, right? Like Lord if you’re not going with us then we don’t want to go.

Rich Birch — Right.

Scot Longyear — And so while we have ah plans and continual leaning that way and what I’ve told our staff is we’re gonna keep we’re gonna keep our our lamps full so when the lord is ready we’re ready to go in terms of finance and structure and all that. But I really think he’s, and this is this is super fresh that I’ve only shared with part of my leadership team is that, the Lord is really doing positioning us in our city to continue to work transformation in the place where we are. And we have a unique opportunity because we are a smaller place. Um, you know if we were if we were church our size and we were in you know metro Louisville or Chicago or even Toronto um we couldn’t even have a conversation like that because it’s just it’s just so massive…

Rich Birch — Right.

Scot Longyear — …and so man. Yeah, so that’s a big that’s a big like I think so, but I’m not real sure. We’re trying to determine what the Lord is doing…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Scot Longyear — … in in the middle of that. You know we’ve we’ve gone to camp two campuses very successfully from all that I talked to and all the research that I’ve done. Um, and my XP too is like number three is hard baby, like buckle up. It’s going to be tough.

Rich Birch — Sure, yeah.

Scot Longyear — So so yeah that’s kind of where we’re leaning.

Rich Birch — That’s cool man – that’s exciting. Well I know this season, you know has been an interesting one. What’s that you know may you live in interesting times…

Scot Longyear — Right.

Rich Birch — You know, the last couple years have been – I remember you know we were joking beforehand where like want to talk a little bit about kind of where people’s heads are at around you know this season and even kind of… I’m not sure is it post covid intercovid I’m not sure where it is.

Scot Longyear — Ah, yeah.

Rich Birch — We started I remember back two years ago um you know we did a couple episodes and I remember thinking like ah, we’ll do two or three episodes about covid and then we’ll move back on and…

Scot Longyear — Right.

Rich Birch — …here we are two years later and we’re all still trying to figure it out, but it does seem like you know I want to talk about you as your leading your people, as you’re thinking about your team, and even the people in your church. It is a season that has been seasoned with fear, with anxiety, discouragement.

Scot Longyear — Man, yeah.

Rich Birch — It’s been a tough season for people to wrestle through. Ah, kind of walk us through that help us think that through – what is that look like for for for you, for people that you’ve run into, whether it’s your staff, or just even people in your church? What’s what’s that looking like for you these days?

Scot Longyear — Yeah, you know, Rich, I um I think I’m um, um, maybe on the front end of trying to do you know a post-mortem on it, and so a few things that come to mind. Um you know obviously we’re I mean we’re we’re running. You know we’re trying to find a playbook on this thing and it just doesn’t exist. you know, so…

Rich Birch — Sure.

Scot Longyear — You know, ah we must have s slept through you know how to lead a pandemic 101 when we were being prepped for ministry

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Scot Longyear — …and so um, you know one thing that we did as a staff, we decided last at the end of last year we’re like look, when we come to ’22 we’re no longer going to talk about “well we used to be” and “what used to be” and and all this. And so when it when it clicked into ’22 we said, here’s the deal, this is the church we are, right? This is the church we are. And um, you know to be quite transparent, I was like I was like yeah, that’s cool. And then I looked at ah our pre-covid averages and our post covid averages and two things bothered me in that, Rich. Um one I found that I had a little bit more pride than I would have liked to admit, you know. Because I was like because when things are going good, you’re like man numbers don’t matter, babies. No, it’s all good.

Rich Birch — That’s so true.

Scot Longyear — But I found I sure liked to be I sure liked being ah, lead pastor of a church at 2500 more than I did a church of 1600. And so the Lord and I had to really knock around. And man I’m I’m still I’m still dealing with some of that I think in my soul, so it’s revealed some stuff in me. And then I think um I think also, man, it’s like I’ve just got um you know we’ve got a, for us in our context, I’ve got a thousand people that are in the wind, and I don’t know where they are, Rich. Like I I mean I know some of them are joining us online, and we’ve got great online stuff going and all that. And we’re still trying to, you know, dial in what is church, and what is not when it’s when it’s online, but my soul hurts for those people. I was sitting down with a guy who’s becoming a friend and just a fantastic pastor, Brady Boyd, out it in a New Life in Colorado Springs and I was sharing that with him. And he just looked at me and he’s like, Scot, they’re not coming back. And I’m like no man, no, no, no! And he’s like they been gone for twenty four months they’re not coming back. And so we’re trying to figure out how that how that mission field all works. But in the middle of that you know like we’re just taking beatings, right, when it comes to our leadership. And we’re taking beatings when it comes to our you know, how to process all this on a personal, and professional, and ministry level, and caring for our people. And you know, one mistake that I made is you know, we buckle down. We’re like okay, we’re gonna do this online thing and um, if I was going to rewind and do it over again, I would have I would probably have quadrupled the time that I normally spent connecting with my staff. Because when we regathered—and we have a healthy staff, man—but when we regathered, we were not healthy together. Because everybody’s on the edge, they’re looking for a dog to kick, and all of a sudden you’re making me mad, and I’m writing the narrative on this, and we had we had a lot of work we had to do when we came back together. Um you know and and some of it was and then I know, you know, I know you’re listeners are in agreement. You’re leading a staff and and especially your you’re upper level level staff, man, there’re they’re hunting dogs, and they’re ready to hunt, like let’s go. And when they’re pinned up, they can start nipping at each other…

Rich Birch — That’s so true.

Scot Longyear — …and so that just kind of created a whole ton of conversations for us, where we’re like all right, let’s sit down, what’s going on, here we go, and just fine. You know, it put everybody in just really not a great head space, and I’m I’m thinking too that it really… I don’t know that covid in all all of this season created a bunch of new stress and anxieties as much as it revealed some of the cracks that were already there.

Rich Birch — Yeah, true.

Scot Longyear — We could kind of just normally patch. You know I can patch this up with a day off, or with take a little sabbatical, you know, ah stretch here or whatever. But I think it it just kind of revealed what was already there. And and and I think the Lord’s kind of going to use that in some healthy ways as we patch that up and get even more healthy for the future.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love that. I you know, I do think, you know, it’s it’s that difference between… I think we’ve all been telling ourselves, hey this is we’re going to stop rebuilding. This isn’t about “let’s rebuild to areas”. We want to build like let’s look to the future. That sounds great like that’s one of those like that sounds great, but there’s still a lot of stuff we’re dealing with. There’s still then Okay, how do we actually do that, and how do we process that? How do we kind of you know, get a certain amount of freedom from from all of that kind of internal anxiety? How are you coaching your team, your people through that?

Scot Longyear — Right.

Rich Birch — What has that looked like? How are you helping direct them from here’s this kind of negative space where I was maybe discouraged or filled with anxiety, to to a new normal that hopefully is filled with freedom, right? And is filled with you know the kind of life that we’re hoping our people will have.

Scot Longyear — Yeah I think of a couple of things, Rich. I think as as a leader it’s a delicate balance between, you know, transparency and vulnerability and all that, and we you know one of our cores – we want to live with integrity um, but I want to realize that my staff, there are not also not my primary counselors.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Scot Longyear — But I also want to make sure that they they can identify, I’m like oh man, this guy’s struggling here as well, okay. And so just just last week with our staff as we were talking through some some different things, I was like let’s talk about let me talk about right now this whole idea of um, just the anxiety that you might be ah, rolling along in the imposter syndrome. You know anybody with imposter syndrome? And I was surprised you know even even later with some emails some some of my top level staff go, man, that’s the way I feel. And I’m like me too me too. And here’s how I’m wrestling through and I’m doing that. And then we also know too, man, that we are um, you know our thoughts make a huge difference. And so we want to be a people who think well. And so I just want to continue to encourage our staff. Man, we need to hear the truth, and know the truth, I live out the truth, and it’s got to be cemented into us. And so one of our our primary pushes is we’re continually having our staff, man, your connection time with Jesus is number one. Like I pay our staff to do devotions, which I think is the greatest job in the world, if you can get paid to do devotions. Because I want them listening to the truth of scripture and listening to the truth of the Holy Spirit. Because that truth really changes, because there are so many voices that are going on right now. Not only in how do we figure out church, but like everybody’s opinion in the world, from every single topic of of thousands of people who are now experts and want to tell you how to do your job, and I’m like who do I even listen to in the middle of that.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Rich Birch — Another piece of that, Rich, too is is figuring out, you know, your makeup. I think it’s really healthy for leaders to figure out, you know, what’s your enneagram, what are you on the DISC, what’s your personality profile – just to realize okay I’m going to navigate this a little bit differently than other people might. And it’s going to help my words as I form to somebody else’s it little bit bit different personality makeup and somebody as well. But man, it’s a it’s it’s a fight. I mean I’ve I’ve come closer to ah some um ah panic attacks, I would say, and fights with depression than I than I ever have in the past.

Rich Birch — Right. Let’s let’s let’s loop back on that thinking piece, particularly. You know it’s the it’s as old as Romans 12…

Scot Longyear — Yep.

Rich Birch — …you know, like it’s amazing how ah, you know when we read scripture. There’s all kinds of times where it just jumps off the page. You’re like, man, this could be written for today, right?

Scot Longyear — Yeah.

Rich Birch — And that’s one of those passages. That’s just the front end there. How are we renewed? Like don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world but have our thinking renewed. How are you encouraging your people to be have the right thinking, to be aligned with what the Lord—I love that even just practical tip around you know, paying your staff to do devotions, I love that—but is there what else could we be thinking about as we think about kind of our our renewing our mind, staying focused on how we want how he wants us to think?

Scot Longyear — Yeah I’ve just been enamored even even pre-covid with with that. Again, it’s exactly where you said it’s the Romans 12, you know, that we’re transformed by the renewal of our mind. And I’m like man Paul kind wrote anything there…

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm

Scot Longyear — …you can say we’re transformed by prayer, by the movement of the Holy Spirit, by whatever, but it’s we’re transformed by the renewal of our mind; when our mind thinks differently, we think and act differently.

Rich Birch — Right.

Scot Longyear — And when I first was you know on the train, I’m like that’s new age, like I don’t know that’s a bunch of crazy…

Rich Birch — Yes yep.

Scot Longyear — …and as I hit some crisis points and dug down with my therapist, you know, she’s like you know you need some truth statements. and I’m like, that sounds nuts, until I started getting in on it…

Rich Birch — Ah, yes.

Scot Longyear — …You know and so I’m even I mean I was I was real intrigued… Dr Caroline Leaf is obviously just brilliant in in this area, and she she quoted a study that 12 minutes – they did a scientific study if we would pray for 12 minutes a day for eight weeks. So we pray 12 minutes a day for eight weeks, the neurological changes in our brain are so deep that it’s noticed on a brain scan.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Scot Longyear — So thinking literally changes the makeup of the brain, And so Rich, it’s it’s like the Apostle Paul was true. It’s like scriptures true that the truth really does change…

Rich Birch — Yes. Yes.

Scot Longyear — …change us you know and so on a practical way for me for the first time in my life I’ve come up with here here are my true statements, and so Saturday night is a time is ah is a spin up time for my brain because Sundays comin’. And it’s just it’s a bunch of smoke and mirrors because I know that the pressure is coming, so it may be a pressure from a meeting that’s coming, it may be a pressure from whatever ah my mind tends to tends to go to just whatever—I’m like I mean even last night I’m like, okay I’m we’ll do a podcast with Rich, man how’s that gonna go, but and and Lord’s like well with stop being dumb, right?

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Scot Longyear — So how can I think differently about this and so I’ll come up with like I mean I got some key truth statements that I will tell myself that are based in scripture so that I know that they’re not Scot’s truth ideas – these are words written through the Holy Spirit, words from the Father that are true that I can hang on. So when the rest of the chatter is around, that’s gonna help me to to pattern. Plus I have to be man, we just have to be so careful of who and what we listen to…

Rich Birch — That’s so true.

Scot Longyear — …especially in a world where it’s I mean we can get this 24/7, like just not only news cycle but everybody’s voice, and it’s like I’m just not not convinced that that’s so healthy.

Rich Birch — Right. No, that’s so true. You know that I think in in the long term I do think—and I’m not the first person to say this, lots of sociologists and you know thinkers, and pastors have been saying this for you know years now—that I think we’re going to look back 20 years from now, 10 years from now, maybe 5 years from now on the influence of social media in this season on our brains…

Scot Longyear — Mmm-hmm.

Rich Birch — …in the same way that we look back at cigarettes from like the 50s where, you know, you’ll see those pictures of like you know, 9 out of 10 doctors recommend Marlboro’s and you’re like – what? That’s crazy, right? The fact that we’ve just kind of adopted this, hey just open your brain and just let stuff constantly pour in.

Scot Longyear — Yeah.

Rich Birch — Um, let’s let’s dig down on true statements a little bit. I love help us know about the line there between, you know—and you you flagged it—kind of positive self-talk new agey like “you can do it” and “people love you” kind of statements. And let’s embed the truth of scripture and what God thinks in our lives. How do you, where do you find that line? What does that look like? How are you wrestling with that in your own life?

Scot Longyear — Well, that’s a great question because, man, if you push this too far, then you’re pumping yourself up the entitled, like you know I’ve got this, you know it’s it’s all about me. You know I can do all things with Christ through Christ who strengthens me. Well let’s just take that out of context right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, sure. Yes.

Scot Longyear — So I want to make sure sure that I’m like pushing these things together like, Lord is this true? Is this what you say? You know so as I went through the hard work of like here are my true statements, every one of my truth statements would have a would have a scripture tied tied to them and so um.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Scot Longyear — One of my yeah, you know so one of my… So for me as a senior pastor, um primary communicator at our church, create content, all that kind of stuff, and I’m like man, I’ll say the wrong thing, you know what’s going to happen, and all that and so one of my truth statements is is for Sunday is um, something spiritual happens when I preach, as I join the Holy Spirit in his work.

Rich Birch — That’s good.

Scot Longyear — And I say to myself I wrote this Holy Spirit, that this sermon with the Holy Spirit, and I’m on to deliver it in partnership with him. And then my scripture out of that is Matthew 10:20 that says it will not be you speaking but the Spirit of the Father speaking through you. So I’m like here’s the truth I’m not alone in this; I’m joining the Holy Spirit in his work. And man when I say that to myself, I kind of kick my shoulders back a little bit, Rich, because I’m like I’m like let’s go. You’re gonna take me on now, devil. Like okay I’m speaking I’m joining with, I’m not alone in the middle of this. And then I’m like well is that really true? I’m like well Jesus says this in Matthew, and I you know I do think that that’s the voice of voice of the father in that. Um you know another one like I’ve got I’ve got a whole list that I I call my Saturday Night Confessions because those are the…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Scot Longyear — …you know that’s when when things start getting really really ah, charged up for me.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Um, and I have to think you know so one of me is is that my words literally change lives.

Scot Longyear — Now, you could take that one of two ways. Like well so you better not screw it up, right?

Rich Birch — Sure.

Scot Longyear — But my words literally change lives. You know Romans 12 ah 10:17 is my scripture there – faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word about Christ. You know and so it’s like yes, I’m given this this great mantle, but like what I’m doing matters. And I think in one of the spin-ups that we get sometimes is like what you’re doing doesn’t really matter…

Rich Birch — So true.

Scot Longyear — …you know it’s just it’s inconsequential. And it’s like you know what it actually it actually does matter, and so I’m going to partner with the Lord in the middle of that. And I think some of the truth too are, you know, man I don’t know how I’m still learning how the brain works and everything, but there’s so much mental chatter that happens…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Scot Longyear — …and I’m like I’m talking to myself a lot. And then I’m like, is that normal, or am I cracking up? But what I find is that I have I have to have a filter to recognize, is this the voice of my father, or is this not the voice of my father? And so for me as things come in sometimes I’ll hear things and or sense things and I’m like um I’ll run that for a little bit, and then I’m like I’m like wait a minute. My father doesn’t talk like that.

Rich Birch — That’s so good. Right. Yeah.

Scot Longyear — It’s not something that my father would say, is that? I know him I know him pretty well and I’m getting to know him him more and more, and that’s not what he would say. So if that’s not what he wants to say, or is saying to me, then I have to dismiss that. I want to capture that thought I’m going to take that thought captive and say it doesn’t belong here, because I will only listen to the truth that comes from my father. That’s what I want to be built on.

Rich Birch — Right. I Love that.

Scot Longyear — That’s what I want to speak, speak on and I want that to come out of my heart. So, man much easier said than done.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Scot Longyear — But I really think the battle is fought and it is won or lost in our minds.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love the practicality of what you’re saying. If I’m kind of catching what you’re saying – let me reflect this back to you. I love that you’ve done some work ahead of time to identify, here are you know some true statements, here are some things that I I need to remind myself… I need the Lord to remind me so I’m gonna do the work to kind of capture those, get those together and then I’m going to rehearse those thoughts even on, you know, like you’re saying on Saturday night as we’re kind of ramping up. And I know we’ve all had that. We all have that all the time the Saturday night oh my goodness it’s the middle of the night I’m lying awake staring at the ceiling. And thinking either either an odd thought or like worrying about a slide…

Scot Longyear — Yeah, yeah.

Rich Birch — …or like this you know is you know as a staff leader. It’s like… did we get that thing plugged for tomorrow. Um, and that can feel like just a giant distraction. I love that – what a great encouragement to ah your team. Are there other times, before we leave this this truth ah, you know statements idea here, are there other key times that you find yourself, hey I’ve got to make sure I kind of set some time aside to to reconnect with these truth statements? I love the Saturday night – that seems real clear. Are there any other times where you find yourself needing to do that regularly?

Scot Longyear — Yeah, I’m probably don’t I’m probably not great at it because usually I’m waiting until I hit…

Rich Birch — Sure. Yes.

Scot Longyear — …hit something, so it’s like like maybe me a mild crisis to come back to it so I need to be proactive instead of instead of reactive.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Scot Longyear — So I think that would be my like ah, do as I as I say not as I do. Like if you can make these a pattern…

Rich Birch — Sure, sure.

Scot Longyear — …of like here I am every every morning and I and I tell people, and here’s what I tell people but I still am not doing it as much as I want to. Like you get up in the morning, make your bed make up your bed, and make up your mind. And maybe you even make up your mind first…

Rich Birch — Hmm that’s good.

Scot Longyear — …as soon as you wake up. Like I’m making my of my mind and then I’m going to make up my bed which is that’s a whole like just getting to jump on the day.

Rich Birch — Love it. Well I want to pivot and talk about your book. You’ve you’ve released this book called “Ditch Your Thinking” which is a great title. Um help us understand why did you write this book? Obviously this is kind of in the orbit of what we’re talking about, but kind of give us the the overview to help us think through this book and and you know, what what’s the message here.

Scot Longyear — Yeah, I mean it just comes from what we have been what we’ve been talking about, and kind of just my personal story, and I’m like man if if I’m wrestling with you know, fear and anxiety and worry, I bet there are a lot of other people who have too. And I think what we’ve seen over the course of time is I don’t know if more people are wrestling with it or it’s just more socially acceptable to talk about, but it’s just it’s just rampant you know. And I think when you when you open up and you’re like man, I actually deal with this, people like oh wow, you too? And I’m like yes. Like we have to get a handle on this and so not from an expert level certainly starting out, but more from just like, man, so many of us are wrestling with this and I’m wrestling with this as well. Intrigued by the whole idea of how the brain changes. You know there’s there’s the there’s the mind and then there’s the brain. The mind is is our emotions and thoughts and then the brain the squishy material and how the mind actually impacts the brain and everything else. You know the whole study of neuroplasticity – that our thoughts can literally change our brain and sculpt it like it does a muscle. But then I’m like how do we practically get down on that? and so.

Scot Longyear — That’s where DITCH comes from: D-I-T-C-H. So Let’s go old school preaching, right?

Rich Birch — Love it.

Scot Longyear — Each one of those stands for something different. So ditch is actually a system that I I literally use when those thoughts are coming in. And going like okay, this is not from the father but it’s still taking up residency in my brain and it needs to be dealt with. And so I’m going to run it through this framework DITCH, and come out through through the other side, hopefully with ah with ah you know a little bit of of strength and and listening to the truth of the father, and not just kind of the random whatever that’s that’s popping around.

Rich Birch — Could you run through quickly—that I know it’s like this is the worst thing to ask an author—hey can you run through the DITCH quickly – just give us the overview I know you wrote 50,000 words on it but give us the give us the high level ,and then we’re gonna encourage people to pick it up. But give us the kind of high level there.

Scot Longyear — Right. Yeah sure. Yeah, let me let me bust through it and then I’ll and I’ll drop down on on a couple what I think are are the keys in it.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Scot Longyear — D is you’ve got to Determine the emotion when something comes in. What’s the emotion? Is it anger? There’s there’s 8 ah primary emotions. I write about all 8 of those in the book, and ah, what’s what’s that emotion? So you’re laying awake ah in bed at night and you’re like that emotion is fear. That’s the emotion. So I’ve got to figure out first of all what I’m trying to fight – the emotion. Then I stands for Identify the Stronghold. Now a stronghold in scripture is sometimes something, you know, the Lord is my stronghold or my fortress, but there’s also a negative stronghold that typically is a lie. And so we’ve got to do some hard work to drill down on what that stronghold is, and so we’ve got to ask why? Why am I afraid? Well I’m afraid because um, we’ll get up in front of people. Okay, why are you afraid about getting up in front of people? Because I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing. Why are you afraid that you’re gonna say the wrong thing? So for me when I drilled down on that to give you an example, Rich, um I’ll be ah I’m afraid that I’m gonna when I speak in front of people I’m gonna say the wrong thing. Why are you afraid to say the wrong thing? I’m afraid I’m say the wrong thing because I’m gonna look stupid. Okay, why is looking stupid bothering you? And if I drill down that long enough, I’ll get to the why of, well if I say the wrong thing people are not going to like me. Well why is it important that people like you? Because if they don’t like me then I’m not worth much.

Rich Birch — They get more convicting, the more whys the more whys get more convicting.

Scot Longyear — Exactly, exactly.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Scot Longyear — But if you do the hard work of whys and you get down on that, and… So that’s just one example, but for me as I drill down on that, then my stronghold is that my identity is tied to what you think of me. So if I’m not in a healthy place, we’ll end this in this podcast podcast, Rich, and I’ll be like man I blew it with that guy. He thinks I’m a moron this is gonna go out, these people are not gonna like me. Um I have no value. So my value is actually tied to your acceptance and that’s a complete lie, right? But that’s a stronghold that we’re in. So then I’m going to take once I find out what that Stronghold is, and it’s gonna be different depending on what emotion you’re dealing with, then I’m gonna put truth – that’s T. So D is Determined the Emotion. I as Identify the Stronghold. T is I’m going to Truth that Stronghold. So I’m gonna throw the truth of scripture on that. You know in my case I’m going to say I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Like I’m a son, I’m a beloved son of the King. So I’m going to put truth on all that. But it doesn’t end there, Rich, because often we’ll put Truth on stuff. We’re like yeah I know the truth but um, it doesn’t seem to really be really be working because I got all these other residual thoughts that come in. Because the our enemy is just going to lob these thought thought grenades at us. So we’re going to capture those thoughts when they they come in.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Scot Longyear — We’re gonna Capture them and then H is we’re gonna Hand Them to Jesus. And here’s where—and I talk about this in the book—this is a great trick; I have yet to do it, but I have some friends who’ve done it .Um Craig Groeschel was teaching on on this once and said, here’s what you do – laying in bed at night, that’s when we get spun up and we’re like, man, here’s the anxiety that I have on your on your a nightstand next to your bed. You have some 3×5 cards and a pin and you’re just gonna write on there here’s what my here’s what I’m worried about: I’m worried about tomorrow with this staff thing, I’m worried about this conversation cause I’ve got to put a guy on a PIP or I gotta let him go, or I’ve got a whatever, so I’m worried about this – here’s my worry. Then you’re gonna get up from your bed and you’re gonna take that piece of paper or that 3×5 card that you’ve written on, you’re go to your kitchen where you’re gonna find a box that’s in your kitchen. That’s just a God box and you’re gonna physically say, I God um I’m giving this to you. So scripture says that we’re to cast our cares on him.

Rich Birch — So good.

Scot Longyear — God I’m casting my care on you. I’m putting it in the box; I’m leaving it there and I’m going back to bed. Now when you go back to bed, what’s gonna happen? You gonna spin up on something else. Oh it’s not this guy that I got had a tough conversation with. I’ve also got this that I that I have to do, now here’s another worry. I’m gonna write that down, again I’m gonna take it and when I’m gonna put it in the God box in the kitchen. I’m gonna go back – God I’m giving that to you; I’m gonna go back to bed. Now then if you’re laying there and you’re like oh man, okay I really am worried about that first thing that I wrote down. That meant that conversation that I’ve got to have with one of one of my people – it’s not going to be good. You’re worried about it again. Here’s what you do. Get your butt out of bed, go to the kitchen, pick up that card out of the box and say to the Lord: I’m taking this back because I don’t trust that you’re gonna take it. Now you’re gonna have to wrestle with the Lord on that, right?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Scot Longyear — And you go to end up putting it back. And I’ve had some friends that have done that and they’re like, wow this was incredibly freeing, because it really put a physical action on something that I was thinking. And so that’s the whole like we’re going to continue to hand it to Jesus in that. And and so for me as I hit some of this stuff I’m like okay, let’s go. Let’s go to work. I gotta to determine what this emotion is, I want to identify the stronghold, throw some truth on it, I’m gonna capture it, and hand it to Jesus. And it’s given me some handlebars to get the truth prevalent in my life so that I can stop listening to the lies, and I found that it actually changes everything, because again, Paul says in Romans chapter 12 that we’re transformed by the renewal of our mind. So this is just a whole practice of how how do we very practically renew our mind.

Rich Birch — Love it. Of those steps, which one are you finding personally is the hardest step for you – that it’s like okay this is the piece that as a leader. I know in the books I’ve written it’s always like you write the book and there’s a part of it where you’re writing for yourself like, oh gosh this is the part I need. Or it’s same with preaching, right?

Scot Longyear — Yep. Yep, yes.

Rich Birch — I’m preaching this message for myself today. I don’t care – you all are going to listen in but this is for me. What part of this is the part that you find yourself wrestling with?

Scot Longyear — You know, honestly, Rich, I think it’s probably the in the identifying the strongholds because some of them are easier than others. So there are probably some strongholds that are from family of origin, from some younger years, for some people it may be rooted in some abuse or neglect that really need to be drilled down in some professional counseling. And I feel like in my life there’s some that I’m like: I can’t there’s something there and I don’t know what it is that’s making me do do this um, and so that’s where I’ve got to just continue to do some really really hard work.

Rich Birch — Love it. Oh this has been a fantastic conversation. I know when I ran into your book here, the thing that struck me is little two things. First of all, one I’m like this is would be a killer series at a church.

Scot Longyear — Right.

Rich Birch — I think this could be a fantastic like, hey you know that’s a great five-week conversation. A six-week conversation. Maybe you know, be great to give the book to everybody – that kind of thing. And then the other thing I was struck by was, hey this would be a great team, you know, like a weekend retreat or two day overnight kind of like hey, we’re going to read this and then process these things together in a safe environment. How have you seen people use this resource in a way that’s been surprising or encouraging? You’re like hey it’s kind of fun to see ah, you know this book has has had this kind of impact.

Scot Longyear — Yeah, it has been and I I designed it um, you know, for small groups. I didn’t design it for small groups but but made it so that you could use it for small groups, with small group questions and that in it. And I was kind of surprised because I’m always you know just to be completely transparent like as a pastor, you know, you release a book and I don’t want it to seem like manipulating, like we’re going to do a series on the book. Everybody go buy my book. You know because people are like, wow you’re getting rich. And you and I you and I both know that that very few authors are are banking, right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, that’s not what happens. Yes, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Scot Longyear — Um, but ah, but when I was getting ready to release the book a few of my key staff came to me and they said you’re not going to like this. But we really think you need to do this as a series. And I said okay and um and I did take it on the chin a little bit to be honest with you from from some folks, but I felt like the the content was was just going to be so helpful and so we did an entire series on the book in our small groups. We said if you want to go through this as a small group, you’re certainly welcome to do that. And so so that’s been that’s been good and some good feedback from people going like, man kind of again like the you too, and there’s there’s hope like here’s some handlebars that I can put around this, because I think people like I wrestle with this but I don’t know what to do and do do I go to counseling and and I don’t know or maybe I have but but yeah, I’m still having some hangups on that. And so I’ve been really excited to see some some folks who I believe are getting some freedom because again, not because the the book is just amazing amazing, but it push pushes you to the truth and some of those some of those tools that we just needed.

Rich Birch — Love it. Well if people want to pick up a copy or 10 where do we want to send them send them – to your website scotlongyear.com – that’s with one T. Are there other places we want to send them to to you know, pick up a copy?

Scot Longyear — No, that’s the primary place. Ah, that’s there, and so if you’re if you’re looking at ordering bulk um, just reach out to us just [email protected] and we can give you some some pricing and and all that kind of stuff. We tried to make it accessible for everybody in terms of price and shipping and everything. And then and then also with some groups if you’re like, man, could you customize this for us, I’d be happy to you know do some video work for you and and record that to try to get try to get some more people on board.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Scot Longyear — But yep scotlongyear.com would be the place where all that resides.

Rich Birch — This has been so fantastic. Scot, super helpful today – I’ve been taking notes here. Stuff I’m wrestling with him in my own life. I’m like my this has been some good practices, some things I should be thinking about so I really appreciate that. Where do we want to send people or anywhere else if we want to but track with the church or you know anywhere else where where should we send them online?

Scot Longyear — Yeah Maryland Community Church um you can get ah just a kind of little peek into to what we’re doing there and then I also ah you know do a lot of work like you mentioned with um Worship Leader Probs – just some phenomenal things are are going there. And then in terms of ah, worship leaders and and leadership, I’m also involved with a conference called the experience conference which happens once a year at Disney, of all places, in Florida and so if you’re ah you find yourself in a realm of production or worship leading, I would encourage you check that out that’s experienceconference.com.

Rich Birch — Love it. Thanks so much, Scot – appreciate you being here. Thanks for being on the show today.

Scot Longyear — Thank you.


Leave a Response

Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.