How Understanding Our Baggage Improves Our Leadership : Ike Miller

How Understanding Our Baggage Improves Our Leadership - Ike Miller - 79 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

How can we process the baggage we’re carrying from dysfunctional relationships in our past in a manner that helps us become healthier in both life and ministry? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Ike Miller. Ike is the founding and lead pastor of Bright City Church in Durham, North Carolina. Ike writes regularly about the intersection of theology and mental health. His newest book is entitled Good Baggage. Together, Ike and Jason look at the importance for us as pastors and ministry leaders to better understand the coping mechanisms we’ve developed from past dysfunctional relationships and how those impact the way we minister and live today. Ike also shares how God can redeem some of that baggage in such a way that we can embrace healthier lives and ministries.

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Additional Resource Links – Visit Ike’s website, showcasing his profound book, engaging podcast, and a wealth of valuable resources. Tailored to empower and assist you on your transformative ministry path, these offerings are designed with your growth in mind.

Good Baggage: How Your Difficult Childhood Prepared You for Healthy Relationships – Far from minimizing past pain, Ike shows you how to go through the baggage you carry from a difficult childhood and pull out the good stuff. The intentionality you’ve developed. The empathy you’ve gained. The trust you value so highly. Ike shares from his own past in a dysfunctional family impacted by alcoholism and divorce, and his present as part of a healthy and loving family, to illustrate how to stop letting your past sabotage your present.

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • Codependency, which often stems from traumatic experiences, may result in the loss of one’s identity as a form of self-preservation.
  • The constant need for approval from others as a form of validation becomes self-destructive.
  • A healthy relationship is characterized by an authentic view of self-image. Unrealistic expectations create a deceptive version of one’s self.
  • Establishing healthy boundaries prevents codependency and maintains emotional well-being in ministry relationships.
  • The persistence of emotional baggage from past relationships, even when those relationships are no longer actively part of one’s life, reflects the enduring impact of these connections. Acknowledging this ongoing impact is essential for personal growth and cultivating healthy relationships.
  • Recognizing codependency can help a ministry leader from accepting negative concepts of himself or herself.
  • A healthy self-perception reflects an individual’s capacity to navigate rejections and negative feedback from others.
  • The Lord is able to redeem those painful experiences from dysfunctional relationships into something fruitful. Coping mechanisms from past relational challenges can be redeemed and used to help build meaningful relationships.
  • By finding healthy rhythms, pastors can safeguard themselves from burning out and prevent the negative consequences of exhaustion. These rhythms allow the cultivation of emotional resilience and the capacity to offer more consistent support and care to others.
  • The cycle of sabotage refers to the repeated self-destructive pattern resulting from unresolved trauma of past experiences.
  • The concept of “good baggage” offers hope and redemption. Coping mechanisms developed in response to past traumas can be repurposed positively. Pastors can enhance empathy, emotions, and relational connections, ultimately benefiting their ministries.

Questions for Reflection

  • Can I identify any emotional baggage from past relationships that might still be affecting me today? What does that look like in my life?
  • How can this awareness contribute to my personal growth and the improvement of my current relationships?
  • As I reflect on the concept of codependency, do I see codependent relationships in my life? If so, where?
  • How can I recognize the impact of my past traumatic experiences on my tendency toward codependency and the resulting loss of my identity?
  • Do I find myself constantly seeking approval from others for validation? How can I prevent myself from becoming a people-pleaser while fulfilling the mandate God has given me?
  • How can I stay true to myself and keep a clear perspective of my self-image? Am I letting people see me for who I really am? What changes do I need to make in this area of my life?
  • Am I establishing and maintaining clear boundaries in my relationships? How can I maintain a clear set of boundaries that can prevent me from codependency?
  • When things do not go my way, how can I value myself as a child of God, independent of the circumstances and challenges I face?
  • Am I able to recognize signs of codependency in my relationships that will enable me to help others address the issues in a godly and meaningful way?
  • How do I handle rejections and negative feedback from those around me? Am I using them for my personal growth? How might I improve in this area?
  • What are the things in my past that I can ask the Lord to help me accept and redeem for His purpose and glory?
  • How do I manage my time in the ministry and personal life so that I have breathing room for moments when everything becomes overwhelming? How can I better help these challenging moments to not negatively impact those around me?
  • Am I able to identify a self-sabotage cycle in my life? What steps can I take to liberate myself from this pattern and experience personal growth?
  • How can I use my past negative experiences to enrich my relationship with others and my ministry?
  • Am I staying true to God’s calling regardless of any unmet expectations I’m feeling?

Full-Text Transcript

How can we process the baggage we’re carrying from dysfunctional relationships in our past in a manner that helps us become healthier in both life and ministry?

Jason Daye 
In this episode, I’m joined by Ike Miller. Ike is the founding and lead pastor of Bright City Church in Durham, North Carolina. Ike writes regularly about the intersection of theology and mental health. His newest book is entitled Good Baggage. Together, Ike and I look at the importance for us as pastors and ministry leaders to better understand the coping mechanisms we’ve developed from past dysfunctional relationships and how those impact the way we minister and live today. Ike also shares how God can redeem some of that baggage in such a way that we can embrace healthier lives and ministries. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, so good to have you with us this week. Welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host Jason Daye. And every single week, it is my privilege to sit down with a trusted ministry leader and dive into a conversation all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace really a healthy and sustainable rhythm for both your life and ministry. Very excited about today’s conversation and we are proud to be a part of the PastorServe network. And not only do we record a conversation for you every single week, but our team creates entire toolkit that complements the topic we’re discussing. And you can find that toolkit at and there you’ll find a lot of resources including a ministry leaders growth guide which you can use personally or use with your ministry leaders at your local church to, again, just dive more deeply into this conversation. So we encourage you to check that out at And then at PastorServe, we love walking alongside of pastors and ministry leaders and we are offering a complimentary coaching session and you can learn more about that at if you’d be interested in connecting with one of our trusted and experienced ministry coaches. So be sure to check that out as well. Now if you’re joining us on YouTube, give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name, the name of your church in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better and we’ll be praying for you and your ministry. And whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe, hit that notification bell to follow. You do not want to miss out on any of these great conversations. Now as I said, I’m excited about today’s conversation. At this time, I would like to welcome Ike Miller to the show. Ike, welcome!

Ike Miller 
Jason, thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and excited about our conversation.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I am, as well. And really, the topic that we’re going to spend time on is one that you know well, and it kind of is birthed in this new book that you’ve released entitled “Good Baggage.” And, I guess as we think about it, all of us carry some baggage into our ministry careers, right? Whether we’re just entering ministry or have been serving ministry for a long time, this baggage exists, it’s part of who we are. That baggage comes from our upbringing, our family origin. And it’s interesting that we all know that this baggage exists, and yet, Ike, we don’t spend a whole lot of time really exploring it, right? We think of ministerial preparation, right? Like Bible college, grad school, seminary, whatever it is, we don’t spend a lot of time talking really about our baggage. And so my first question, Ike, why do you think we don’t lean into this a little more, considering how much it shapes who we are? Right?

Ike Miller 
Yeah. I think a big part of that is we are no longer as integrally connected in the relationships that cause the baggage. And so I think we think, “Well, that relationship is distant from me now, so I’m also distant from the impact of that relationship.” And what we don’t understand about baggage is baggage is really coping mechanisms that we developed in an unhealthy relationship. Whether that was a child, dysfunctional family situation, or it was a bad relationship that we were in as an adult that we were impacted by, and we carry the impact of that into other relationships. But we think, “Well, the relationship’s over, so it doesn’t impact me anymore.” And that’s just not true.

Jason Daye 
Yeah. And specifically when we talk about ministry because ministry is so relational. We know that, right? Serving as a pastor as a ministry leader is very, very relational. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with that. And you would think, Ike, that here we are in 2023, you would think that we would recognize that. It’s a capital C church, we’d recognize that, and we would invest a little more time, energy into exploring those things that we’re carrying along in our lives. And yet, we don’t. What have you experienced or what have you seen maybe that has been more helpful specifically in this area, when it comes to us serving in ministry?

Ike Miller 
Yeah. Let me tell you a little bit of my story as a way of kind of getting into this. I told you before we jumped on that I originally envisioned this book being a book about leadership and how our difficult childhoods prepared us for healthy leadership. And where this came from — I mean, my childhood. I grew up in a context where my father had an alcohol use disorder that led to divorce for my parents. And I kind of thought by the time I’d reached my early 20s, mid 20s, I’d worked through all my stuff, I was good, I seem to have healthy relationships. But one of the things that really brought a lot of this to the surface was being a pastor in the pandemic. I mean, I know you’ve had conversations about this. Like we’ve all talked about what a nightmare of a season that was for ministry and how many pastors just left ministry during that time. And for me, during that season, I found myself — as for anybody that was making decisions for other people, whether that was about masks, or politics, or race, and all of those things — no matter what decision you made, somebody was going to be upset with you, right? Somebody is going to be disappointed, somebody might leave the church, like there was going to be repercussions. And finding myself in that situation over and over again, I personally reached a place of just exhaustion, just emotional exhaustion, and took some time off. And during that time, I started to dig into some of the impact of my childhood. And in particular, I started with this question of “Why am I having such a hard time with criticism, from criticism from people, criticism about my decisions? Why is it so hard for me when somebody disagrees with me? And one of the concepts that was big in this was this idea of codependency. I was reading more about codependency and one of the things that they said was, “When you are codependent, you try to use your words and actions to manage someone’s else’s emotions and reactions.” That should hit home with every one of us as pastors, right? That’s what so much of what we find ourselves doing is “How do I manage their emotions and reactions with my words and actions?” And in other words, what I discovered is I had taken the codependency of my relationship with my father where I was trying to manage his emotions and reactions all the time and I transferred it to my whole church. I had become codependent with my whole church and realized, “Oh, man, no wonder I’m exhausted. I’m trying to control everybody’s emotions and reactions.” Add on to that, I was reaching a point where I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. I had been dealing with depression in the past. All of these was kind of coming to the surface. And so I was on a medication for my anxiety that I take as needed. And as this progressed, I was taking more of that medication — not an excessive amount but more than I should have been and realized that I was developing a dependency on this. Not because it gave me pleasure but because it was an escape for pain. And the reason I go into all of that, to answer your questions is to say, I think for us as pastors, one of the things that undermines us is not so much our desire for pleasure from something in terms of moral failings, but our trying to escape pain as we fall into things that give us an escape. And that’s the part where this is so important for us to speak into and for us to address as pastors in our preparation because it will ultimately undermine our ministries in ways we don’t even know. We’re not even aware of that it’s a work against us.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good. Thank you for for sharing a bit of your story. And as you were talking about navigating the pandemic and in those types of things, all of us — I’m sure everyone watching along is nodding their head, right? Or listening along. We’re all like “Woah!” But one of the things that you made mention there that I think is so critical — and we are pastors, we deal with this all the time — it’s that, not every pastor is going to, like you said, seek the pleasure, is going to go off the rails in that direction. But oftentimes, we can be derailed by the enemy. Just trying to ease some of the pain, ease some of the stress and the conflict because, again, ministry we all know, this isn’t secret, it’s very relational. And so there’s all kinds of things happening. And we feel like, we have a burden as pastors and ministry leaders, because we’re talking about eternity. We care about people. That’s why God’s called us to this. And so, I think that distinction is so important because oftentimes we look at the challenges as being those. And we say, “Oh, I’m never going to cheat on my spouse, or I’ve never do any of these types of things.” But this the more subtle things that slowly derail us, that just we’re trying to cope with all the pressures, all the stresses. I think that’s excellent, Ike. As we look at this in terms of baggage, specifically things that we’ve brought in — you’re talking about that codependency piece — what are some other things that we’re carrying in that could be leading us astray, we don’t even know that we’re kind of derailing a bit?

Ike Miller 
Yeah. To tap on, so one of the things I talked about in the book is what I call the cycle of sabotage. And that begins with this codependency. And typically, when we think of codependency, we think of people pleasing, or approval seeking or just kind of keeping the peace. But what codependency is really is a trauma related loss of self. Meaning at some point, we went through something that required us to be someone other than ourselves in order to survive. And as a result of that, we don’t know who we are, we really don’t know who we are. And the reason this is so dangerous for us as pastors, is because we then end up finding our identity in who we are to other people and we find our value in who we are to other people. And so how I feel about myself is directly tied to how you feel about me as one of my parishioners, somebody in my church. So you start with codependency. The second step in this cycle is then approval seeking — “Well, if I am not able to affirm my own value, I’ve got to find that from others around me.” And so we fall into approval seeking which robs us of our ability to respect ourselves, to have boundaries for ourself. The third step then is deception. And deception becomes a tool for us to keep up appearances when we no longer are able to live up to the expectations that we think others have for us. And so how do I give the appearance, meeting those expectations, even when I’m not able to? And that becomes sort of a false form of relational protection because it both creates distance between me and you so that you don’t see who the real me is. But it also makes me just completely exhausted because I’m keeping up appearances and you don’t know who I am. And then finally, this leads to boundary issues. Ultimately, what really would protect us in our relationships is having some sense of boundaries around our time, around our relationships, around what we will and won’t accept from other people. But because of our codependency, we fail to be able to establish boundaries and the cycle repeats itself.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s fascinating, very, very helpful Ike. And the irony isn’t lost in that — specifically when you’re talking about that deception piece — that we are called to serve, called to minister, and have a desire, I think all of us, to be real, and to be authentic in a healthy relationship with the people God has entrusted to us. I mean, that’s our desire. But we find ourselves slipping into that deception mode because we’ve put this pressure on ourselves to live up to something instead of saying, “Hey, it’s okay. Pastors are people too and we can engage that and live that out.” How does that deception piece tie into some of the baggage that we’re carrying around from past relationships or from our family of origin? What’s that kind of connectivity there?

Ike Miller 
Yeah. So a big part of it is, when you have a clear sense of, this is what I think this person wants from me. And my sense of value is tied up in meeting those expectations. And I’m not able to do it. I will deceive you into believing I’m meeting those expectations rather than accept that I can’t meet your expectations. That’s too hard for me because my value is connected to how you feel about me. And so that connection is, even when we know that we can’t meet those expectations, I can’t step back and say, “I still have value because of being a child of God being created in God’s image. And so even if you disagree with me, even if you don’t like how I managed that, or led that, I can still be okay.” And when we are coming out of circumstances where people essentially communicated, if you don’t do things the way I want you to do them, then you are unacceptable to me, then we carry that into another relationship. And it’s like, “Well, your acceptance of me based on a false notion of who I am is better than your rejection of me.”

Jason Daye 
Now, Ike, when we talk about this idea of dysfunction, growing up in a dysfunctional family, or being in dysfunctional relationships. I guess the good news is, all of us come from some sort of dysfunction. And there are varying degrees and we understand that. But we all — this is something we all need to kind of pay attention to because we all are carrying baggage to some degree. As we look at the challenging baggage that we’re carrying, — and just kind of that you walked us through that cycle that we embrace, codependency all the way through — what are some things that we can do as pastors and ministry leaders to try to recognize those cycles better and then get ourselves out of them? Or some practical things that we can do?

Ike Miller 
So the biggest thing that I tell everyone — and this is, I think, a big part of your kind of your original question around “Why don’t we do more of this work in preparation for ministry?” The reason we don’t do it is because it means I have to push on some things that are painful. It means I have to step back from a situation. Say for example when somebody in my church and say, “Why is it so hard for me to get past this? Why is it so hard for me that they disagree with me? Why is it so hard that this person said to this person about me?” And we’ve got to be able to get underneath just the layer of because it puts me in a bad light, or because it makes me feel bad about myself. We’ve got to get to the layer of — well, it leads me to think that everybody thinks this about me. And if everybody thinks this about me, then everybody feels like I’m bad at my job. And if I’m bad at my job, then that means I’m bad as a human, right? And so what I talk about is, in the book, I’ve talked about the five whys, which I can go into — it’s a process of really getting to the root of something. And so this is a tool I gave in the book. And it started —this is kind of crazy — in a Toyota factory.

Jason Daye 

Ike Miller 
The idea was when they had an issue on their assembly line, they would always ask a series of whys. So they would go to the first guy, and to kind of run through this, let’s say he’s delayed in getting windshields on to the vehicles. They’ll go to him and say, “Hey, why are you delayed and getting the windshields from the vehicles?” And he would say, “Well, the guy who prepares the windshields for me is always delayed.” So they’ll go to him and say, “Hey, why are you delayed in getting them ready?” And he’s like, “Well, the guy delivering the windshields to the factory is delayed.” So they’ll go to the delivery company say, “Hey, why are you guys delayed in getting the windshields to us?” And they say, “Well, the the supplier is short on supplies.” And so they go to supplier and say, “Why are you short on supplies?” “Well, there’s a shortage in raw materials or the supplier of the raw materials is having trouble getting supplies?” In other words, by the time you ask that fourth or fifth why, you’ve answered your first question. And the answer then is, “Well, we need to find more suppliers or we get more raw materials.” But if you just keep treating the guy on the assembly line, saying “Why don’t you work faster?”, and firing him and replacing with someone else, you’re not dealing with the root issue. And I think when it comes to us in ministry, and dealing with the things that cause us the most problem, as long as we treat the symptoms, we’re never going to get to the root issue. And so that’s something I do a lot. So to give you an example, in my own story, one of the things that causes me a lot of anxiety as a pastor is when we bring someone new onto staff. And as I was realizing this one, I was like, “Why am I so anxious about this?” And I said, “Well, here comes somebody new to staff. Why does that cause me so much anxiety?” “Well, because I want them to have a good experience joining our staff.” “Well, why do I want them to have good experience joining our staff?” “Well, because when somebody new joins our staff, it always feels exposing because they are able to see the things that aren’t done well whereas the rest of us have kind of gotten used to how we do things, right?” “Well, why does that create so much anxiety?” “Well, because I want to be known as a good leader.” “Why do I want to be known as a good leader?” “Because I find my identity and my value in being a good leader. And if I’m not a good leader, my value is in something I’m not good at.” And so by the time you’ve gotten four or five layers down, you’ve named the root issue. And we’ve got to follow the pain. We’ve got to be willing to take that step and say, “Okay, this is painful.” “Why is it painful?” You know, Barna did this huge study about pastors kind of coming out of the pandemic. And there were all of these kinds of statistics around why pastors were leaving ministry. And it was kind of like things are stressful, the criticism, the political division. And I wanted to say, “But why is it stressful for you? Why is the political division so hard?” Because there’s something under that, that makes it hard for us to deal with. And I think we’ve got to get to that, or otherwise, regardless of where we go, there’s still going to be stressors, there’s still gonna be things that are hard for us. And we’ve got to be able to get underneath why it’s hard.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s super helpful exercise and it invites the introspection. Oftentimes, the ministry we’re going, going going and we’re thinking so much about others, that sometimes it’s a challenge for us just to pull back in to dive a little more deeply. And so, when you start asking those whys and whys and whys and whys, you’re just naturally digging a lot more deeply. So this is an awesome, awesome exercise, Ike. Thanks for sharing that. Now, the title of your book though is “Good Baggage”. So I want to make sure that we get time because one of the things I loved about your book is that you address the painful baggage, the reality of that baggage that exists. You talked through ways, just like you shared here, on how to process and think more deeply, more thoughtfully about those things. But you posit this idea of good baggage — which I absolutely, absolutely love — this idea that it’s not all doom and gloom. When you look at dysfunction, you’ve come through them, right? Like there are things within that, that you have learned that will help you as you seek to honor God with your life, as you seek to lead in ministry. So share with us a little bit the concept behind the good baggage and the kind of hopeful side of dysfunction, because we all need it. Right?

Ike Miller 
Yeah. So the key word in that subtitle is “prepared us for healthy relationships” versus “gives us good relationships”. Meaning, there’s some work that we have to do to move from preparation for those healthy relationships to realization of those healthy relationships. So when we talk about baggage, I mentioned earlier, what we’re referring to oftentimes are coping mechanisms that developed in an unhealthy relationship or an unhealthy dynamic. And those coping mechanisms, we have now in a sense, outgrown those. Meaning, they no longer serve the purpose for which they were originally created. And in fact, they now work against us in other relationships. So for example, growing up in a context with a alcoholic parent, one of the things that you do is you learn to read a room very well. You walk into a room and you are reading emotion, you’re reading body language, you’re trying to discern, “What’s the emotional climate of this room? Is it safe for me to be here? Do I need to find a way out?”, you kind of come in and you assess that. Now as an adult, you still do that in a lot of rooms that you walk into. You’re kind of reading facial expressions. You’re trying to assess, “Okay, how are people doing? How are people feeling?” And you have, sort of, this gift of this ability to read people. The way that it affects us negatively and the ways that it plays out negatively is, we might walk into a room as a pastor — this is especially true for me as a pastor — I walk into a room maybe on a Sunday morning, and I’ll see people maybe they got a downcast look on their face, or they look frustrated. And my instinct, because of my childhood is to assume I’m responsible for that, you’re upset because of something I’ve done. And so we assume we’re responsible for that. So that’s kind of how that infects us, or affects us in negative ways. However, the good baggage, the way that we leverage that for the good of our relationships now is say, “Okay, if I can pull back from assuming responsibility for every emotion in the room but still use that ability to read people’s emotions, that actually sets me up to have profound empathy for people in the room, people on my team, people in my church, such that I can walk into a staff meeting with my team, and we could jump straight into business. And then I realize, “Man, this person over here just looks like they’re having a tough day. It looks like they’re overwhelmed. They’re fearful about something.” Let’s pull back from a moment. “Hey, looks like you’re having a tough time. Can we talk about that? Is there something going on that would be helpful for us to talk through as a team?” And what that does is it communicates “Okay, first of all, as a staff member, you’re not just here to produce something for me. I care for you, I care about your soul.” But that also builds a level of trust to say, “I care about you. And I want to stop and let’s have a conversation.” And so those coping mechanisms, we can still use those. Now we’ve just got to learn how to remove the ways that work against us.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that and that’s just reminds us of that “God’s a God who redeems”. And I mean, he takes those things and he turns them if we allow him to do that in our lives, and through our lives. He takes those things and use them for His good and His glory. But it takes intentionality, right? That’s why I love the fact that you put pen to paper, that you wrote this book because it helps us kind of process through and think through, like, “Okay, there are redeemable things that came out of this dysfunctional relationship, dysfunctional family, whatever it is. There are things that God can use for His good and for His glory, if we’ll allow Him to do that.” But if we don’t stop to think through that, we are just going to think, “Oh man, bummer. I’ve got to carry this, I’m doing ministry in spite of this”, rather than that kind of redemptive quality, right?

Ike Miller 
Yeah, that’s one of the things I mentioned at one point in the book is just, at some point, me feeling this intense frustration towards my dad for the fact that now I have to do all this extra work on top of just the regular challenges of life in order to be quote, “normal”. And my hope with this book, and what I kind of go on to say is, I also realized in that moment, “But this also put some stuff in me that God can use for my healing and for the healing of others.” And so yeah, to that point, to be able to say, “Okay, God wasn’t the author of this pain. He didn’t want this to happen.” Some of what happens to us is other people sin against us but God wants to take that and use that in some way. And so how do I learn to take that and say, “God, what do you want to do with this? How do you want to take these broken pieces that I thought had lost all hope, all purpose, all meaning, and use them and infuse them with new hope and purpose?” And to be able to take these things, this pain, one of the things I say is, those things are not lost, worthless, and without purpose. It’s pain waiting on the promise of redemption.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that, man. I love that. That is so good. Ike, as we’re kind of winding down —it’s been an excellent conversation, so much to think through and process through — but as we’re winding down, I would love to give you an opportunity just to share some words of encouragement to brothers and sisters serving the church, serving in ministry. What words would you like to leave with them?

Ike Miller 
I think there’s a couple of words. I think that we as pastors need to begin to think counter intuitively a little bit about how we’re spending our time. I think we can get so caught up and myself included in the day to day demands of ministry and meeting people’s needs and caring for people and we don’t take that time to stop and do the interior work of “What’s going on in my soul? Why am I feeling so frustrated? Why am I feeling so angry? Why am I feeling so annoyed, so defeated, so discouraged?” And when we don’t stop to do that work, we can’t name where it came from. And so we just kind of jumble that all up and carry it with us everywhere we go. And then we dump a little bit on each person that we’re with because we’re not doing that work to kind of work through it. And so my encouragement for pastors is to begin to think counter intuitively. Meaning, yes, I may have to schedule a few less meetings this week, I may have to say no to some people that I don’t want to say no to. But the fact of the matter is, I’m going to be a better pastor, I’m going to be more present with my people. I’m going to be in a healthier place emotionally and spiritually to be the kind of pastor my people really need. And so just encouraging pastors out there to begin to think differently about their calendars and their own work of their emotional soul for the good of their people versus “Well, it’s either my soul or care for their soul.” Doesn’t have to be that way.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, love that. That’s a good word, brother. If people want to connect with you, your ministry, they’re in Durham, learn more about the book, what’s the best way they can do those things?

Ike Miller 
Yeah, the best way is my website or on social media @ikefmiller.

Jason Daye 
Excellent. That’s awesome brother. And for those of you watching along or listening in, we will have links to the book, links to Ike’s website and socials and all that fun stuff in the toolkit for this episode. And you can find that again at, along with a bunch of other great resources to help you dive more deeply into this awesome conversation. So, man, brother, I am so grateful that we were able to connect today and spend some time talking. Thank you for making time to be a part of FrontStage BackStage and to share your heart, your wisdom, how God’s speaking and guiding your life. And that’s just so important, so helpful. So thank you for being with us, brother.

Ike Miller 
Well, thank you so much for having me. I love this conversation. I love being able to speak to other pastors and just offer from my experience. I, like I said, a lot of this was started out in my desire to care for other pastors who grew up in dysfunctional families. And so it’s an honor to be able to speak directly to my brothers and sisters on this conversation.

Jason Daye 
I love it, brother, thank you so much. God bless you.

Ike Miller 
God bless you.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at That’s And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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