Years ago, prior to the launch of West, I had the opportunity to sit with the Bishop, the District Superintendent, the Director of Congregational Development, and a few other clergy folks. We were all around the table because we each brought different perspectives to the idea of “if/when” West should launch. There’d been a call to action for West to launch, but once the balls started rolling, there was a change of mind/desire. At this point, on paper, I did not have the right credentials to lead West as “the pastor” because I had not yet ordained an elder. I had to have a special appointment as a local pastor until I could finish the requirements for ordination as an elder, pass the boards, and get ordained.

It was a complicated and stressful time, not just for me but for the launch/leadership team as well. There were many different directives and very strained relationships between those who felt West’s leaving was our “deserting” the mother ship. It was not one of the “church’s” finest hours.

I’ll never forget sitting around that table with all those people and feeling intimidated beyond measure. Talk about having a dry mouth (as referenced in meditation a few weeks ago).

The bishop said, “It is the responsibility of the bishop’s office to state when a new church will be formed.”

Arguments continued.

The bishop said, “It is the role and authority of the bishop to say when a new church will be formed.”

Arguments continued.

The bishop finally said, “I am the bishop. I will say when a new church will be formed. West will be a new church, chartering January 6, 2012.”

A comment was made, “This is a huge mistake. It will fail.” But after that slight dig, there was no other conversation. We all knew who had the power in the room.

That’s what learning to manage our Chimp brain is like.

We have to recognize who/what has the power, then learn how to harness that power and manage it for the good of the situation we find ourselves in.

Remember,  our Chimp is the emotional part of our brain. The reactive part. Our “Human” is the rational, logical thinking part of our brain. Everything comes to the Chimp first and then gets filtered as it is passed on to the Human.

We must learn to recognize who is in charge in the moment.

Is it the Chimp or the Human?

The way to do that is to ask a simple question showing who is in charge.

“Do I want . . . “

“Do I want to feel this way?”

“Do I want to these thoughts?”

If the answer is “no,” then we are in Chimp mode. If the answer is “yes,” then we are in “Human” mode.

More on this tomorrow, but for today, what if we begin to recognize our thoughts/feelings by asking ourselves, “Do I want to think/feel this way?”

Isaiah 26:3. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”

Grace and Peace,



Steve Peters, “The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness” (London: Vermilion, 2012).