Several months ago, I started banging an idea around in my head. If pastors were truly healthy, how would it impact churches? The conclusion that I came to was that, if our pastors are healthy, our churches will be healthy. What does that look like?
1. The church with a Healthy Pastor has a more energized pastor.
Pastors that have made physical and emotional health a priority bring a greater level of energy to everything that they do. They can preach longer (some will say that might not really be a blessing). They can serve longer. They can do more because their bodies are not giving up on them. How many pastors have trouble standing for the length of their sermon? How many are so tired from preaching a hard message that they are unable to accomplish anything else? The desire may be there, but if a pastor isn’t caring for his physical body by eating right, getting enough rest and exercising, he will not be able to accomplish all that God has for him to do. Our bodies are machines—wonderfully designed, biological machines, but still machines. We know that if we don’t properly care for our cars, they will break down and fall apart. Somehow, we don’t think the same is true for our bodies. We try to get optimal performance without optimal care. How much energy does your pastor have?
2. The church with a Healthy Pastor has a better example.
The Bible tells us over and over again to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us. A pastor that is physically healthy provides his people a great example. The apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth to “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1…NIV). While not a clear mandate for pastors, it is a principle that as a pastor/Christian leader I need to follow. Pastors must follow Jesus because there are others following them. When a pastor makes being a good steward of their bodies a priority, it tells his people that this is important. It isn’t just about the things that we must abstain from. It is also about the things that we must do to remain healthy. By his actions, what does your pastor tell you to do in regards to stewardship of your body.
3. The church with a Healthy Pastor has a potential long-term pastor.
A healthy pastor brings with them a potential for long-term ministry. His mind and body can keep up with the continuing demands of ministry. Now, God may have your healthy pastor move on, but without a focus on health, your pastor won’t have the potential to continually bring a high-level ministry effort. Burn-out will settle in earlier on. Long-term ministry can be a powerful thing for a church. Can your pastor go for the long-haul? Having run multiple marathons and half-marathons, I know what it takes to continue going even when you want to quit. Without the benefits of physical health, giving up is much easier. Is your church know for long-term ministry? If not, perhaps you need to help your pastor finds ways to live a healthier life.
4. The church with a Healthy Pastor has a more patient pastor.
I don’t know about you, but growing up I knew there were times to not ask my dad things. Usually, it was when he was physically and emotionally beat. He worked hard and was tired. His patience would usually run out pretty quickly. As a pastor, patience is a powerful commodity. Pastors and staff can have the privilege of working with some challenging individuals. Without physical and emotional health, the needed patience can disappear. A lack of patience on the part of your pastor may be an indicator that he isn’t getting enough rest or he isn’t taking time for himself to exercise. How patient is your pastor?
Physical and emotional health on the part of your pastor can powerfully impact your church. I can imagine that there are some that have been reading this and checking down the list all the ways that your pastor hasn’t been living in a healthy manner. Let me encourage you to fight the urge to criticize and look for ways that you can help your pastor move beyond where they are now to a healthy and more impactful life.
This article was originally published at Balanced Life Concepts.