We are amazing creations of God, creations that cannot be separated into neat little compartments. When one part of us suffers, we suffer in every area. In particular, when we don’t feel well physically, we get dragged down mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We find our energy level decreasing simply because our bodies can’t keep up the frantic pace of ministry. When we don’t feel well, we can’t handle stress well. And our whole ministry suffers as a result:
- We lose energy and passion for ministry — and life. It isn’t just the fact that we lose the energy we need to accomplish ministry tasks. We lose the energy to do many of the things we love to do. It will affect our pastoral work, of course. But the lack of energy will also show up when we spend time with our families. We will probably end up feeling like we are cheating our kids and spouses out of the best part of ourselves.
- We lose the vision of what God has called us to do. When we don’t feel our best, our thinking gets muddled. We don’t see as clearly either. We particularly lose sight of the great vision we once had for what God has called us to do. We pastors must maintain a clear vision of what God has called us to. If we lose that vision, we risk losing a key piece of God’s call for our ministry. To keep that clear vision, we need sound thinking — and that means we need a healthy body.
- We become a bad example of what God expects from His servants. God does not want His servants run into the ground by the stress of ministry. When we refuse to take the time needed to take care of ourselves physically, we in essence tell our congregations, “God is going to use you until you’re used up, then He’s done with you.” Of course, we don’t want our congregations to have that view of God. When we take care of ourselves, we show that God loves and cares for every part of us.
These are just a few of the effects of neglecting yourself physically. But these should be enough to motivate you to make some changes.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 87-90 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
Your partner in ministry,
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