Pastor, How is Your Health?

Posted: May 5, 2017 in Excerpt from Newsletters
CHURCH HEALTH

I want to focus on the health of the Church in the coming months to help us develop strong and healthy churches. Healthy Churches make a Healthy Organization.

However, the vital key for having Healthy Church is having a “Healthy Pastor”.

Some years back we had Pastor John Iluiano from Australia who spoke to us about Discipleship and shared some insights in to Pastor’s health which I want to share with you this month.

PASTOR’S HEALTH

A pastor’s health is directly related to the health of the church. If the pastor is not healthy it will always affect the church’s functioning and if a pastor is not operating at optimum potential then the church will suffer.  

Some of the signs of an unhealthy pastor are:

1. Running on empty – not taking enough time to replenish the physical, spiritual and emotional tanks.   Constantly overworked and under-rested.

2. Isolated – spending too much time with people who are draining and not enough time with people who are enriching.

3. Caught in a rut and not able to get out of it – continually doing the same thing with limited results.

4. Resentful – not dealing with past hurts, allowing them to build up.

5. Discouraged – not seeing dreams fulfilled.

Signs of Healthy Pastor:

On the other hand, a healthy pastor will exhibit:

1. High levels of energy, enthusiasm, strength and vision.

2. In this environment, people are easily motivated to volunteer and follow the vision.

3. Things get done because the healthy pastor is leading the way.

In order to be healthy every pastor needs to consider these areas

A.  LEARN TO READ YOUR GAUGES

Bill Hybels speaks about reading the gauges that govern our lives can assess a pastor’s health. Just as a car or a motorbike has gauges that monitor the various levels of fuel, temperature, oil pressure, water temperature, speed, etc, so too do we.

Hybels suggests the importance of reading at least three gauges. These gauges need to be read in such a way that declares whether they are full and healthy, low and needing a top up, or empty and drastic action needs to be taken for repairs.

 It is critical that we are not running on empty as serious long-term complications can occur.

Hybel’s three gauges include:

1. The Physical Gauge.

 This is an assessment of our physical body. It relates to our fitness, our weight, our eating habits, our sleeping habits, general well-being, our demeanor and the overall way we present ourselves. Every pastor needs to take a weekly day off and have regular annual leave.

2. The Spiritual Gauge.

 This is an assessment of how well we are doing spiritually. It relates to the spiritual disciplines of our devotional life, our prayer life, our faith life, our praise and worship, our walking in the Spirit and overcoming the works of the flesh. Every pastor should take time off and leave in order to refresh his/her spirit, gain vision and spiritual strength to take the church forward.

3. The Emotional Gauge.

This is an assessment of how well we are emotionally. It relates to our reserves of emotional energy in giving out to people and how well we bounce back after emotionally depleting situations. (in ministry there are many situations like that)

  • Are we keeping a sweet and positive spirit about the ministry? 
  • Are we getting angry quickly? Are we avoiding phone calls and people?
  • Are we isolating ourselves?

Find a sport, a hobby, something you enjoy doing that replenishes your emotional tank. The emotional tank, once empty, takes a long time to fill. My emotional tank gets full when I spent time with my grandchildren!

The big question to ask is: What do you do that REPLENISHES you?

Most Pastors have moral failure, internet porn and illicit relationships primarily due to lack of ‘emotional’ replenishing.

B. INVEST INTO RELATIONSHIPS
1. Relationship with Family.

The most critical relationship a pastor has is the relationship with his/her family. Invest into your spouse (if you are married) and invest into your children (if you have any). Without intentional investment into these relationships it is easy for the pressures of ministry to place enormous stress on family relationships. Every married couple needs to have regular nights alone and every family needs to have regular family nights.

2. Relationships with Others.

        Every pastor, in order to remain healthy, needs three levels of relationships.

a. People into whom we invest. This include your congregational members and everyone to whom you minister.

b. People who are our peers. We all need friends with whom we do the journey of life, especially friends who can relate to the challenges we face because they face the same challenges.

c. People to whom we make ourselves accountable.

We need someone in our lives with whom we can be totally honest and transparent. That someone needs to have enough wisdom and experience to help us on our journey. It’s a good thing to have a mentor or a father/mother in the faith who guide us around the pitfalls of ministry and help us navigate life.

One of the greatest dangers a pastor faces is to become isolated from accountability and transparency. The Bible tells us that this type of person “rages against all wise judgment.”  (Prov. 18:1) This type of person becomes an easy target for the enemy to pick off.

C. HAVE A PLAN FOR SELF IMPROVEMENT AND GROWTH

No pastor can afford to remain stagnant in this area. We must endeavour always seeking to learn and improve our skills.  Here are six suggestions that will help us to grow

a. Professional Development. Develop skills like computer, IT, writing, social media, or other skills.

b. Read books, journals, articles, papers, etc.

c. Attend conferences.

d. Listen to CDs, MP3s, podcasts, etc

e. Enroll into a degree or recognised course. Enroll for Bth, or Global University course.

f. Interview other ministers, especially those who are doing something a little different with some measure of success.

D. UNDERSTAND HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives:

a. Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances.

b. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions.

c. Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others.

d. Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator. Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations.

E. CLARIFY THE WIN

Very often pastors set their goals so high they struggle to reach them. The problem with this is that wins are infrequent and celebrations even less so. Without a win and a subsequent celebration, the pastor is subjected to a life of constant toiling.

1. Define what a win looks like in your setting.

In church settings we are called to care for people and see them fulfill their God-given destiny. Consequently if people are being cared for in our church, that is a win. If people are coming to Christ, that is a win. If people follow Christ through water baptism, that is a win. If families bring their children to church to be dedicated, that is a win. As you can see, there are many wins if we take time to clarify them.

2. Celebrate accomplishments.

Every win is an opportunity for celebration. Make sure there are many celebrations in the life of your church. What you celebrate you validate.

3. Set yourself up for success.

Set yourself up for success and also the people around you. Make sure that there are lots of wins on the journey. A journey without wins is an uphill climb that has the potential of breaking our spirit. There is a simple remedy to build encouragement and overcome discouragement. Clarify the win.

Pastor, How is Your Health?

Honestly evaluate your health again by reading this note again.

Once you determine your personal health, then you can start working on your Church Health.

Blessing

Pastor Michael & Debi.

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