Published Jul 19, 2022
There are so many important books for pastors to have in their libraries, but I want to challenge you to consider a category that is too easily overlooked: soul care. A Lifeway Research survey released last October found that half of all pastors say the demands of their job are often greater than they can handle. Pastors must take proactive steps to care for themselves.
A few years back I picked up Lance Witt’s book, Replenish. It takes the challenges pastors face head on and directs them toward healthier practices. Many pastors, Witt says, appear finely tuned and polished. But too often, a hollowed-out life lies hidden beneath the surface.
“…Many of us in leadership feel like we have a hole in our soul,” Witt writes. “Ministry drains us, sucks the life out of us, and the result is we are running on empty.” Does that hit home? To be replenished we must remind ourselves that Jesus is our life. Not your vocation—Christ alone. Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Too often we try to find life outside of Christ, and that leads us to disappointment and weakness. Replenish points out the several traps associated with pastoring that often create this soul-depleting mess. Soul restoration comes when we remain in Christ (John 15:5). He is the vine, we are the branches. Once there, Witt suggests practices that will keep us rooted in Him.
Ultimately, we must depend on Jesus. God created us to be dependent on Him. If we aim that dependance toward something or someone else, the result is disaster. Once these healthier practices are in place, incorporate them into your systems and routines so you can sustain a life that nourishes your soul instead of depleting it.