The Healthy Pastor Challenge

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The Healthy Pastor Challenge

Written By Steve Lennertz

The Healthy Pastor Challenge

Pastors do what they do for the love of God and the love of those they shepherd. The pastor’s role is a calling by God. Across our California State Convention, these unsung heroes are the first responders, counselors, preachers, teachers, administrators, and conflict resolution mediators working long hours and functioning in multiple facets of ministry because of their calling. Our bi-vocational pastors are balancing the work of ministry and their other vocations. Indeed, it is not a calling for the faint of heart.

Pastors have incredible opportunities to influence their people and the city God has planted them in. Overwhelming numbers of people look to their pastor each week to feed and care for them. The challenge of producing effective spiritual growth within already established community structures and the necessity of evangelizing the city is an ever-present and sometimes daunting endeavor. It’s a great responsibility. Yet, a recurring theme is ever-present while navigating, strategizing, and setting goals for growth. It’s what I call “Energy Vampires.” While these are not necessarily people (though they can be), Energy Vampires are distractions, issues, conflicts, needed maintenance, and the like. Busyness becomes the norm while productivity dissipates. “Busy” becomes the unwanted mantra, and while the pastor is taking care of “being busy,” he unfortunately fails to take care of himself.

A pastor has a sedentary job. There’s not much physical activity involved. The lack of physical activity coupled with the expectations of the position and the regular high-stress environment is a recipe for demise. Most pastors understand the necessity of personal devotions in God’s Word apart from sermon preparation and a healthy prayer life. They know the obligation they have for evangelism and discipleship. Pastors recognize the need to continually grow their churches to remain healthy, but unfortunately, their personal health takes a back seat. They desire to be healthy but are not devoted to becoming healthy.

There is a difference between desire and devotion. Pastors are devoted to Christ and acclimate to God’s ways by studying His Word. Desire is thinking about it; devotion is doing it, preparing a message for the congregation, expositing the Scriptures, and rightly dividing the truth (2 Tim. 15). Desiring to do what is right and good is just the beginning. Devotion leads to disciplines to see it to fruition.

Pastor, with so many depending on you, your family, the church, and your community, ask yourself, “Is the way I’m doing life and ministry sustainable?” If you desire longevity in ministry and life, you increase the probability of doing so by healthy living. Proper stewardship in this area will increase your effectiveness, display a good testimony, and demonstrate that your life is not out of control. 

The benefits of healthy eating and exercise are excellent. Here are just a few:

  • You feel better.
  • Numerous health benefits.
  • The potential of not depending on so many medications.
  • Good testimony.
  • Influences others to get healthy.
  • Relieves stress.
  • You become a disciplined person.

Start today by eating healthy and in moderation. Begin a workout regimen of at least four days a week. Morning or night, it doesn’t matter; just do it. Do what works for you, but make it a priority! Once you start a healthy eating routine and exercise, you will discover a heightened ability to make better decisions as you navigate daily ministry and stick to the essential goals and tasks. 

Pastor, what you do in Gospel ministry is the most crucial vocation on the planet. The devil doesn’t want you to succeed! Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). 

Stay strong, focused, and healthy. Bring as many people to heaven with you as you possibly can!

About the Author

Steve Lennertz
Lead Pastor, Eagle Ridge Church

Steve Lennertz is the founder and lead pastor of Eagle Ridge Church, established in 1994 in Menifee, California. Steve and his wife Kathryn are native Californians. They have three adult children and are especially blessed with nine grandchildren.

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