If the leader becomes unhealthy, eventually the organization will become unhealthy.
It has been a strange 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every nation, race, social class and ethnic group. The stress and weight of uncertainty has been and is being felt by everyone. Churches, just like businesses, quickly found themselves in uncharted waters. The overall objective of the church has always been to gather people, equip people and send people. In a very short amount of time, our normal way of doing church was no longer an alternative.
When gathering became a restriction, pastors were forced to formulate a plan B. A lot of churches were accidentally ready for the pandemic. Even though they had no way of knowing what was coming, they already understood the value of establishing an online presence. However, most churches did not have the equipment, resources or the know how to move to a virtual experience. On top of that, many churches did not offer online giving.
My hope is that this adversity has brought a new clarity to church leaders. I hope they have accepted the fact that reaching this generation (and the next) will always require embracing and leading change.
While the Church is always changing (probably now more than ever), there are principles around the Church that never change, starting with the health and vitality of the lead pastor. If the leader becomes unhealthy, eventually the organization will become unhealthy. There are countless books and articles on how pastors can stay healthy, but I wanted to share two areas that every pastor must guard and embrace—
Be Spiritually Well
Since pastors teach, pray and read the Bible every week to their congregations, most people assume pastors are always spiritually well. Sadly, that is not true.
It’s not uncommon for pastors to become spiritually impoverished. They feed everyone but themselves. It’s like starving to death in a grocery store. In times like this, you definitely need strength to lead well. Here are some ways you can enhance your spiritual health—
Read the Bible for You
Block out 15 minutes a day to read God’s word for yourself (not for sermon content). What is He saying to you, about you? Hebrews 4:12What is God saying to you about you? Click To Tweet
Make Personal Prayer time Personal
Spend time in prayer and worship that’s just between you and God. Your prayer life must be deeper than what happens on Sunday or during the week at staff meetings. Romans 12:12Your prayer life must be deeper than what happens on Sunday or during the week at staff meetings. Click To Tweet
Make “Stay at Home” a time of Learning
Instead of being glued to news stations day and night, listen to podcasts or audio books that will promote your spiritual well-being. Philippians 4:9
Be Emotionally Well
Most people will never know the emotional toll that comes from leading a church (especially in this climate). Most pastors are gifted enough to pull off Sunday, even when they are struggling within.
Ignoring emotional health is like setting the clock on a time bomb. Eventually, it’s going to explode. Here are three simple things you can do to promote your emotional well-being—
Get Out and Exercise
Create a calendar for the entire family to take a walk or bike ride throughout the week. Regular exercise reduces the body’s level of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. It also releases endorphins from the brain that elevates mood and behavior in a positive way. 1 John 1:2
Find Truth Tellers
Emotional health requires truth telling. Find the right person who will honestly tell you how you’re doing even if it’s on a video call. Don’t be defensive when they tell you something you don’t want to hear. Their perspective will be both different and helpful. Leaders need godly friends who will listen, mentor and speak truth. Proverbs 13:20Leader, you need godly friends who will listen, mentor and speak truth. Click To Tweet
When leaders stop having fun, they stop being fun. Having fun enhances creativity and imagination and can impact our job performance. You should enjoy life at home and at church. God designed it that way. Proverbs 15:13
Regardless of what our world looks like today, you are here on purpose, for such a time as this. Guard and care for your spiritual and emotional health because your success (in every area of life) is dependent upon it.
My friend, Lance Witt, as written a few articles recently that I think would be helpful to read. Check them out here—