Church Leadership
11 Ways to Protect Your Spirit from the Demands of Pastoral Ministry
Pastoral ministry can be hazardous to our spiritual health. But it doesn’t need to be.

We need people who feel more comfortable hugging us than shaking our hand, and who would never dream of calling us ‘pastor’ because they know us too well for that.

6. Take Regular Days Off

It’s called Sabbath. And it’s not a suggestion. It’s in God’s Top Ten List.

Check out my post, Pastor, What Do You Do for Fun? for more about this.

7. Find an Enjoyable, Physically Engaging Hobby

On our Sabbaths, we need to do some physical activities. Play a sport, get into gardening, go hiking. Whatever works for you.

One of the great ways we honor God is by treating our bodies like the temples that they are.

Most pastors take better care of our church buildings than our own bodies, even though our theology tells us that our bodies are where the Holy Spirit lives. One of the great ways we honor God is by treating our bodies like the temples that they are.

In addition to physical health, engaging in physical activities allows us to get outside our own heads. Something wonderful happens when we get so involved in a physical endeavor that we stop thinking for a while. Then, when we get back to thinking again, we think more clearly.

8. Understand Your Life Rhythms

Everyone has times of the day, week, month and year when we function best. And others when we don't do well at all. We also have times when we're more creative. Or more distracted.

As we mature, we need to understand how our bodies and minds function. A lot of burnout happens because we’re working when we should be resting, organizing when we should be creating, meeting with others when we should be quiet and alone, and so on.

Are you introverted or extroverted? Cooperative or competitive? Creative or administrative? If you don’t know, find out. We need to pay attention to the way God created us and utilize those rhythms of life for their greatest effectiveness.

9. Sleep More

According to most recent studies, highly-driven people aren’t getting nearly as much sleep as we need. Pastors are no exception to this.

10. Laugh More

Joy is under-rated in the lives of most pastors.

11. Listen More

It’s too easy, especially after we’ve spent several years in pastoral ministry, to stay in the mode of teacher and forget how to be a student.

There’s always more to learn. From books and blogs, from spiritual mentors, from our friends and more.

Learning new things – especially from new and unexpected sources – is one of the greatest ways to stay fresh. In heart, mind and spirit.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

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