Jump directly to the Content

Sacrificing the Body

Too many pastors are neglecting their physical health—and it's killing them.
Sacrificing the Body

For years, dinners consisting of granola bars or peanut butter crackers on the run were good enough for Pastor Ross Varney.

He'd munch them as he sped off to one evening meeting or another. He saw it as putting the church's needs ahead of his own. The habit seemed harmless until he couldn't sleep at night, couldn't concentrate by day, and felt just plain lousy much of the time. Acid reflux exacerbated by late-night ice cream binges to, as Varney put it, "soothe the day" was keeping him awake and wreaking havoc on his ministry.

"I always feel a bit guilty in self-care pursuits, be it rest or exercise or time with food," said Varney, pastor of Belleville Congregational Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts. "My calling as a solo pastor is to maximize my time caring for and serving the people. It's a mindset I have, which I know is extreme. With any extra time or energy I have, I should be out serving somebody."

Varney's situation ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
‘Be Clean’: Jesus and the World of Ritual Impurity
‘Be Clean’: Jesus and the World of Ritual Impurity
These biblical commands rightly remind us about the significance of our bodies.
Editor's Pick
Your Presence Is a Living Sermon
Your Presence Is a Living Sermon
Showing up makes God’s love tangible when people need it most.
close