Steps to Building Resilience
A pastor must focus on building excellent health and wellness practices into their daily routine. Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to train for it with this in mind. The goal is healthy longevity which can only be achieved through practicing good physical, spiritual, and mental hygiene. Let’s look at some basic practices.
1. Build Personal Worship
Your personal worship is the first thing to go as your focus gets consumed with the problems and task at hand. Your mind becomes consumed with what the people think, and will the church survive instead of what God thinks and how big He is. It is a tragic thing when we feel obligated to lead God’s people in worship and we forget about why we’re supposed to be worshipping. Genuine worship is an affair of the heart, so we have to constantly perform heart checks. When Sunday mornings stop becoming enjoyable and when we fail to sing our hearts out to the One who is building everything around us, it’s time to make some adjustments. If you do not learn how to sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him speak to you and help you deal with everything, you will not make it.
2. Build Dynamic Prayer
Prayer is talking to and having an intimate and personal conversation with our sovereign God. He does not need fancy words, and He does not require a creative way to speak. He just wants your heart and the intimacy that comes with it. I joke that pastors are paid to pray. This mentality is a trap. When we pray, people expect profound and inspiring words. How many of you have been in a room filled with people, and when it’s time to pray all eyes turn to you because you’re the pastor? We are expected to pray as part of our job description. It’s no wonder we easily get focused on the ritual and formality of praying, forgetting that prayer is a part of our personal worship. You must remember that prayer must be a big part of what you do. We must keep our prayer life fresh and dynamic if we are going to sustain it. We must bring everything to God through prayer.
3. Build Transformational Bible Reading
We find everything we need to know about life in the Word of God. Your devotional life should involve reading the cherished Scriptures and praying through them. This must become your greatest priority. If you miss a day of reading the Bible, you know it. If you miss a second day of reading the Bible, those closest to you will know it. If you miss a third day of reading the Bible, everyone will know it. Your example is essential for those that you are leading. The spiritual food that God’s Word provides nourishes your spiritual life so you can continue in the journey and be a good example for those that you lead. The health of your heart is dependent on the Scriptures that soothe and save your soul.
4. Build Authentic Relationships
Pastors and church leaders need to have authentic relationships in their lives outside of their ministry. Do you have people in your life that you trust that you can go to when you need help? If not, you need to start praying and asking God to guide and direct you to those individuals that will build you up and speak the truth into your life. You are going to need to talk to someone at some point in your ministry. These people kept us on track, kept us from quitting, and helped provide sanity in the middle of chaos. It helped just to know that we were not alone in our struggles and feelings. Others had gone through similar situations and circumstances, and their wisdom and guidance were crucial to our church’s success and transformation. We would not have seen the turnaround we have experienced had it not been for the trusted men and women who came alongside us in the process. We consider these individuals some of our closest friends and trusted confidants, and we will be eternally grateful for their help in getting us to where we are now.
5. Build a Sabbath Rest
Taking a sabbath is a spiritual practice and discipline that pastors are not very good at. At the beginning of my ministry, my enthusiasm to build God’s kingdom drove me to work very hard, neglecting to take a Sabbath and giving my mind and body a rest. I was able to sustain this rigorous schedule when I was younger; however, as I got older, the constant stressors of ministry and demanding schedule took their toll. I had to come to grips with my physical and mental limitations and had to return to a biblical mindset of sabbath rest. You must schedule one day a week into your calendar to rest and recuperate, do something that you enjoy that has nothing to do with ministry, and spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. He wants you to enjoy your life, not just endure it. Schedule your sabbath rest today. You will be a much better pastor for it.
Building resilience over time keeps you from quitting, keeps your focus in the right place, and provides joy in the journey. Know your limitations and start putting healthy practices into action to build resilience.
Learn more about these great steps in the book Carry On
Photo by: Photo by Razvan Cristea on Unsplash