In the first two parts of this three-part series, we’ve discussed the four-letter word church leaders should never hesitate to use and the top three excuses we make as church leaders so we don’t have to say that word.
And because I’ve been in church as long as you likely have, I have three more points for this post—a roadmap to change, if you will.
Seeking to be a healthy church leader goes beyond just your physical health. When I talk about health, I include relational, emotional, and spiritual health too. As ministry leaders, we need to ensure that these four quadrants of our lives aren’t neglected (even though it’s often very challenging to keep all four in balance).
The roadmap is simple, but as one who’s traveled it—and will likely have to travel it again—I know that following it can be difficult.
1. Ask for help.
Say that small four-letter word that can do so much for your life, your family, your staff, your ministry, and your friendships.
I don’t know why church leaders seem especially prone to not ask for help, but we need to be better about modeling humility in the face of our humanity. Without a doubt, your calling is an immense task, but didn’t Jesus say that his yoke was easy and his burden was light?
Yet you’re not going to feel an easy and light burden while in ministry if you don’t learn how to cast your cares on him and let others you trust know how you’re really doing.
2. Be open to brutal feedback.
Who in their right mind really wants to hear brutal, honest feedback?
Asking for help could mean hearing things you don’t want to hear. But if you’ve become numb to how your lack of health is actually affecting your relationships and your leadership, you need to hear those hard things.
That’s why it’s so important to ask for help from a trusted friend or counselor. You need someone who doesn’t always agree with you because you’re their pastor. You need someone who’s confident enough in their friendship with you that they’re willing and able to speak the truth in love.
3. Be willing to change.
This could be the hardest step.
Sometimes we become unhealthy because we’ve fallen into a comfortable rut. If nothing appears broken in your marriage or in your church, settling for the status quo is much easier than hearing brutal truths about ourselves and seeking to change ourselves for the better. In other words, standing still doesn’t require much of us, but that also means we’ll never move forward with our lives and ministries.
We must be willing to change—to seek physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health—for our own good, the good of the churches we serve, and the glory of God.
Ask for help. Be open to brutal feedback. Be willing to change.
The roadmap is simple, but the journey is hard. May God and your fellow church leaders help you on the way.