4 Simple Ways To Be A Healthier Church Leader
By: Holly Tate December 19, 2016
Being a church leader can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually taxing. Caring for yourself, your family, and your team is vital to help ensure a healthy lifetime of ministry for you and your church.
Here are four things I think every Pastor should do to be a healthy leader. Even if you're a new Pastor or aspiring church leader, it's never too early to establish these habits.
1. Get a coach or mentor.
Did you know decision fatigue is a thing? According to the New York Times, it’s a pretty serious thing, in fact. In a leadership position, you’re likely making a lot of decisions. I think that decision fatigue is one of the many overlooked aspects that can lead to leadership burnout, especially in young leaders.
When we face problems we’ve never seen before, it can feel daunting to know which direction to choose, especially when a whole organization is watching you carefully. Having a coach or a mentor that you meet with on a regular basis can help you process big decisions and help guide your thought processes. The phrase, “It’s lonely at the top,” rings true in ministry, too. Find a coach that can help guide you through big decisions before you become too overwhelmed and make mistakes in the process.
2. Join a peer group network.
Similar to the point above, I also recommend joining a peer-coaching network where you can learn from other church leaders facing similar challenges to you. Topics like team building, capital campaigns, multi-site planning, and staff meetings are often challenges for pastors. Being a part of a network group of church leaders who are also in the trenches can help you face new challenges more effectively, as you walk through them with a group that is cheering you on and has faced similar issues.
Consider joining our Executive Pastor Coaching Network or Lead Pastor Coaching Network. It includes two, three-day sessions of roundtable discussion-based coaching with Tim Stevens, William Vanderbloemen, other guest facilitators who are on the frontlines of ministry. Leadership Network and The Unstuck Group also have several peer network groups that vary by topic, depending on your needs.
3. Plan regular dates with your spouse.
I’ve personally seen many marriages struggle when one or both of them have a leadership position. This can be especially true when a couple moves to a new location because a spouse took a new job. The spouse who got the new job often feels rejuvenated because they’re full of energy from their new role, but the spouse feels lonely at home, managing the household, or searching for a new job himself or herself.
No matter what, your marriage is likely going to be challenged at some point, especially during periods of transition. Be intentional about putting regular dates on the calendar for date nights where you can spend quality time together. You might even want to make a boundary where you can’t talk about work for a few hours and challenge yourselves to focus on each other.
4. Consider family counseling.
To build on the point above, I love seeing couples be proactive about the emotional health of the family by attending family counseling together. Whether you go once a month or once a quarter together, it’s a wonderful way to make sure you’re putting your marriage and kids first. I've seen too many church leaders’ families suffer because they didn’t seek counseling soon enough.
These are just four things that pastors and church leaders can incorporate into their schedules to help keep their focus on Christ, their families, and the long-term health of the church.
What do you do to stay healthy as a leader?