5 Reasons Pastors Should Pursue Physical Fitness
One of the core values at Vanderbloemen Search Group is Stewardship of Life. This is the idea that our staff maintains personal and company financial, spiritual, physical, and vocational boundaries.
Stewardship of Life plays a large role in our culture. We value boundaries that keep us from getting burned out, we celebrate time out of the office, and we encourage physical health as much as we can. For example, each month we reward the person who worked out the most with a small gift and a giant trophy. Every year we have a fitness competition involving the whole company with workout and food challenges.
In the throes of caring for so many people, managing many responsibilities of a growing organization, and trying to maintain sanity, it’s easy for church leaders to let physical fitness drop to the bottom of the priority list (if not off it completely). However, it is a vital aspect to the development of you and your staff team. Here are 4 reasons church leaders should pursue physical fitness.
1. We’re called to steward our bodies
Scripture calls us on multiple occasions to care for our body, which Paul calls the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Similarly, Jesus alludes to the fact that we have a responsibility to make the best use of what has been entrusted to us with the parable of the tenants (Mark 12). Paul also says that while physical training isn’t the most important thing, it is of value.
While none of these are explicit calls for us to join a gym or start a protein regimen, we are called to care for our bodies in an intentional way. For some, this might mean hitting the gym a few times a week. For others, it might mean taking daily walks. Even just moderate activity for 30 minutes a day can go a long way in improving your overall health and well-being. Either way, it is clear that the Christian faith not only calls us to believe, but also to live with care for ourselves.
2. You will set an example for your congregation
The Apostle Paul calls his disciples to follow him as he followed Christ. This is a bold claim that shows us that as leaders in the church, we ought to set an example for people to follow.
3. You’ll have a better ministry, longer
As I've started being physically active on a regular basis, I have found that many of the claims on it’s positive effects are true. I feel better overall, I have more energy, and I genuinely feel less stressed. By pursuing a healthier lifestyle, church leaders will have more energy to give to their ministries, families, and personal time. They’re less likely to get sick and will carry less stress, which is incredibly beneficial in a career that is centered on carrying the burdens of others.
4. It will provide routine in an often-chaotic schedule
As we all know, there are always more things to be done in ministry: more meetings, more programs, more messages, more ceremonies, more events – all vying for time on your calendar. I often found myself in ministry being pushed and pulled by whatever seemed to be the most pressing issue each day, juggling things to get everything done.
When I started working out on a regular basis in the mornings, I found that it slowed me down coming into the office. Instead of waking up, rushing to get ready, and then jumping right into things, working out each morning forced me to be more thoughtful about my mornings which meant that I was more prepared for the day ahead.
5. It’s a great way to rest
I once heard it said that people who work with their minds should Sabbath with their hands, while those who work with their hands should Sabbath with their minds. I have found this to be incredibly true in my own journey. In my adult life, I have pretty much always worked with my mind in one capacity or another, usually sitting at a desk or a table meeting with others. I used to try and go home and do a lot of reading because that was restful to a lot of people around me. However, I found pretty soon that I was always mentally worn out.
I then started “resting with my hands,” in a number of ways including working out. It doesn’t require me to be completely mentally engaged. Rather, I simply need to focus on finishing the next rep, the next set, the next mile. Because of this my mind is free to wander as it will, with no expectations of producing a particular result. While I’m pushing my body, my mind is given a break during my waking hours. This can be a much-needed break for church leaders who work primarily in a mental / emotional space.
How do you use your personal time to rest and recharge?