Three Ideas To Keep Your Spiritual Vitality
Being a pastor is difficult. Often the position of pastor is not paid well, undertrained, and over stressed. It’s no wonder that 80% of pastors believe their pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families and 33% said it was an outright hazard. 75% of pastors report being “extremely stressed” or “highly stressed.” 80% of pastors will not be in ministry ten years from now. The percentage of pastors that retire as full time pastors is incredibly low.
That stats are staggering and well documented. You add to this the spiritual aspect of leading a church. There is a spiritual enemy that wants nothing more than to destroy the leadership of Jesus’ bride. You cannot have healthy church members when the pastors are unhealthy.
As a pastor all of this may not come as a shock to you. What’s interesting is 72% of all pastors only read the Bible while preparing for a sermon. For most pastors sermon prep takes somewhere between 10 to 20% of their time. That means that there is very little time spent in the Scriptures.
This post isn’t meant to beat you up. At ChurchBOOM we get that leading a church is difficult. At the same time the difficulties of church leadership are not an excuse to slack on our own spiritual disciplines. We cannot expect the people we are leading to go where we are not willing to go ourselves. So what can we do? That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked.
3 Ways To Prioritize Spiritual Disciplines
- Prioritize time in Scripture first thing in the morning. I know not everyone reading this is a morning person, but let’s be honest throughout the day there are always distractions. It’s the same with exercise. If I do not exercise first thing in the morning the chances that I have the energy to do it at the end of the day are drastically reduced. Just make it a habit that first thing in the morning you read the Bible. With the app YouVersion it’s easier than ever. You can pick a plan, or simply read through a book of the Bible. If you check your phone first thing when you wake up, build the discipline of reading the Bible on your phone first thing. I know of one pastor who established a rule that he would not eat food until he had fed his soul. So if he didn’t read the Bible first thing in the morning he didn’t eat breakfast. The truth is what the system you create looks like is less important than making sure you prioritize Scripture first thing in the morning.
- Prioritize prayer. When the church is your job it can become easy to let spiritual disciplines slip. After all we deal with spiritual stuff all day long. Prayer is one of those things that often slips through the cracks. A practical way to prioritize prayer is to schedule it. Don’t push back on this. I know it doesn’t feel natural or authentic, but it can become meaningful. In Scripture we read how Daniel and other leaders had scheduled prayer times multiple times in the day. For me I pray first thing in the morning. Sometimes this is simply – “God morning God,” other times I pray through my calendar. I ask God to be with me for meetings or other things that are important that day. I also make sure that I pray with my kids at meal times, and bed time. As a staff we start every meeting off with prayer. That way I have multiple prayer touch points throughout the day. So worst case scenario I will have prayed multiple times even when my day is so busy I forget to pray throughout the day.
- Find someone to pour into you. When you are a pastor or church leader you are constantly pouring into others. The question is who is pouring into you? This person has to be someone who is further along than you are. For me it comes from multiple sources. I allow pastors to pour into me by reading their books, blog posts, and listening to podcasts. I also am spiritually poured into by my ministry coach. Before I contributed to ChurchBOOM my relationship with them was by partnership. For the last few years I have a regularly scheduled call with my ministry coach. He has helped me walk through seasons where I have felt spiritually empty. Ministry is too difficult to try and do it alone.
At the end of the day there are more than 3 ways to prioritize your spiritual life. These are simply ideas. Our jobs are too important to slack on our spiritual disciplines. As the Apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. Let’s be the example to our people! You’ve got this.