The last few years have been filled with news of famous ministry leaders who are falling morally, abusing finances and leading by intimidation. I can’t think of a time, other than the Swaggert/Bakker scandals of the 1980’s, where more ministry leaders have fallen in some swirl of ethical disgrace.But, for every leader that falls morally, there are ten who burn out emotionally and spiritually. I’ve seen far more ministry leaders leave the ministry out of discouragement than disgrace.
So how do we keep from being another ministry statistic? How do we finish well?
Although my race is not yet completed, God has blessed me to have been in ministry for 30 years. This week marked the 30 year anniversary of a church I co-planted and co-pastored for ten years before launching into Dare 2 Share full-time. Over the last three decades of starting a local church as well as a global ministry, God has given me a few insights into some of the keys to longevity in ministry.
Here are four of them:
1. Take care of your body.
I know this may seem like “carnal” thinking, but taking care of our bodies is vastly underestimated by many ministry leaders. After all your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 6:19,20. For the first five years of my ministry experience I had allowed the temple God had loaned me to become a mess.
By the time I was 28 years old I had ballooned to almost 225 pounds of mostly mushy fat weight. Not only did I have a weight problem, I also had a “wait” problem. I thought I’d just “wait” to get in shape when I had more time. Besides, I was too busy taking care of important “spiritual” matters to address the “worldly” focus of my own personal fitness.
But one day I realized that my lack of health was impacting my ability to work hard over a sustained period of time. I had to take what I came to nickname “fat naps” during the day and was often crabby to my wife at night. Concerned friends confronted me and, finally convinced me to do something about it. Over the course of several months, through hard work and exercise, I pushed my weight below 200 pounds.
By God’s grace (and through a ton of sweat-drenched exercises) I now weigh 185 pounds and am probably in the best shape of my adult life. As a result I have the energy to do the work of a traveling evangelist with a relentless schedule.
So, as I challenge you to do something about your own personal fitness, I want you to know I relate. And I know the challenge before you…because that same challenge was/is before me. Eat healthy, sleep well, drink water and work out. Take care of the temple. It will help make you more fit for the ministry challenges ahead.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Stier