Tired. Stressed. Sick. Overweight. Do these words describe you? For the vast majority of pastors, they are the norm. In the course of our years as church leaders, too many of us have sacrificed our health and wellbeing on the altar of ministry. We have lost the vibrancy—and the waistlines—we once had, opting instead for the poor, counterfeit version of health that has become acceptable in our culture.
For church leaders, the picture is rather bleak. For instance, a recent Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76 percent were overweight or obese, and 40 percent of pastors say they are depressed at times, and worn out “some or most of the time.” The consequences of years of poor health decisions catch up. It’s inevitable. When they do, our bodies suffer, and our ministries suffer. We end up fat, chronically sick, dependent on pills to regulate our bodies’ systems, and stressed to the point of burnout or depression. None of this is good for us, our churches or God’s greater kingdom.
I once heard a radio business legend say, “If you want to be successful in life and you have no role models, look at what the majority of people are doing and do the opposite. The majority is always wrong.” When it comes to being a pastor, I couldn’t agree more. If you want to grow a healthy church and have a happy personal life, you cannot do the things an average pastor does.
The same truth applies to your health. If you want to live a life full of the physical vitality you need in order to be able to do all that God has called you to, then you must decide to go renegade with your health. In other words, commit to being a healthy renegade pastor.
On an individual level, the renegade pastor is someone who lives in a state of faithful proactivity. The renegade’s church is healthy and growing, as is he. The renegade pastor is a hard worker, but he knows how to work efficiently and manage his time for maximum benefit, avoiding unnecessary stress and all of its negative effects. He has quality relationships in his life. He is intentional about keeping his body—his most critical tool for ministry on this earth—healthy and strong. He knows how to identify godly health goals and pursue them. Furthermore, unlike the average pastor, the renegade has peace about his health, his work and his future. He experiences the fulfillment that comes with embracing the life to which God has called him.
The differences between an average pastor and a renegade pastor are strikingly clear. So the question then becomes: Do you want to be average, or do you want to be renegade?
Nelson Searcy wants to help you take this next step now to go renegade and abandon average in your health and wellness. To grab his new book, The Healthy Renegade Pastor, for just $1 with free shipping, visit RenegadePastors.com/PreachingHealth. Searcy is the founding pastor of The Journey Church with locations across New York City, San Francisco, and Boca Raton, Florida. He personally has trained more than 50,000 church leaders as founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network.