One author observed, “A pastor needs the tact of a diplomat, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon — and a cast-iron stomach.”
It was the stomach comment that sparked a thought. These days, there are all kinds of diets — the Beverly Hills Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Liquid Diet and so on. At any one point, half the books listed on the New York Times’ best-seller list are probably diet books.
Yet no one has produced the most obvious diet of all: the Preacher’s Diet. Think of the possibilities: there are more than a quarter-million of us, and fully two-thirds of that number are probably overweight. Years of fried chicken and homemade biscuits have taken their toll on God’s messengers.
With that in mind, I hasten to put forward (and claim all rights to) the Preacher’s Diet. Publishers, just send your advance royalty checks to my attention.
Everyone knows you can’t preach on an empty stomach. (I’m almost certain I read that in the Bible somewhere.) So a nutritious, balanced breakfast is a must.
A bit of orange juice is essential; a case of gout can cost you mobility in the pulpit. Then you’ll need a couple of eggs (protein, for strength to shout during weak points of the sermon), some ham (you are what you eat, preacher), and a biscuit — but only half the normal butter and jam. (Can’t you feel those pounds dropping off already?)
These days the doctors advise us to get plenty of fiber, so top off your breakfast with a well-chewed toothpick.
After a long, hard morning of Greek word studies and thumbing through collections of illustrations, you’ll need a hearty lunch.
I suggest 2-3 ounces of lean chicken, one cup of green beans, and a slice of melba toast. Of course, I only suggest this to deacons who are giving me problems.
Preachers, on the other hand, may choose one item from Column A (a Wendy’s Single, a Big Mac or a 3-piece dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken), two items from Column B (french fries, baked beans, cole slaw, onion rings), and one item from Column C (Alka-Seltzer, Turns, Pepto-Bismol).
Sure, you may not lose pounds as quickly on this diet — but I guarantee you the preacher’s diet is easier to stick to!
With an extended afternoon of sermon preparation, many preachers find it impossible to make it to dinner without a mid-afternoon snack. For them, I suggest a package of M & M’s (plain only — no need to add calories with those peanuts). Most nutritionists I’ve consulted (you can just imagine how long that list is) are impressed with the healthy balance of chocolate and preservatives found in just one package of M & M’s.
When dinner time rolls around, I’d encourage you to let up on the discipline a bit and enjoy yourself. After all, you can’t diet all the time!
I’d like to hear from preachers who try this diet. We hope to publish testimonials on the dust cover of our next project: the Preacher’s Exercise Book. If you think the diet was tough, just wait till you’ve done a bench-press with Strong’s Concordance (unabridged)!
Like they say: no pain, no gain.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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