As campus pastors, we have many responsibilities: leading teams, recruiting high-capacity volunteers, embodying the vision of our senior leaders, and protecting the culture of our church to name a few. I’ve heard it said that the greatest gift a leader can bring to their team is their personal energy but I must be honest, I don’t agree with that statement. Energy, while important, doesn’t always win and with the help of a Redbull, it can be easily manufactured. The greatest gift you can give to your team is not your energy, it’s the health of your soul.
Talking about soul health is not always popular these days. Campus pastors want to talk about the size of their campus or discuss ways to get people to fall in love with the “preacher on the screen”. Rarely do I hear campus pastors discuss topics beyond the metrics of multisite like spiritual, emotional and physical health. I’m thankful for the voices in my life that dig deeper into the condition of my soul. Recently I was encouraged to read Peter Scazzero’s “The Emotionally Healthy Leader.” I’ll be honest; the book was a difficult read. Not because I could understand the content I was reading, but the content of the book was reading me. If you’re leading in any capacity, church life or not, I encourage you to pick up Peter’s book and start reading it today.
The health of your soul is your responsibility. No one else can make your soul healthier, and to be honest, most of the time we don’t slow down enough to examine our soul health. We have to take matters into our own hands and lead ourselves first. Self-leadership always precedes team leadership.
After reading his book, I’m focusing on the following three areas of soul health in my life:
As a leader within the church, our passion for the Lord must always trump our passion for greater leadership and influence. In ministry, it’s easy to work so hard for Christ that we forget to walk with him. Our desire to lead ends up choking our desire to be simply with Christ. In his book, Scazzero talks about slowing down for loving union and how we must practice the spiritual disciplines of silence, Sabbath and scripture meditation. Do you have a regular rhythm of slowing down and communing with Christ? The health of your soul depends on it.
“You can’t live at warp speed without warping your soul.” Peter Scazzero
Our emotional health is directly connected to the health of our souls. Emotionally healthy pastors manage their emotions in meetings and settings where unhealthy pastors don’t. Irritability in ministry or any walk of life is a sign that your soul lacks health and vibrancy. You cannot separate the health of your soul from the health of your attitude. When your soul is healthy, your response is healthy. How are you in meetings? How is your response? Spending time developing your emotional health will radically change the way you respond to whatever life or ministry throws at you.
“Spiritual deficits typically reveal themselves in too much activity.” Peter Scazzero
Scazzero doesn’t talk much about physical health in his book, but I believe this topic is also directly connected to the condition of our souls. We cannot effectively lead within our organization if we are continually sluggish and exhausted. I meet a lot of leaders who look and sound tired all the time. Who is responsible? I don’t think it is the church fault; we can only blame the individual. Just as no one else can make us spiritually healthy, no one else can make us physically healthy either. Make better food choices, get to bed early on Saturday nights, add regular exercise to your schedule, and drink more water. Sounds simple, I know, but few leaders do it.
The condition of your soul is your responsibility. It is also the greatest gift you can bring to your teams. As you intentionally care for your spiritual, emotional, and physical health, you model soul care for your team and everyone wins.
In what ways do you measure soul health? Who can hold you accountable for these things?