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This topic is adapted from PursueGOD Network YouTube channel. This is part 4 of 5 in the Self-Care for Pastors series.

As a group, pastors don’t do very well with physical health. We want to avoid the cult of beauty and fitness, but poor physical health leads to less effective ministry.

Be More Active

Maintaining an active lifestyle has so many benefits. But pastors are busy. It’s hard to make time for exercise. One thing that helps is to find things you actually like to do, so you will be motivated to do them. And don’t set your expectations so high that you are bound to fail and get discouraged.

Eat Better

Ministry requires that pastors eat what people offer them. You will do a lot of ministry lunch appointments. But in between, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Scale back on sugary and fatty foods. It isn’t unreasonable for a congregation to expect a basic level of healthiness from their pastor.

Get Peer Support

The best way to succeed in dietary and exercise routines is to enlist help. Find people who like to do what you do, and do it together. It’s just easier to show up for an activity when others will be there. This is great for relational health as well as physical health. Approach diet and exercise as a family. Work together to create a healthier menu. Take walks with your spouse or play active games with your kids. You’ll all be better off.

Being active and eating right relieves stress, improves sleep, and increases energy. So get up from behind your desk and start doing something that will take care of your body!

[External Resource: How Do Carbohydrates Impact Your Health?]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What physical activity or sport do you most enjoy doing? How often do you do it?
  4. How can you engage in active behaviors with in order to be more consistent?
  5. What other benefits can you expect from doing that activity with others?
  6. Given all the appointments pastors have over meals, what are some practical ways to scale back when eating out?
  7. Who plans the menus in your household? What do you need to communicate to them about your dietary goals?
  8. What emotional role does food play in your life (such as comfort, reward, etc.)? How can you be more aware of and intentional about what you eat?
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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