Four Areas of Pastoral Health

October 1, 2021
Four Areas of Pastoral Health

Spiritual Health  

From Craig Jenkins, former pastor and current Director of Convention Advancement and News for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. 

  1. It’s easy to overlook your own spiritual health as you’re shepherding and discipling others in your congregation or ministries.  
  2. Spend time each day in personal Bible study and prayer. Remember, studying and preparing for a sermon doesn’t fill this need. 
  3. Outside of your pastoral role, do missions or ministry work outside that you are not in charge of or oversee. 
  4. Consider fasting. While this could be fasting from food, it could also include fasting from other things such as your phone, social media, or anything else that gets a lot of your attention. 
  5. Deepen your spiritual relationship with your spouse. Spend time studying the Bible and praying together. 
  6. Schedule at least one day off each week and keep this as a priority. If your normal day off is interrupted, reschedule the time away. Typically, Mondays or Fridays are good for this.  

Emotional/Mental Health 

From James Barham, LMFT, LPC, Director of Counseling for Living Well Counseling. 

  1. Based on Lifeway Research Studies, 23% of pastors acknowledge that they have personally struggled with a mental illness. That is 1 in 4 pastors. You must take care of yourself in order to care for those you are shepherding.
  2. Connection with Christ: Spend time in creation. No phone. No distractions. Even 30 minutes a week can make a difference. Take this time to pray and clear your mind.  
  3. Connection with Friends: Get lunch or coffee with a trusted friend and have authentic conversation of the joys, sorrows, and difficulties of pastoring.  
  4. Connection with Family: Set a specific time of the week to be an "unplugged" time with family. No phones. No TV. This intentional time can be 1-2 hours devoted to playing games, talking, trying a new activity, etc.    
  5. Connection with Self:  Allow yourself time throughout the week to do something that sounds fun to you! Practice a hobby, journal, read for fun, go to the gym, go on a run, go to a favorite place by yourself, etc.  
  6. Connection with a Counselor: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, relationships, or the pressures of pastoring, Living Well Counseling has licensed counselors equipped to serve pastors. Call 877-455-8554 to make your appointment today. You don't have to struggle alone. Living Well Counseling is a service provided by Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries.   

Physical Health 

From Jeffery Dial, Senior Pastor at Life Line Baptist Church in Little Rock.  

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2 ESV 

  1. Good health and a well soul go together according to the apostle John. I pray early every morning for good health and a well soul! Here are the things God leads me to do to be healthy on a daily basis. 
  2. Go to bed early and rest well every night. 
  3. Get up early and have a good breakfast every morning. 
  4. Use your time wisely every day and have a no stress, no chaos policy. 
  5. Have a healthy lunch and supper every day. 
  6. Count every step and make every step count for God, yourself, and others. 

Financial Health 

From Bobby Thomas, President and CEO of the Arkansas Baptist Foundation. 

  1. Financial challenges can present stress and anxiety in the life of anyone and Pastors and those on church staff are also susceptible.
  2. Identify and work to quickly eliminate all high interest/short term debt, such as consumer or credit card debt.  
  3. Begin saving to create an emergency fund totaling three to six months of your families’ living expenses. 
  4. Plan and save for future and upcoming purchases for things like furniture, home goods, and vehicles. 
  5. Analyze and set long term goals to make sure you’re prepared for things like your children’s college education, retirement, and other lifestyle changes.  
  6. Establish a legacy giving plan to make you mark on Kingdom Impact in Arkansas and beyond. The Arkansas Baptist Foundation provides free estate planning for any Arkansas Baptist working in denominational service or those looking to make a legacy gift to Kingdom causes.