Lazy Pastors

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In his book Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them QuicklyMike Myatt says:

The difference between good and great often comes down to discipline.

Many pastors are lazy, overweight, not motivated. They haven’t always been this way, it just happens. Now, swinging the pendulum to the other side and having pastors that compete in the Crossfit games, are workaholics and are legalists when it comes to driving their people and themselves to the point of burnout is not the answer or healthy.

Jared Wilson had a good post on “In praise of fat pastors.” After talking about how self-centered pastors can be and image concious they can be, he tries to save it at the end and say, “But I’m not calling for pastors to be gluttons or slobs.” The problem is, many pastors do not take care of themselves.

Consider these stats:

  • 90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression and 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked and feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.
  • 1,700 or so pastors leave the ministry each month.
  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend and 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.

Back to lazy pastors.

Many pastors struggle to set boundaries around how many hours they work, how many meetings they attend, how much time they spend on their sermon, having adequate family time, adequate time for their own soul, eating well, resting well, and exercising.

How is that being lazy?

As Mike Myatt said: The difference between good and great often comes down to discipline.

Saying no, pulling boundaries takes discipline. Watching what you eat, how you sleep, how you exercise is about discipline. Wasting time on facebook or the computer keeps you from being on task, which keeps you working longer and because you are alone, you are probably now lonelier and the likelihood of you looking at something you shouldn’t online just increased.

I believe how we care for our bodies is a spiritual discipline, it is an act of worship. 

On top of that, finishing well as a leader requires energy and energy requires good sleep, good exercise and good eating habits.

When I meet a man who can’t control what he eats, I wonder what other areas of his life he doesn’t have self-control in, where else does he struggle to say no (food is never the only area). When a person can’t stay on task and complete their job in a decent amount of hours is someone I wonder who has the responsibility to lead things.

While this is not always the case, how we handle our health often reveals other things in our hearts and lives.

Now, just because someone has discipline doesn’t mean that is the ideal leader. They can keep people at arms length, care too much about their looks or what others think. Both the over-disciplined and the undisciplined are in sin.

Here is one thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown more disciplined in my life: when every minute is accounted for and given a name, things get done and less time is wasted. 

Which means I have time to do the things I want to do and to be at the things that matter.

So, how do you evaluate this?

I think a pastor needs to ask if they are known for being a workaholic, lazy or if they are known for having a strong work ethic. If you are to lead your church well and model this for the men of your church, you need to be someone others would aspire to. I think we do the name of Christ harm when we are known as lazy, slobs or workaholics.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Ron Edmondson on 7 suggestions for an effective Easter.

This is an “all hands on deck” Sunday. Plan every detail you possibly can. Plan for and expect excellence. It’s that important. Hopefully by now you have already started talking about it, but people need to know the importance you are placing on the day. Make it a big deal, because it is a big deal.

Forbes ranks the 9 toughest leadership roles. Interesting where pastor and stay-at-home mom landed.

Tim Elmore on The different types of parents and how they affect their kids.

Tragically, this is often the case for many of us.  Instead of learning from our parent’s shortcomings, we echo them in our parenting. The opposite can also be true–in an effort to learn from our parent’s mistakes, we can swing the pendulum too far and commit the opposite error.  Instead of being passive, we smother (or vice versa).

7 reasons preachers should read fiction.

Imagination is a muscle. It needs to be exercised. Unlike movies, books make you use that imagination. When I think of Charles Spurgeon or Jonathan Edwards – what strikes me about their preaching is their vivid imagination.

Sutton Turner on How an executive pastor frees up a lead pastor.

One of the easiest ways an executive pastor can complement the lead pastor is by doing the things the lead pastor isn’t gifted to do. The lead pastor needs to do the things that only he can do, and the executive pastor needs to do the things that he and the lead pastor can both do.

5 reasons why one Christian teen didn’t rebel. Super helpful for parents.

My parents never encouraged any idea of teenage-hood rebellion. They never joked about us rolling our eyes, acting exasperated, or having attitude at all. Rather, they actually made us think that teenagers and the whole rebellion process was stupid and unnecessary. I always figured that I would grow up straight from child to adult, with no “silly teenage stage” in-between. You may think that this is no fun, or that kids need their time to be silly and make mistakes.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Thabiti Anyabwile on A round-up of the holy hip hop squabble.

It’s entirely possible you live in a twitter circle completely independent of my own. If that’s the case, you might have missed something of a internet-age equivalent of strong rebuke of several men participating in a National Center for Family Integrated Churches panel discussion. The segment making the rounds includes a question about holy hip hop and whether it’s appropriate. The panelists shared what can only be described as statements of escalating idiocy and implicit (at least) cultural superiority. Following the NCFIC panel segment on Christian/Reformed hip hop, a number of thoughtful brothers responded. If you missed any of it, here’s a round-up.

Cheryl Connor on The practices mentally strong people avoid.

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

Ohio State Study finds Casual sex contributes to depression and declines in mental health.

Those who had casual sex in their late teens and early 20s were significantly more likely to have serious thoughts of suicide as young adults, results showed. In fact, each additional casual sex relationship increased the odds of suicidal thoughts by 18 percent.

Timothy Paul Jones on Why celebrate advent.

Once upon a time, there was a season in the church year known as “Advent.” The word comes to us from the Latin for “coming.” The purpose of the season was to look toward the coming of Christ to earth; it was a season that focused on waiting.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. 7 things every pastor should do every week on social media. Great ideas.
  2. Brian Howard on How to organize your week.
  3. How to pray for your future husband. Great insights for single and married women.
  4. Brad Lomenick on Why every leader needs a confidant. Totally agree. Here’s how a pastor can find an accountability partner.
  5. 25 apps every leader should be aware of. I love the apps I use for leadership and ministry.
  6. Tony Reinke on God’s delight in you.
  7. How to care for your pastor.
  8. Mike Myatt on The #1 problem every leader has.

Preach Better Sermons || Nancy Duarte

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture and has created more than a quarter of a million presentations. As a persuasion specialist, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. Resonate, her latest book, spent nearly a year on the Amazon.com top 100 business book bestsellers list.

Here are some things from Nancy’s segment:

  • Contrast is crucial to a talk sticking. 
  • Stories build up tension and then releases.
  • To communicate effectively you have to like your audience.
  • Communicators need to put themselves in their audience shoes.
  • Movies that win awards for best picture also win awards for editing. Editing, cutting, crafting is what sets apart a good from a great talk.
  • The hero of a presentation is not the person talking the most, but the audience. The audience determines if your idea lives or dies. They make or break your idea.
  • People should leave a sermon and feel unstuck.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like
  1. Forbes Magazine on The #1 reason leadership development fails.
  2. Brian Tracy on 7 habits of successful people.
  3. 4 simple things to keep in mind as you plan 2013.

Here’s a helpful video to get you started in 2013 on the art of stress-free productivity.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like

Links of the Week

  1. Do your church start with the why? This is a great question to wrestle with for pastors.
  2. Justin Holcomb on Sex-trafficking at the super bowl. According to stats, the super bowl is the largest sex-trafficking event in the U.S.
  3. Churches to watch in 2012.
  4. Bob Franquiz on 5 factors you need to double this Easter.
  5. The goal of a leader.
  6. Brad Lomenick on How to honor your leaders.
  7. Wal-mart’s wrong headed re-organization. Good leadership advice for pastors.
  8. Perry Noble on You should probably not date him if. This is great advice for single women.
  9. How much is a homemaker worth?

Links of the Week

  1. Letters to a young pastor. I’m reading this book right now and it is a great book for young pastors, tons of wisdom.
  2. Phil Cooke on the secret to great teams.
  3. Porn blamed for children’s sexual behavior.
  4. Dave Ferguson on What stats a church should count.
  5. Russell Moore answers “Should I marry a man addicted to porn?
  6. Start – Stop – Continue. Great advice for pastors and leaders.
  7. Teens & porn: stats you need to know.
  8. Dave Kraft on The importance of picking the right people for the right teams.
  9. Forbes on Girls for Sale! Changing the Conversation on Exploited Kids in the U.S.

Links of the Week

  1. Michael Horton on What is the Church’s Mission?
  2. Grace Driscoll on Being a ministry wife. This is a helpful series for the wife of a pastor, and for those who attend church to understand what it is like to be married to a ministry leader.
  3. Zombies, wine and Christian music.
  4. Mary Kassian on 7 misconceptions of submission. This was good timing for me as I’m preaching on Titus 2 this week.
  5. 12 things a leader CANNOT do.
  6. Ron Edmondson on How to have less stress. Living in this reality right now.
  7. Are you an internet busy body?
  8. Tony Dungy on Accountability and Penn State.
  9. Women have sex out of obligation.