Willie McLaurin on Healthy Habits for Pastors During the Coronavirus Crisis

Willie McLaurin is vice president for Great Commission Relations and Mobilization with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.

NASHVILLE (BP) — COVID-19 will forever change the way we do life and ministry. Change is around us in every area of life. God often uses crisis to bring about changes that were overdue in our lives. Author Tony Robbins reminds us: Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.

The coronavirus did not catch God by surprise. We must not waste this season, but we must embrace it and allow God to shape our lives for His glory. Many pastors and church leaders are past due for a RESET in their regular routine. I am convinced that we must take advantage of this season to reinvent ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Physically

Let me first acknowledge that more and more pastors are taking advantage of the benefits of regular physical activity. Health professionals continue to emphasize the benefits of regular physical activity. If you are in need of a physical tune-up, then this season is perfect for you. I would encourage you to carve out time in your calendar each day to engage in physical activities.

Activities such as running, walking, cycling and body resistance training are some options in this social distancing culture. Many home media packages offer a complimentary fitness channel with a variety of routines. Use this season to hit the “Reset” button on how you honor your temple.

The pressure of ministry was already off the charts in a pre COVID-19 culture. The demands of ministering in a social distancing culture can be a challenge. The ongoing pressure of perfecting online worship, meeting budget, caring for the flock and not gathering with your congregation face to face can be overwhelming.

The pressures can cause ministry leaders not to set boundaries in their schedule and neglect getting proper rest. God designed us as creatures that need rest. Be sure that you set healthy boundaries for yourself. I would encourage you to have a plan for each day. Spend time each day in self-care, family time, ministry engagement and a mental health block.

Be sure that your ministry engagement time includes your sermon preparation time. Some simple ways to stay connected with your congregation are writing handwritten notes, scheduling pastoral care phone calls and weekly conference calls with your church staff and key leaders.

Make sure you get proper rest. Healthcare professionals recommend you getting six to eight hours of sleep per night. Get your rest — you will never regret it.

Spiritually

Pastors and leaders get busy, and in the midst of the busyness, their personal devotion life takes a back seat. Use this COVID-19 season to move your devotion life back to the driver’s seat.

I read a church marquee that said, “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.” Jesus said it best in Luke 18:1: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

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Source: Baptist Press