Pack Light, Pack Right 4

Pack Light, Pack Right 4 – The Pastor’s Strength

Let’s face it, pastors aren’t exactly known for physical fitness.

Peak Pastors is committed to helping you grow in your physical fitness so that you can lead your family and local ministry in a more holistic and healthy way.

This is where Trail Fitness Guides like

Kelly & Polly Barcol come in!

The final piece of our heart, soul, mind and strength strategy is being encouraged, challenged and held accountable concerning this temporary “temple” that are our bodies.

Our Trail Teams (small cohort groups) will have the opportunity to meet monthly with Trail Fit Guides like Kelly & Polly who will lend their experience and expertise to our groups.

Add to this the encouragement and accountability from the other members of your Trail Team, and, with some perseverance, you might just get into the best shape of your life!

Be inspired and challenged by Crossfit Winnersville in Valdosta, Georgia ( and Crossfit Checkered Flag in Daytona Beach, Florida ( Be sure to “Like” these pages!

Looking to provide an opportunity to grow faith and fitness in your community? Check out and discover what starting a chapter in your area might look like!

Some may say that, “bodily exercise profits little.” This may be true in comparison to our ultimate soul health. However, don’t miss the simple fact that it does, in fact, profit!

It’s time to get in shape, pastor…

heart, soul, mind and strength!

What do you do to get and stay in shape? Share your thoughts here or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page @

Living & Leading at Elevation

images-6Can you go and grow too far, too high, and too fast as an organization? What does it mean to live and lead at elevation in the realtionships that matter most? Let me tell you a story…

We had been steadily hiking for about three hours, gaining elevation with every step from roughly 10,000 to over 12,000 feet. The views had been amazing and we were now gazing down on the Upper Colony Lake basin, still encompassed by the towering peaks of three “fourteeners…” Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle and Mt. Humboldt (see photo). A fourteener is mountaineering lingo for the 72 mountains in excess of 14,000 feet in North America. Not quite Everest or Denali, but far from your local state park stroll. To give perspective, we were above the tree line and several small ice fields are below our level on the opposite slope. We had been planning for months and would soon have completed the first of what we hoped would be many fourteeners to come.

The truth was that my heart was beating out of my chest and I couldn’t catch my breath. My head had been pounding for over an hour already and, if I lifted my head from the rocky trail too quickly, I saw “stars.” I was also in denial. I knew what I was experiencing was classic elevation sickness. My body had not had time to adapt to the elevation difference between the Bluegrass of Kentucky and the mountains of Colorado. I had been way too eager, insisting that we should “go for it” the day after getting to Grandpa’s Mountain, itself at a little over 8,000 feet. In short, I overestimated my ability and, worst of all, underestimated the mountain. Never underestimate the mountain.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and almost 70 degrees. Then, in minutes, dark clouds rolling over themselves and folding over the mountains let loose a volley of lightening that seemed to land all around us. The thunder was deafening as it echoed off the massive granite formations. Then it began to rain. Briefly. The momentary pause would have been welcomed if it hadn’t been so ominous, giving way to marble-sized hail. The temperature plummeted 20 degrees faster than anything I had experienced, and I grew up in Ohio. Welcome to the the Sangre de Christo high country.

IMG_7325We were exposed on the side of Mt. Humboldt in an area known as the switchbacks. Before the hail started we could see still see our campsite (see picture left), albeit a speck, and we knew we had to get low, fast. We scrambled to put on our rain gear and lift our packs over our heads to take the brunt of the intensive pounding. Ironically, it was a distraction from my throbbing head. Eventually we made it down to our soggy site, about the time the sky cleared and sun came back out… birds chirping and marmots scrambling among the rocks and brush, oblivious to it all. We were as exhausted as we were stunned at our ill-fated first attempt.

Do we stop and camp out for the night? Maybe take the 3 hour hike back to the old Jeep? Honestly, this sounded good. Still, we had started very early and it was only around noon, though it seemed much later. My son asked if I wanted to press on. He could tell I was in rough shape. We would still have to face the switchbacks, the steep ridge, the false summit, the saddle and then, the summit. Over 2,300 feet of hard hiking and technical scrambling to “bag the peak” and enjoy the view dared us to try. I insisted we could do it, praying to God for strength under my breath. We checked our gear, ate a power bar, hydrated and hit the trail.

Only half-way up the switchbacks I had already had to stop twice. My legs were so heavy and the 35 pound pack weighed on me like a ton of bricks. I was now experiencing “tunnel vision,” that dark “closing in” sense and very real lack of sight. “Am I having a heart attack? Maybe a stroke?” I remember thinking to myself, “If I don’t stop, Andrew will be left alone and they will have to call in a rescue helicopter to lift me out of here… how embarrassing.” Not that he wouldn’t be okay. At a fit 24 years old, he was in much better shape than me. I just hated the thought of letting him down. Still, I had already pressed on far beyond the bounds of common sense for an out of shape 47-year-old.

He now insisted with genuine concern and stated the obvious… “Dad, you don’t look very good. We better stop.” I gave up and gave in to the better part of valor… well after wisdom’s first calls. My symptoms lessened as we rested at the campsite for a while, packed up and began the hike down and out. My headache persisted but my energy increased and my pack seemed lighter as we decreased elevation. The sometimes bone-jarring four-wheel drive (more of a crawl) the rest of the way down was going to prove a welcomed respite. Little was said until we found ourselves back in town, debriefing at our favorite watering hole. A hard and humbling lesson learned.

Elevation matters in life, leadership and relationships. You can go higher, faster, you just can’t do it healthier. Only time at elevation will work it’s wonder as everyone and everything adjusts to each new, subtantial gain. What does this look like? How do you keep from getting a case of elevation sicknesss as a lead team, organization or family? Check out Living and Leading at Elevation Part 2 coming soon!


31 Tips for 2016 – #5

Unknown-1Here is your #5 Tip for 2016

Tip #5 – Have a monthly “delete day.”

Too much clutter kills creativity and crowds out clarity. While this applies to your workspace (and some of you out there who still use paper filing), I’m talking about your online footprint and that of others. It’s all those e-newsletters you receive, those daily tweets popping up on your phone, the ads, the inspirational devotional that once fueled your passion, that scholarly group you belong to but never contribute to, those reminders you set last month (or last year!) you thought you couldn’t do without.

Schedule a monthly time where you un-follow, unsubscribe and generally reduce the amount of information you don’t regularly use. Notice I said to “schedule” it? Like all healthy habits, we’ve got to be intentional.

How do you know what to trash and what to keep? Ask yourself, “Have I accessed and applied this information to my life in any substantive way?” “Have I passed this on to a team member or friend?” “Do I regularly contribute to this group?” If not, it’s got to go. Sure, we like to say we “follow” a lot of high profile leaders, and maybe keeping a few of them around is a good thing. However, less really can be more as you live and lead more lean than ever in 2016, uncluttered and unencumbered by the constant barrage of the latest and greatest.

Like a seasoned marathon runner, it’s time to live and lead leaner so you can go the distance in 2016. Let me be the first to wish you a “Happy Delete Day!”

Any Questions?

images-19Spiritual Discipline. The term may not be as popular today, but it’s application for Christian leaders has never been more relevant. Given the rapidly changing cultural climate, we need a return to the fundamentals now more than ever! What are these fundamentals? Practices such as Scripture reading (memory & meditation), prayer, fasting, worship, serving, generous giving, church attendance, etc. Each of these is vital to the health and growth of Christ-followers and the Body of Christ as a whole. May I suggest one more?

Actually, I just did. Let me ask you a question… what if we followed the example of Jesus in asking just the right questions? Could we be missing out on many of the answers we seek because we aren’t asking enough questions?

Here are 4 reasons to make the asking of questions a purposed discipline in our lives…

1) Jesus did. There must be something to the lost art of inquiry seeing as though God the Son so often framed conversations in the form of a question. As a matter of fact, Jesus asked over 135 questions as recorded in the Gospels! Check out for a listing and a great post from Emmanuel Fellowship Church.

2) We don’t know it all. The deeper truth is, we don’t even know all we don’t know. Questions gather knowledge, not for the sake of knowing more, but for living more closely with and according to the Word of the One who does know it all. Paul’s prayer for the church in Philippi encouraged concerning the importance of knowledge, And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV)  

3) Humility demands it. Of course, humility is anything but demanding. However, feeling and thinking we have all the answers or are the solution to everyone’s questions and problems is the perfect recipe for pride. Paul warned the believers in Corinth, We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-2, NIV)

Got a question? Swallow your pride and ask it! And, remember what our teachers taught us as kids… “The only stupid question is the one never asked.” 

4) It isn’t about us. Who are you speaking to? What are their needs, their dreams, perspective, insights? What if we asked at least 2 questions in any conversation before making any statements? Besides sparing ourselves the embarrassment of confirming our ignorance, we might just invest in someone else in a more purposed way, deepen a relationship and maybe, just maybe, learn a little more along the way as leaders.

Take your leadership to another level and ask more and better questions daily! What questions do you have about the art of inquiry? Ask your questions and share your insights in the Reply section below…