leadership

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 (https://www.facebook.com/crossfitwinnersville/) and Crossfit Checkered Flag in Daytona Beach, Florida (https://www.facebook.com/CrossFit-Checkered-Flag-106134717577003/). Be sure to “Like” these pages!

Looking to provide an opportunity to grow faith and fitness in your community? Check out https://faithrxd.org/ 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 @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors/

Pack Light, Pack Right 3

Pack Light, Pack Right 3 – The Pastor’s Mind

I’ve got so much to learn.

The longer I have lived and led the more I realize that I don’t often even know the things I don’t know. You know?

Great leaders have always championed learning. Check out some of the suggested learning leader resources below for a few examples to help stretch you! (You don’t have to agree with everyone. But, you would be amiss not to learn from them.)

Rick Warren put it this way…

“All leaders are learners. The

moment you stop learning, you

stop leading.”

Here are a couple of his very challenging TEDx Talks hosted in Orange County, California – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFdRFhVQwvU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPqNtOrTdlU

Leaders are learners. You know this.

Peak Pastors is dedicating to helping

you DO this, to learn to learn.

So, let’s learn from one another! Let’s question and challenge and spur and resource one another on to be stewards of the gray matter God has loaned to us.

Here are three of the podcasts I have been listening to recently. I love these because they interview leaders who learn from leaders!

Share your resources below or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group Page!

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – https://careynieuwhof.com/mypodcast/

Ask NT Wright Anything Podcast – https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything/Podcast

Unbelievable Podcast with Justin Brierley – https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable

Share some of your go-to learners below!

Pack Light, Pack Right 2

Part 2: The Pastor’s Soul

“For the soul to be well, it needs to be with God.”

– John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg

Somewhere in the preparing and preaching, in the teaching and training, the visioning and visiting, counseling and caring for the local church is the soul of a pastor… and it needs keeping.

The second essential thing to pack light and pack right for pastors is a healthy soul. We want to help pastors focus on their own soul health, namely, their personal relationship with Jesus.

After all, without a healthy soul, grounded and growing in a purposed relationship with Jesus, pastors simply cannot be who and what they long to be in the home, the church or community. What was it Paul said?

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

This is where our future Pioneer

Trail Teams will come in!

Be on the lookout for more information about small groups of pastors that will be forming in the months to come. Our first groups will be Pioneer Trail Teams who will help us blaze the trail of these cohorts of pastors, learning together more about what it means to encourage and hold one another accountable in the four essential areas of heart, soul, mind and strength!

Nobody “gets” the life of a pastor like a

pastor (and their spouses!).

Until then, join in our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page by pastors, for pastors! Invite others to join you and encourage, encourage, encourage.

If you haven’t already read Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, you simply must pick it up and put it in your daily carry pack! IT IS A MUST READ AND MUST APPLY. Check it out at http://www.johnortberg.com/book_type/books/ or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Keeping-Caring-Most-Important/dp/1491521619

How do you care for your soul, pastor? Share your insights below or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors/?source_id=440477556480460

Pack Light, Pack Right

Part 1: The Pastor’s Heart

Packing light and with the right tools of the trade is key to going the distance in both the high country and on the trail of life and leadership.

Peak Pastors is designed to help you do just this; to not merely lead better, but to BE better… to grow as followers of Jesus, spouses, parents and as leaders. We will do this by filling our packs with the essentials needed for optimal health in 4 essential areas… heart, soul, mind and strength.

Let’s break this down taking one essential at a time…

The Pastor’s Heart – This is all about family!

Every pastor I have known has struggled to invest in what I have always called their “home church.” No, not the local church they and others call home.

This is about the worship center

of the home… building healthy

relationships as spouses,

parents, & raising Christ-centered kids.

We all know the truth about home and ministry life. When we aren’t relationally healthy in our home life, we won’t be relationally healthy and effective in our church leadership life. However, when things at home are healthy, I don’t know about you, but I feel like there is no summit I can’t reach!

Together, let’s discover practical ways to invest in our marriages and parenting in the middle of what can all-too-quickly become the craziness of ministry life.

Speaking of which, here you go! Check out 3 Reasons Winning at Home is Easier than Winning at Home by Carey Nieuwhof @ https://careynieuwhof.com/3-reasons-winning-at-work-is-easier-than-winning-at-home/

So, how do you keep your heart focused on your home life? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread here or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors/

simplify

to reduce to basic essentials: to diminish in scope or complexity; streamline. (Webster-Merriam Dictionary)

Most pastors and leaders I know could use a little more of this. Your lives are busy and complex. The question is, “How?”

Most good leaders like you know the answer. You need to say “No” more, for starters. We’ll focus on this and other practical suggestions in the next post. However, the better answer will always be found in knowing your “Why?”

Why simplify? One word… relationship.

Relationships are the real stuff of life. And, they are made in the margins of life. They grow in these same spaces. In order to invest in the relationships that matter the most, you will need to be intentional about simplifying your world.

Here’s one simple step for now. Make a list. A short list of the relationships you want to cultivate. This list will be your motivation, your “Why?”

Caution: Everything about your present world will war against this. After all, who has time to invest in people when there is so much to do on our “To Do” lists? Maybe we need to simplify our “To Do” list? Maybe we need to replace it altogether with a “To Be With” list?

If I had one goal for all my fellow pastors and leaders out there for 2020 and beyond it would be this… simplify.

Jesus was and is our ultimate example. His agenda as revealed in the Gospels was all about people, people, people.

Let’s keep this short, sweet and simple.

simplify.

Depressed Part 2

Whether you are a pastor struggling with depression or simply hope to come alongside one in your life who does, where do you begin?

I’ll admit it. I was a pastor who was simply unqualified to counsel on this subject early in my ministry. If I had been, I wouldn’t have heard these words from an ER physician. He said, “I don’t know what you do for a living. But you either learn to love it, find something else, or die a very young man.”

I was stressed, depressed and didn’t really know what to do about it.

Thankfully, there were people in my life that did. In time, I made changes that have kept me living and leading healthy.

Here are three resources to help you respond in a more compassionate and informed way to the realities that contribute to depression and compound other forms of mental illness among church leaders…

Understand the “Why?” behind it. Thomas Rainer helps us come to terms with some of root causes behind depression among clergy. https://thomrainer.com/2018/02/five-reasons-many-pastors-struggle-depression/

Get past the stigma that comes with it. Mark Meynell writes for the Gospel Coalition about getting the conversation out in the open. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/pastors-depression/

Take some practical steps to confront it. Something has to change. Stephanie Lobdell draws from the life of Elijah to offer some steps anyone can take to keep depression from leading them down a darker path. https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/december-web-exclusives/when-youre-pastor-who-suffers-from-depression.html

It’s become all too cliche and way too familiar. Still, “the struggle is real” for those of us serving to answer God’s call to ministry.

There is hope. There is help.

Be a part of the solution and stay informed on the realities of depression and mental illness.

If you are struggling with depression. Let someone know. You don’t have to walk alone.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Depressed

Recent news of another pastor taking his own life has us all hurting and questioning.

How should we approach the reality of depression among Christian leaders, especially among those of us who preach and teach the Good News of Jesus?

Whether you are a pastor, church leader or just happened to be searching the web on this subject, here are a few thoughts about pastors, from a pastor, to help guide your conversations.

Pastors aren’t immune… to anything. We are flawed, failed, tempted and tried, and our calling doesn’t magically make us somehow above the things that challenge others, including an unseen sickness like depression.

Pastors are lonely… at least it often feels that way. We may be surrounded by people, many are even very encouraging. Still, church leadership can leave us feeling very much isolated no matter how many “likes” we get on social media.

Pastors don’t have all the answers… too many think they do (maybe even a few us pastors). We have some education, attended a conference or two and have some experience. The very Word of God is right there at our fingertips on a daily basis.

Make no mistake, there is hope in Jesus Christ.

Still, that doesn’t mean we always know exactly how to prescribe it in the real world to others or even ourselves.

Pastors are a target… and we need a lot of grace and prayer. Sure, the devil is trying to take everyone down with him in the end. Still, everyone knows that in warfare, if you can take down leaders, the impact on your enemy is multiplied many fold.

In short, pastors are people.

What can you do to deal with the pressures and stresses of ministry life as a pastor, or to come alongside one that you care about? We’ll talk about that in Depressed, Part 2.

What would you say about the realities that pastors face? Share your insights below in the reply section. We would love to hear from you!

Need help right now? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

What I Learned Off-Grid

On the Summit of Spread Eagle Peak!

I went on summer vacation with my family and, for the first time, stayed off-grid, unplugged from work and social media. Crazy, right?

Here’s what I was reminded of and learned from my online hiatus in the mountains…

Lesson 1: I loved it!

I was present and in the moment with family & the Lord like never before. It was awesome. Plain and simple.

Sure, I snapped a few photos here and there to remember and celebrate at a later date. However, it was so good to be authentically in the moment and not feel like it had to be shared with anyone else, at least not right then and there.

Many times there were no pictures taken at all. The memories are that much more vivid in the hearts and minds of those who experienced it in real time.

Lesson 2: It’s okay.

I stayed off-line and, I’ll admit it, it took some getting used to.

After all, “If it happened and no one posted online about it, did it really happen?”

Some won’t get this. Some may even be a little suspicious of what the deal is with someone who dares to not make just about everything about their vacation public knowledge. My advice? Do it anyway. Those that truly know and love you will get it and be fine with it.

It’s also okay to keep sharing.

This goes without saying. Posting on social media has long been a part of the joy of sharing life with extended family and friends who aren’t there. It’s just how an emerging generation communicates. They simply don’t know life any other way.

Good leaders recognize this reality and choose to meet people where they live, virtually or not. This reality is increasing exponentially over time. For more about this and a little different take on things, check out https://careynieuwhof.com/what-i-learned-from-my-social-media-fast/.

Lesson 3: I am needed, but not necessary.

The world, the church, family and friends all went on without me. This is a healthy, humbling perspective for all of us to have. Call it a reality-check.

Besides, if we have surrounded ourselves with great leaders, everything can and should keep moving forward well in our temporary absence.

I really did miss connecting online & sharing with other family and friends! I also wondered what was going on at church, especially among the lead team. Still, both of these had a way of drawing me to prayer for these same people all the more.

As it turns out, they were all still there, still doing life and work, some were on their own vacations. They were still posting and sharing the latest happenings. All I had to do was jump back into the virtual stream to catch up.

Lesson 4: I’m better for it.

I’m rested. I’m recharged. I’m reset and ready for what the Lord has next. I truly felt like I got away from it all. Isn’t that what the principle of the Sabbath is all about? Isn’t that what “getting away from it all” is for? I’m glad I finally got the memo and chose to experience a little bit of life off-line.

I highly recommending unplugged vacations and even going off-grid for some strategic days, events and moments.

Plan on it and plan for it. Let those that need to know, know, and then trust the Lord and them with everything else.

It may be hard to imagine life without play-by-play commentary as you live it. However, maybe you will discover that it’s worth it every once in a while.

I dare you.

Live life a little more off-grid and a little more in the moment.

What are your thoughts on living and leading off-grid? Share your insights in the comment section below!

Sunset over the Sangre de Cristo Range

The Lonely Leader

Loneliness is a part of the human experience.

This doesn’t change when we become Christians nor does it suddenly go away when we answer the call to serve the Lord in vocational ministry.

No one knows this better than the pastors reading this. You know, and, thankfully, so does the Lord. When we feel lonely as followers of Jesus, regardless of our role within His kingdom, we have the opportunity to identify with Him.

No one knows what it is like to not only feel forsaken, but be forsaken, like our Lord.

The Apostle Paul got this and shared this sense of connection to Christ in his letter to His followers in Philippi. (See Philippians 3:10.) 

When it comes to loneliness, we all go there. None of us should stay there.

Pastor, here’s the BIG POINT: DON’T BE LONELY ALONE.

When we stay lonely alone, too long, we risk the real problem, isolation.

Proverbs 18:1, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”

The root word in this verse is פָּרַד paw-rad’; to break through, spread or separate: disperse, divide, be out of joint, part, scatter, separate, sever self, stretch, sunder. (Strong’s, H6504)

We all face loneliness. However, isolation is a choice.

How do you know if you are choosing isolation as a leader? Isolation is characterized by numerous symptoms. These symptoms come on slowly but very surely.

Join us in The Lonely Leader – Part 2 coming soon as we uncover these symptoms together.

Until then, check out this great post that deals with the subject of loneliness in leadership by Thomas Rainer. https://thomrainer.com/2013/09/the-lonely-pastor-nine-observations/

Pastor, church leader, whoever you are…

You don’t have to lead lonely alone!

Beat the Summer Slump

Is it possible to grow your teams and the overall health of your congregation during what most church leaders call the “summer slump?” YES!

God set the world up so that most healthy things grow during the summer season.

Where do you begin?

You have to talk about, plan for and provide practical solutions.

This starts around the leadership table and doesn’t end until it is promoted from the weekend worship and preaching platform to all of your social media outlets.

How can you strategically lead your ministry teams during the months when most people, including your team members/volunteers, are tempted to “check out?”

Consider leading a 5R Strategy with your staff & lead teams.

Check out the 5R Strategy posts on this site that offer a plan you can tailor for your teams to Rest, Review, Recruit, Retrain and then Relaunch! Start here – https://peakpastors.blog/2019/04/22/take-a-break/

Who do you talk to?

Like most strategic initiatives, you start with your staff, then engage your lead teams and then your congregation.

If it’s important, it should have both input and buy-in at all levels from start to finish.

Who knows how many creative ideas and willing people are just waiting to get on board! Great leaders are great gatherers of great people!

What should you be talking about?

Here are 5 Summer Subjects to address…

Our Need to Get Away! This is all about rest.

Lead the way in encouraging rest for your staff, teams/volunteers and members. Cultivate a culture that values the health of it’s people beginning with seasons of much deserved rest. Find out more in these posts – https://peakpastors.blog/2019/04/22/take-a-break/ and https://peakpastors.blog/2019/05/14/5r-rest/

Our Need to Gather! This is all about fellowship.

Lead the way in encouraging people to keep gathering when they aren’t enjoying their vacation or weekend get-a-way. Be creative in providing opportunities for this not only in your main weekend worship experiences, but at other times for just getting together for fun and fellowship. Cookouts and/or tailgate parties never go out of style and can be done by churches large and small!

Our Need to Grow! This is all about spiritual growth.

Lead the way in encouraging people to continue in personal and family spiritual growth.

You need to come right out and say it, “We don’t need a vacation from growing in Jesus.”

Start at the most basic place. Talk about having a daily time reading God’s Word and praying and how fundamental this is to us as followers of Jesus. Share from your heart what this has meant to you and/or have others share what it has meant in their lives and families.

Don’t “pound the pulpit” about it. Instead, talk in simple terms and transparent ways about our temptation to do this over the summer. Then, provide some practical ways to grow in a personal/family devotional life.

Here are a few reminders you can give and resources you can offer:

  • Download the YouVersion Bible App and follow a personal daily reading plan. Offer plans for groups and/or as a congregation. https://www.youversion.com/
  • Provide a subscription to RightNow Media. This resource provides an amazing amount of video teachings, messages, conferences, and entertaining choices for all ages! https://www.rightnowmedia.org/

Our Need to Give! This is all about stewardship.

Lead the way in encouraging people to stay out of debt personally and as a family over the summer.

Start with caring about their personal finances and debt so they know you truly care about them, not just what they can give! Then, lead the way in encouraging everyone to continue (or start) tithing and giving.

Here are a few suggestions for your staff/lead teams and resources you can offer:

Our Need to GO! This is all about serving.

Lead the way in serving others, starting in your local community. Provide opportunities to serve as a staff, lead teams, small groups or as a congregation.

Here are some great examples!

  • Landscaping: Gather groups to spruce up the landscaping at Foster Care family and group homes.
  • Provide childcare at your church to Foster Parents to have a “date night.”
  • Clean up a local park, recreation area, beach or other public space.
  • Host a block party for those in your immediate neighborhood.
  • Read and/or sing at a local nursing home or extended care facility.
  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter.
  • Host a “back to school” supply drive to help parents with the expenses of school supplies. (Check out local school supply lists usually provided)
  • Go old-school with a free car wash hosted by your youth and/or young adults!

Summer Break is an annual reality. Going through the “Summer Slump” doesn’t have to be!

Email us at peakpastors@gmail.com and let’s talk about what a coaching partnership could mean for your health and growth as a pastor, lead team and congregation!