How Exercise Will Improve Your Ministry

August 11, 2014 — 1 Comment
photo: Expert Infantry, Creative Commons

photo: Expert Infantry, Creative Commons

I’m not an exercise blogger, or able to tell you the best combination of fruits for your juicer, or able to explain the benefits of antioxidants to you. But I can tell you something that has helped me immensely, both personally and professionally: exercise.

I’m not going to demonstrate a new Cross Fit regimen for you, or lead you through a morning Pilates routine (you’re welcome), but I am going to tell you how exercise makes you a better pastor.

Four ways exercise makes you a better pastor:

1. It helps you blow off steam

Whether you struggle with a short fuse or not, all of us are faced with situations in our day that push our patience to the limit. There are circumstances and events that frustrate us and make us angry. When we’re frustrated and angry for too long, it’s hard to know how to expel those feelings without coming unglued in a staff meeting or taking it out on the people we love the most.

Exercise is a great way to work off the frustration of a tough week in a productive way, leaving us calmer and more ready to care for the people in our lives and congregation.

2. It makes you happier

I read a study one time that said that 30 minutes of exercise a day is proven to impact our mood almost as much as anti-depressants. Whether you’re struggling with depression or not, all of us could use a boost to our mood, and exercise is the perfect way to achieve that.

3. It gives you more energy

This has always felt paradoxical to me. How does exhausting myself at the gym or going for a long run give me more energy? I haven’t figured it out yet, but it does. When I’m in a routine of exercise, I find myself having more energy throughout the day, and sleeping better at night. And who doesn’t need more energy?

4. It makes you healthier

This is a given, but extremely important. Exercise is proven to have dramatically positive effects on your health as a whole. It is good for your heart and your bones and your muscles and your brain. Your whole body benefits when you exercise, keeping you healthy. And when you’re healthy, your ability to do good work for the kingdom of God increases exponentially.

Whatever kind of exercise you enjoy, make the time to get your body moving. Your body, your mind, your emotions, and your mood will thank you, and so will the people you’re here to serve.

One response to How Exercise Will Improve Your Ministry

  1. As a pastor, I’d agree with this list, and I’d also add something along the lines of, “It helps us model holistic, healthy living.” Whether we struggle with our weight or not, there are those in our congregation that do and it gives us ways to encourage and share the journey together. Also might add something like, “It’s great for evangelism.” While I avoid the awkward gym conversations, I’ve gotten to talk to many people because I run/bike regularly and we can compare notes/races/etc… and use it as a way to build community, often with people outside the church walls.

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