'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock.' Acts 20:28 NKJV
Here's another issue church leaders often grapple with: they know how to feed others spiritually, but not themselves. Before leaving the church at Ephesus for the last time, Paul gathered its leaders together and said, 'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers' (Acts 20:28 NKJV). Before you attempt to take care of others, learn to take care of yourself. Before God builds the ministry, he builds the minister; otherwise, you become an easy target for the enemy. When the administrative side of church threatened to rob the apostles of their daily prayer and Bible study time, they called 'time out', saying, 'We will give ourselves continually to prayer and...the word' (Acts 6:4 NKJV).
Church leader, don't just focus on preparing your sermon, keep your soul prepared! And don't just set boundaries for your people, set them for yourself. Believing you can cut corners spiritually opens you to wrong relationships and destructive habits. As a result, you end up living on two levels - public service and private struggle. When that happens, you live with the fear of exposure, feel like a hypocrite and forfeit the confidence necessary for God to use you (see 1 John 3:21-22). Consequently the church gets robbed spiritually and suffers.
So...what do struggling servants of God need? Spiritual fathers! Paul writes, 'You might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers' (1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV). Find a mature, seasoned friend in ministry and reach for help before your problem gets out of control. This isn't just a good idea - your survival in ministry may depend on it!
Soulfood: 2 Chr 25-28, John 12:20-36, Ps 102:12-17, Pro 27:10-12